I love all things Apple. Every computer we own is Apple. We have iPhones and iPads and have done for some time. When the Apple Watch was announced, I was very interested to know what the capabilities would be. As with all Apple announcements, they revealed a little information at a time. The big thing for me that was missing initially, was whether it would be waterproof or resistant. To be honest, a year ago I would not have much cared, all the neat apps that displayed information on my wrist would have been the decision criteria I used. That was last year, and 2015 is a new start and a complete lifestyle change, so, I do care about the fitness aspects of the watch. Primarily, can I use it everywhere.
Apple finally told us the watch was barely water resistant and the battery life was less than a day. It does have some health tracking capability, and I would imagine that will only grow, but it is all very low brow stuff; things most other watches track. Like the FitBit Charge HR, the Apple watch has an optical heart rate monitor that samples your heart rate every few minutes throughout the day. One, I am not sold on the ability of these wrist based sensors to effectively track heart rate when you need it most, during exercise. I have a couple of friends with the Charge HR and they complain that it has a hard time keeping up when they are running. The fact the Apple Watch can’t even be worn in a shower is a deal breaker for me anyway. As I have become more active, the need to measure activity has become much more important. I finally ride my Specialised Roubaix that has sat in the garage for 2 years. I put Garmin sensors on it that connected to a Garmin 800, which I seem to have lost. Which brings me on to the third reason I dismissed the Apple Watch as my fitness tracker; it does not connect to all the sensors I now use to track my activities. The fourth reason is the Apple Watch does not have GPS. You have to depend on your phone to provide this. Therein lies the problem Apple has in this very competitive arena; they sell phones, not fitness and will always compromise the later to sell the first. If you want to send smiley faces to friends the Apple Watch has a lot going for it. I think though, on this, Apple have missed a trick. Fitness and the measurement of progress is growing quickly. It’s altogether likely the Apple Watch may not live up to billing. Only time will tell, but to be fair to Apple, it has been very foolish over the past decade to bet against their success. If you need in-depth reviews of technically based fitness and sports equipment in plain English, no one does it better than the blogger DC Rainmaker at giving you a very unpartisan view. Great articles on everything from reviews of equipment to travel.
UPDATE – Ray Maker of DC Rainmaker fame, has been testing the new Apple Watch by doing EVERYTHING you shouldn’t to it from pressure testing to swimming! Fascinating blog post detailing his results can be viewed here!