Watch out

It’s 24 April 2015 and today is the official launch of a new press release from Apple. Crowds of Apple fans will be lining up outside stores to get the new press release while legions of PC fans will be writing blogs about how Windows has always had press releases and in fact little else. I don’t disagree.

I have this slight push-pull thing about technology: I swear to you that I am not interested in hardware or software, only in what I can get to do with it. I’m into the work I can do, what I can write, what I can make, not in what setting does which. Yet I’m steeped in this stuff and it makes my life run. And there are business and drama issues in all this for me. One of which is the, to me, fascinating way that from today you can but also can’t buy the new Apple Watch.

Mainly, you can’t. Don’t bother going to an Apple Store. Well, you’ll be able to see them and I imagine there will be a way for Apple to take your money there but it’s likely to be via saying go use that Mac over there.

The Apple Watch has only been made available to order online. I can’t remember when these orders started but it was a couple of weeks ago and in theory if you were quick enough, you would today have a watch in your hands. I was quick enough: I knew I wanted one, I knew what I wanted, I ordered and I ordered quickly. My watch is still a few weeks away.

I don’t think there’s a way to see this as the slickest Apple release ever. But on the other wrist, I have been using an Apple Watch because I’m doing a thing that needed it. And they are good. I am going to be using the hell out of mine, when it finally gets here.

Except, I think when you first put one on, you rather wonder why you did. Until you do something, the watch face is black and blank. It looks a lot smaller than you expected but it’s also a bit meh. Then you move your wrist and the watch face switches on. Or you press a button to go do something. Then that screen is gorgeous. I mean, meh to wow.

But you’re meant to glance at this thing and you will, that’s exactly what you’ll do, just not at first. At first you’ll be looking at this constantly, waving it around like a new toy, and in some unconscious way trying to justify why you spent all this money. (The cheapest is £300, the most expensive is heading toward £10,000. The difference is solely in the materials used: aluminium for the cheaper one, gold for the most expensive. Everything else is the same, works the same, does the same things.)

So the first times that you lift it to look at that watch face, you will barely have finished thinking cor before it switches off again. No question, it would be better if the watch were visibly on all the time but, no question, it would run out of battery power in an hour instead of lasting all day. (I haven’t had one on for long enough in a straight run to know how long it lasts in practice but this is what I understand.)

I want to get my own and to get past the initial new toy feeling. I still have that sometimes with my three-year-old iPhone but I want to get to the point where I’m using it because I’m using it, not because I want to see what it does. I’ve seen what it does. Exhaustively, in fact.

And as I had to go through every setting – you know how much I love settings – I did find one key thing. The Apple Watch is a grower. You don’t have to learn how to use it, you don’t have to ever use every feature, but you will keep finding new bits, new things that make you glad you’ve got one. I’d be standing there with a checklist of what I had to try out and I’d keep going ooooh, I’m having that. I’m using that.

Sending Angela a message by just tapping on my watch and knowing that her watch will tap her. (When she gets hers: I bought us one each but they’re both weeks away.) Walking down a street being told with the smallest of nudges that it’s time to turn left. Getting one of those incessant emails and just seeing with a glance that it’s not one I need to deal with. Setting timers – I cook a lot and have no skill so I’m reliant on timings in recipes. I listen to a lot of things when I’m cooking and if the kettle’s boiling it’s so loud I can’t hear much worth a damn but now a tap on my watch will pause the radio or the music or the podcast and a tap will start it again.

I once counted that I took out my iPhone 200 times on a particular day. Apparently the average is 120. I can’t guess what the figures will be now, but the watch will surely decimate that. Especially if non-Apple apps work as well as the Apple ones: that’s something I’ve not been able to test yet and I am itching to see how my beloved OmniFocus works on it.

I’m not sure how well that will work and I’m not sure why Apple has struggled so much to do launch this watch on its launch day. But the one thing I am not in any doubt about is that I’m glad I’ve bought one.