I have been using a smartwatch for months. Back in September when I made the regrettable switch to Android, I bought a Samsung Gear Fit and I love it.
The reviewers are starting to chime in now on the Apple Watch and most of the reception, has been relatively lukewarm. As I’ve written before, most reviewers actually seem to like the thing but are confused by it. I think their problems with the watch have everything to do with never living with a wearable device before, and little to do with the actual product.
I know what it’s like to live with a smartwatch, and with that thing on my wrist, I now do this one simple thing that is the key to the watch’s usefulness: I don’t keep my smartphone with me all the time anymore.
This may sound strange at first. Smartwatches operate via Bluetooth connection to your phone, so you have to have it around to get functionality. That will be the same on Apple Watch.
But Bluetooth has range, and that range is important. Let me tell you why.
I live in a two-story apartment in New Jersey. We have a main floor and a basement. Before I owned a smartwatch, I brought my phone with me everywhere, or at least had it in range to hear notifications. I trucked it around the house upstairs, downstairs, out on the back porch — everywhere.
Now that I have a smartwatch, my phone is more like a router than anything else while I’m at home. It generally sits in my office charging or just chilling out, while I roam about the house at my leisure without having to worry about where my phone is.
I can’t vouch for the Bluetooth range of the Apple Watch, but one would have to assume it would be at least as good as my Gear Fit — both devices support Bluetooth 4.0, which has a theoretical range over 100 meters, or 330 feet. I have a relatively large apartment with two floors, and there is not one location throughout the house where I lose Bluetooth connection. Not one! My watch is always connected.
This has opened up my life in many important ways. First, I don’t have to lug my phone around. But most importantly, I am a more present human being while at home. This is important. I have a a wife, I have hobbies, and I generally enjoy not sticking my nose in a phone all day.
Now I spend almost zero time on my phone while I’m at home (or at work!) getting distracted by a million different things. My watch lets me simply glance at my notifications in an innocuous way, decide quickly whether to act, and then move on. Smartwatches don’t do enough stuff to distract you for too long. They are efficient little devices. You get your information, and you get out.
The Apple Watch will have much more functionality, with communication capabilities galore, but still, I don’t imagine people spending 30 minutes tapping away on it. It’s more utilitarian than a phone, it’s not about entertainment.
This one simple change in the way I use my gadgets has totally changed the way I live my daily life, and once people realise that, the Apple Watch will be unstoppable. It’s going to be the best smartwatch yet.
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