Apple Watch: Abandon, or Embrace?

I’m in the middle of a dilemma — I have a 42mm Apple Watch Gen 1. What do I do with it?

I’ve been back and forth about it for months, but wanted to get the Guild’s input on my thought process.


In fall 2015, I purchased a 42mm Apple Watch Sport in Space Grey. I wanted one because I was into fitness tracking. I had a Jawbone UP for around 9 months before it broke on me. I loved the UP because it was simple. It did fitness and sleep tracking, and served as a vibrating alarm.

Jawbone replaced it with a newer version (which sucked and I promptly sold). I tried a Fitbit for 3 days, and returned it after the band holder irritated my skin to the point of blistering. I’m convinced this was a plastics problem like Fitbit experienced prior, though their support did not agree with me.

At this time, the Apple Watch had only been shipping for a few months. I was hesitant to drop the cash, but once I bought it, I was really grateful to get one.

For most of 2 years, my experience with the Apple Watch was positive. However, since watchOS 3, the experience on the watch has drastically degraded.

Due to the current state of my experience with the watch, I wanted to spell out some of the pros and cons I’ve been thinking through. Maybe you can help shed some insight or share some thoughts about how I can use the watch I have more effectively.

Pros of Apple Watch

  • Weather - When I’m out and about, at work, or out of town, I love to be able and see weather happenings on my watch face. Dark Sky has the best complication I’ve tried for doing just this.
  • Notifications - Especially for text messages, I enjoy how Apple Watch lets me see what people are saying without marking the message as read. It allows me to more easily keep track of texts I need to yet respond to, plus quickly and easily get communication from my family without drastically interrupting me.
  • Fitness Tracking - While I’m not huge into fitness, it’s been nice to be able to look at metrics regarding my own activity. AutoSleep has been a fun tool to track sleep, too.
  • Siri, When It Works - On watchOS 1, I felt Siri worked pretty well. While active and unable to type texts, Siri on the watch used to dictate for me fairly well and reasonably quickly.

Cons of Apple Watch

  • Gen 1 is SLOW - Yes, I know this is resolved by a hardware upgrade. However, I spent over $400 on a watch that’s now become almost a brick after 3 years. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
  • Siri - Since watchOS 3, Siri started to suck more, becoming less responsive and accurate. I almost never use Siri anymore because it takes 30 seconds to respond that it even heard me correctly.
  • Can be distracting - Notifications, while they have their upsides, do have their downsides as well, like habitually looking at my watch in the middle of a conversation, causing the other party to think I am checking the time and need to go. They also can distract me from getting real work done, as checking the notifications is reflexive.
  • Expensive to upgrade - As stated in the first part, I need to spend another $300-$400 just to get a semi-decent experience, which will become obsolete and non-performant in another 3-4 years.

I’ve been wearing a high quality normal watch lately. I don’t have to worry about charging it, being interrupted by notifications, or about upgrading it every few years at high cost. However, I do miss many of the convenience features Apple Watch does give me when I do wear it.

I’ve already been about a month without an Apple Watch on my wrist. I may slowly reintroduce it to see if I really actually enjoy it. It can cause me anxiety at times, but I’m open to potentially try out the Series 3. That being said, what do you think?


I think everyone knows where I land on this one. I would drop it. Well, not actually drop it. :laughing:

I’ve seen more and more of these in the wild and the more I have conversations with folks about them, the less I want one and the more I want them to not have one either.

This stems from a number of things but it’s primarily that folks think it’s unobtrusive to the dialog. They also don’t connect the rudeness of looking at your watch in the middle of a conversation. Every time I see them check it, I stop talking and wait. Drives me nuts.

It’s supposed to keep you from checking your phone. So why check your watch more often than you would your phone? Seems silly to me.

Come on Joe! This thread is for you to validate my expensive desire! :wink:

I know that’s frustrating. I think I’ve been a little more forgiving because I own one. It is nice to be able to glance and see what’s up (frankly it’s usually my wife texting me something I need to know; I don’t have many friends that text often). While I am iffy on notifications, I do enjoy the idea of the features of the Watch, but in practice do I need them? Probably not. So the question is if the convenience is worth the cost.

I’d love to get an Apple watch but at the same time I’m not a watch guy. I prefer to not glance at my wrist or phone cuz all the distractions. I spend enough screen time on iPad and Mac. I didn’t want any more time with another dogital apparatus.

But at the same time, the Apple Watch is still relatively new tech. I remembered lusting for the first iPad even though it didnt have a camera. I also drooled when the first MacBook air was announced. I had to wait for both tech to finally mature. The iPad 1 is a different store from today’s iPad pro. The MacBook air took time to eventually become something that was considered good enough for every day use. I think the 12" MacBook still has to mature a little more for me to consider it. So I will wait for maybe a couple more years before considering a new 12" MacBook or the Apple Watch. It’s still too new for me to adopt.

And maybe this is part of my issue too. I was an iPad early adopter and was frustrated at its basically deprecated state after 2 years. I’m experiencing the same thing with my Apple Watch. Heck, developers are even calling for it to be dropped from support since it’s a pain to develop for. I love new tech, but don’t like when I spend a lot of money and it’s irrelevant such a short period later.

It’s interesting that you bring up the iPad in this. I was one of those skeptics on the iPad that ended up owning a Gen 1 and loved it. But after a few upgrades through company-issued iPads and seeing myself use them less and less, I began to realize that my ways of working are best suited to device routines.

Meaning, I schedule time for when I work on a device. And if I’m planning to work on a device, the tool best served is the one with the most flexibility and power. In my case, that’s the Mac. I use the phone for unexpected needs, weather, texts, calls, calendar alerts, etc… But everything else (should) be scheduled during my workday on the Mac.

The iPad is fun, but it serves a purpose (consuming words, pictures, and videos) that I typically do on the Mac to keep me from doing it too much.

I would expect the Apple Watch would be the same for me.

Embrace - I’m a big fan. Health/Exercise tracking and Autosleep app tracking is great. I like developing habits with Streaks app and this all integrates nicely. Omnifocus works pretty well for reviewing to dos when stuck in meetings. Maybe it works for me because of my work/life situation.


I’ve kept social media and sports scores away from my Mac and will do it on the iPad. A distraction saver. I stay focused on my Mac by keeping those web sites off my Mac.

When it comes to flexibility and power, I like the limits of the iPad. I’m stuck to a single screen or app while using it. I do have the option of going split screen and can have at most two apps at one time. Focusing seems to get harder the older I get… sigh.

I boxed up my Apple Watch to get some Apple Store credit today. I am not intending to purchase another one. I’ve lived without it for the last month or so, and haven’t really seen a loss of benefit. Literally the only thing I missed was not being able to see the weather on my wrist.

I considered buying a fitness tracker to replace that aspect, but most all of them are trying to be smartwatches or look butt ugly. One of my Q2 goals is to start training for a 10k, so I’m going to stick with my iPhone/Runkeeper as an activity tracker and use an armband. Lots cheaper, less noise.

IF, and only if I could easily afford and justify the purchase, I purchased a new Apple Watch, it would be a series 3 with LTE. I’d turn all the notifications off and keep it super simple. Give me calls, the ability to text, listen to music/podcasts, GPS and fitness tracking on my wrist, and I’m good to go. But as my wife says, it’s a really expensive accessory that goes out of date every couple of years. It’s not worth it anymore to me.

I am considering buying the 6th gen iPad and an Apple Pencil, though. That’s a whole other discussion, however, as I have lots of trouble integrating the iPad into my workflow. Maybe the Pencil will help, but I’m not certain. I’m going back and forth between using an iPad and a nice notebook/pad of paper for some of my daily task management. Jury is definitely out yet.


I have a Gen 3 with LTE and I manage it like any other device - virtually no notifications with the exception of text / calendar. I have it in theater mode (screen doesn’t activate when raising the watch face, no noises, etc) almost all of the time.

I never have to look at my calendar to know when my next meeting is - I can just work until my wrist vibrates. I had a bad habit of constantly checking when my next meeting was and then sliding over to email.

From a process standpoint, I only let 5 people text me, so those notifications are allowed - but again my watch dislplay doesn’t activate unless I press the dial. Everyone else I force into another comms channel - email, what’s app, corporate chat clients, etc. I don’t have notifications enabled for those on my watch.

I’ve never looked at my watch during a conversation except to check the actual time like normal watch users do.

I regularly leave my phone at home on the weekends / evenings. I never take my phone when I go for a long walk. Drop notes into drafts if something pops up in my head. Can text the wife or take an important phone call if needed.

In theater mode when tethered to the phone, you easily get two days out of a charge. When on the watch’s LTE, particularly if you’re using the phone, the battery drains quickly. I keep a watch charger in my car and will charge it if used heavily.

I’m dealing with a chronic illness, that being able to track heart rate and the sleep estimations have helped in the management.

Air pods + Cellular watch (both with longer battery lives) + iPad Pro = a fantastic set of kit if you are working on the go.

Edited to add: All that being said, an analog watch, a small digital voice recorder, a dumb phone with a current gen camera, and an iPad Pro is likely just as good.

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This is huge and I wish more people did this.

These are the use cases I don’t hear about very often. I know this is a huge selling point for some, but I typically hear about the notification management and text messages. The heart rate tracking is more of an after-thought and a nice addition for most. But I know this is key for a lot of people.


I’ve turned off most notifications on my phone as well as my Apple Watch-- so distraction really isn’t an issue.

I use Apple Watch’s complications to improve my life.

Having quit video games after graduating university, I wanted to gamify good habits.

  • Activity tracker gives me achievements based on the exercise I complete.
  • Strong allows me to drastically cut down on gym time by tracking my weights.
  • Breathe allows me to perform stealth breathing exercises, because I am usually prone to anxiety.
  • Streaks allows me to track habits. One of my favourite examples is that I press it whenever I drink a coffee. If I press it 3 times or more, I’ve failed, and get a cross.
  • Alarm allows me to wake up without waking my partner up.
  • Things & Calendar let me see today’s tasks and events at a glance.

You don’t need any of this stuff, but it definitely makes a lot of day-to-day tasks a bit more fun. I used the colourful badges to motivate me to exercise more, and keep up good habits. Having struggled with depression & anxiety, I find the features of the watch to be helpful but not necessary. Worth a buy if you’re an awful millennial like me who craves positive reinforcement, and participation trophies :stuck_out_tongue:


I may be the exception to the rule it seems because I absolutely love my watch. I am in the middle of a hiccup with Apple at the moment but it seems that things are going to work out as I am being upgraded to Series 3 at no cost and am getting 132 days of prorated credit on my Apple Care.

I have an adult son who wears a Smart Monitor Seizure Detection watch (currently a Pebble, but the replacement will be an Apple). If he has abnormal movement that continues for 7 seconds or longer, it begins texting my phone (I see on my watch). If this abnormal movement continues for 12 seconds, it calls my phone and I then have an open line to hear what is going on in the background. These settings can be adjusted on the phone and in the app. If he is able to cancel the alerts before the prescribed time, I receive a text regarding that and am immediately relieved.

Managing and working in a busy office during tax time with the watch has actually increased my productivity.
Additionally, I lost 6 weeks of this past year to a severe back injury and now use the watch to tell me to stand up and walk around to keep myself from getting stiff; a standing desk is not a viable option at work or at home at this time.

I do keep most of my notifications turned off on the watch except for the above and I consciously pay attention to how many times I am looking at my watch when with clients – if my son is having a particularly bad day and I glance at my watch more than twice in an hour, I explain my son’s watch to them, and I have yet to have someone not understand. I often use this as a segue to explain our company’s involvement with Watson technology which is an unintended benefit.

With the watch down for repair/replacement this past month, it has clearly shown the independence the watches have given my son to live more normally.

Uh oh, I was just double-tapped on my wrist, I have been sitting for an hour and need to stand.

I say embrace. If you can define the purpose clearly, the watch can be a boost to life and productivity.


I embraced the watch, but compared to my iPhone, it took waaaay longer to wrangle itself into my life.

  • Omnifocus has a really nice & “glanceable” useful watch app
  • Fantastical shows a very neatly laid-out next-two-days overview
  • Breathe is actually a good reminder to keep it slow and steady and not stress too much. I’ve also heard that these exercises are having a positive effect on your body at night if you practice them regularly/daily and more than once and more than 1 minute…
  • the standing reminders are quite brilliant, I always combine them with getting some fluids in the kitchen
  • only a few VIP’s get to text/mail me - so getting notifications on my wrist cuts to the essence - I wasn’t a smartphone-checking addict to begin with, but the watch cut it more than in half, I think. (oh: I never check my watch in the presence of a conversation partner, it’s just rude)
  • setting timers for cooking
  • starting/stopping pomodoro’s on my wrist just feels more effective
  • instead of fishing my smartphone out of some deep pocket, I can use the Stocard app for all my customer loyalty cards and a bunch of other cards over here in Europe - it’s awesome (especially in the absence of Apple Pay)
  • Just Press Record has a fantastic app to record my "conversations’ with my little two year old daughter without her noticing it - great stuff

Overall, I feel more assured of not missing important notifications or incoming calls & am “more in touch with my body/health”. Looking forward to more sensors and Siri Shortcuts on the Siri face!