The Apple Watch After an Affair With the Pebble Time
When Apple announced the winners of the Apple Watch developer draw, I was one of the lucky winners. I used the Watch for a few weeks, and ended up selling it. Why you ask? I already had a Pebble Time backed on Kickstarter and I figured I did not need a glorified notification device for 600$CA when a 200$CA would do the trick.
So a few weeks later, I finally got my hands on the Pebble Time. I even wrote a (French) review of it for Branchez-Vous. The gist of it is that even if it was much more affordable it did not do a great enough job of the very basic thing I wanted to do with it, receive notifications on my wrist. I could not accept the fact that almost none of the notifications were actionable and they kept sitting duck on the iPhone’s notification centre. I understand the technical limitations imposed by Apple, but this was not good for me. Also, the Pebble Time has a mic, but it’s not usable with an iPhone. Again, sad for the platform, but not very fun for th user.
As cute as they are, not every Watch user really try to fill them after a while, I was missing the Activity rings and a bunch of complications I had the pleasure of discovering. Many apps were also missing in action on the Pebble side and made me regret my choice.
The Watch was very slow last April and I was not really looking for this loading throbber that kept appearing way too often. The performance was not so great, but since I sold it just before watchOS 1.0.1, I was not able to try any of the optimization Apple put in watchOS. I was looking forward to watchOS 2.0 with native apps on the watch.
There and Back Again, With an Watch
So last November I returned to the Watch. A 42mm gold aluminum with midnight blue bracelet. It’s been on my wrist ever since (apart from a few days I forgot to put it on).
Is it perfect? No it is not. The performance even if slightly better does not seem up to par with other Apple products. If you get used to an iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6S Plus, you quickly realize the Watch is lagging behind and you always have to wait for it. Complications are still not up to date when you load them, thus more waiting and most of the apps are not usable as they need to either pull too much data or have sync issues with the phone resulting in errors.
So I will get rid of it again, right? Nope.
Even with all its flaws, the Watch is still the best watch on the market. It offers a very good integration of notifications and a few more features that I now would require every other watch to have. A good microphone that helps me send texts or reminders without removing my gloves or an easy reply while stopped at a red light. The Apple Maps directions with the little haptic feedback is very useful, albeit sometimes the taps come too late. When is lane detection coming so it can tell me to keep left or right?
Even though I do not have Pay yet like Tyler does, I still enjoy driving to Starbucks and paying with my watch. Pedometer++, Overcast, Tangerine, Activity, the Stock glance, WeMo control app and the Starbucks apps are what I used the most.
It still needs a lot of love, new internal will help greatly in terms of reliability of data transfers and especially speed. Software is good, but still needs more functionality for developers to perfect the craftsmanship. It is definitely not perfect, but it’s worth its price because it can do so much at the moment.
The iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6S Plus got us used to so much speed that we have to wait for the watch like our younger, slower buddy from when we were a kid. But boy did we enjoyed that little friend when we realized that no matter what he’s always there to play with us and discover the world.