The question I get asked most about my Apple Watch is, “What do you use it for?” A day without my Apple Watch showed me clearly the features I missed most when I was without it.
The other day something happened to me that hadn’t happened since April 2015 — I was without my Apple Watch. I got my Apple Watch the first day it was released and have worn it pretty much non-stop since then, except at night when I sleep.
But about 8:30 one morning I went to walk my dog and found my Apple Watch was dead. As in really, most sincerely dead.
I had wanted to start a Workout on my Watch when I walked my dog, but that was not to be. The screen was black, and no buttons would revive it.
When I returned from my walk, I put the Watch on the charger to see if perhaps the battery had died. I returned to it after an hour, only to find that the watch was quite warm, but still dead.
I opened the Apple Support app on my iPhone and went through the steps it suggested to try to wake up my Watch. I also tried restarting it, but no luck.
So I arranged through the app for Apple Care to call me.
Christopher, the Apple Care representative, asked me some questions and confirmed that I had tried everything I could and that I hadn’t submerged the watch in water. Nope, I surely hadn’t.
He then arranged to ship a new Watch out to me to arrive the next day by 8 pm.
That meant I had to be without my Apple Watch for over 24 hours.
I was traveling at the time, and nowhere near an Apple Store. A quick turn-around time was impressive, but I was going to have to go Cold Turkey on my Watch.
My naked wrist wasn’t as traumatic as when I left my iPhone behind during a 4-day trip to Alaska, but missing it still stung like the briny deep on dry skin.
What I Missed by Not Having My Apple Watch
By not having my watch, I realize how much I had come to depend on it in my everyday life. For those of you who don’t have an Apple Watch (which is probably the majority of you), you may be curious to see why this incident was nearly traumatizing for me.
The absence of a watch made me not only appreciate its usefulness, it also helped me to focus on how I was using it. Because I wasn’t using it, since I didn’t have a working one.
Getting Me Going
The Apple Watch can remind you to stand once an hour for 12 hours each day. These reminders are perfect for me.
When I’m researching an article for The Wonder of Tech or Voice of America, I could sit for hours, lost in my thoughts. When I dive deep into an article I tend not to come up for air.
The Apple Watch reminds me to take a break.
I Was Less Efficient
The hourly stand reminders of Apple Watch force me to get up and move. This is not only good for my physical and mental state, it also helps me get stuff done.
All the Watch demands is that you move for one minute. But I’ve realized that in that 60-second time period you can get a lot done.
The standing reminder can almost become a game, seeing whether you can complete a task in under a minute. The Watch vibrates when you’ve fulfilled your stand requirement so you can see whether you’ve completed your task in that time.
In that minute you could fold laundry, pay a bill, empty the dishwasher, wash dishes, tidy a room, make your bed, etc.
But without the Apple Watch, I didn’t have an incentive to get up, get stuff done, and do it efficiently.
Nope, I was busy sitting at the computer, tapping at the keys. I couldn’t even use the excuse, “You don’t understand! I wasn’t wearing an Apple Watch so I couldn’t get anything done!!!!”
The Workout app on the Watch keeps track of your workouts, including how many calories you’ve burned, your heart rate and the duration of your workout. You earn badges when you double and triple your workout goal.
But without a Watch there is less incentive to push yourself. Someone who’s goal-driven (I’m not mentioning any names…), can be motivated to push herself harder, knowing she’ll receive a virtual badge for her efforts.
No watch, no badges.
I may not always be carrying my phone, but my Watch is always on my wrist. I was on a group tour last year for nine days. It was fun quizzing the group about which day we were most active.
No one guessed the first day of the tour was our most active day, but my Apple Watch doesn’t lie.
Finding My iPhone
One of the most useful features of the Apple Watch is its ability to ping the iPhone it’s paired with. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap the iPhone icon to have the iPhone play a sound.
This is incredibly helpful as you’re headed out and want to take your phone with you but can’t find it.
But no Watch meant I had to hunt for my phone or call it from another phone. Not the end of the world, but certainly an annoyance when I’m in a hurry.
We have a “No Electronics” rule at my house during meals. But my Apple Watch means I get to cheat a wee bit. I can see from a glance at my wrist when there is breaking news, a text message or a call coming in.
Being without a Watch I felt cut off from the world. Major world events happened during breakfast and I didn’t learn about them until early afternoon.
Was I better or worse off for not knowing? I’m just not used to being so cut off from the world…
Controlling My Music, Podcasts and Audiobooks
The Music app on my phone lets me pause and play music, as well as adjust the volume. I use the Music app to control listening to podcasts and audiobooks as well.
Not having an Apple Watch meant that I had to have my iPhone in my hands to choose the music and control volume, pause, play, rewind and fast-forward.
My Bose SoundTouch can also be controlled by my Apple Watch. But without it, I have to reach for my phone…
=> See, 25 New Tech Tools I Use in My Daily Life for more information about the SoundTouch.
One of the handiest features of the watch is alerts when I’m navigating using Apple Maps. The Apple Watch taps my wrist when it’s time to turn.
I might ignore a voice command to make a turn when I’m driving (especially if I am talking or engrossed in an audiobook), but the tapping of the Watch does get my attention.
Responding to Text Messages
When my Apple Watch is on my wrist, I not only get notifications of text messages, I can respond to them quickly. The Apple Watch has pre-set responses and emojis, letting me answer texts with a single tap.
Without my Apple Watch, I not only missed messages, I would have to type my responses. <= True story.
Forecasting the Weather
The day my Watch died was a particularly rainy day. The Weather app on my Watch shows me hourly forecasts for the temperature and precipitation, helping my plan my day.
I can easily figure out when the best time is to take Astro for his long walk to avoid raindrops.
He appreciates that…
Seeing the Temperature
I also use the Apple Watch to see the current temperature. Sometimes Astro doesn’t want to wait for the ideal temperature to go outside for a walk. Often, he just doesn’t listen to reason.
“But it will be much cooler an hour from now!”
So I have to know how long to wait before venturing out in the summer heat.
If I guess wrong Astro and I could be sweltering during the entire walk.
Call me old school, but I really do like to know the time during the day. Having an Apple Watch on my wrist means I don’t look at clocks. Why would I, when a glance at my wrist would give me chronological data?
I don’t have many clocks in my house so not having a watch meant I was often oblivious to the time. Or I had to rely on other tech…
“Alexa, tell me the time.”
“Hey, Siri. What time is it?”
See how I suffered?
Checking the Tides
My Tide Charts Near Me app on my Watch shows me when low and high tides are during the day. The size of the beach is greatly affected by the tides and scheduling a beach visit during low tide means more beach which = more fun.
Apple Watch Happy Ending
The good news is that I didn’t have to wait until 8 pm the next day. The Watch arrived about 1:30 PM. I was able to restore it and nestle it on my wrist within about a half hour.
My world was back to normal. Ahhhh…
In Praise of Apple Care Plus
I was very fortunate that my Watch died with 30 days to go on my Apple Care Plus warranty. One phone call to Christopher and I had a new Watch the next day. I had to return my old Watch, but they made the process as easy as possible.
I was traveling at the time and they send the watch to where I was instead of my registered address.
My total cost was $0. They did put a hold on my credit card in case I didn’t return the broken Watch. But I did so all is good.
Which of these features of the Apple Watch would you miss the most? Are there any features of the Watch not mentioned here that you would miss?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!
Verizon Up Rewards Program
Verizon Wireless has started a rewards program for its customers called Verizon Up. From Verizon:
For every $300 spent on their Verizon Wireless bills, customers earn one credit that can be redeemed for rewards and experiences. Customers can earn credits just for paying their bill.
One credit equals one reward. Every month there are six new customized rewards to choose from, so there’s a constant stream of rewards.
For example, customers can select rewards from partners such as Apple Music, JetBlue and HBO NOW. Additional partners will be added monthly and credits can be redeemed 60 days after they are earned. Best of all, there is no cost to enroll in Verizon Up, it’s simple to join.
The type of rewards range from everyday delights to VIP experiences:
- Everyday Rewards: Free services and discounts to some of today’s hottest brands such as: Amazon, Headspace, Boxed and DonorsChoose.org.
- Verizon Rewards: Bank up to $10 towards your next Verizon device purchase, save up these rewards and it could total $240 off your next device, discounts on accessories and bonus data (1GB or 2GB).
- Super Tickets: Access to the most sought after events in sports, music and entertainment such as NFL and Broadway shows.
- Dream Tickets: Once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as tickets to NFL events including Kickoff in New England, 2018 Pro Bowl and Super Bowl LII.
Plus, Verizon will randomly reward Up members with free stuff, even if they haven’t earned a new credit yet.
Voice of America Learning English
If you’re a learner of English, check out my personal technology column at Voice of America Learning English. This week’s article is US City Bans Texting while Walking.