Apple Watch: Revisiting a Complicated Question

In my previous topic, I concluded that I was going to abandon the Apple Watch.

Well, you can about imagine what this topic is about…

The last few weeks I’ve been thinking about getting an Apple Watch again. The Series 4 fixes a lot of problems I had with the Gen 1 version (hardware and software wise anyway). Instead of jumping in, I’ve been trying to come up with actual use cases.

Use Cases

  • Exercise: The idea of closing rings is appealing to me right now with focusing on my health.
  • Urgent Notifications: I’m going to be traveling a bit for work, and I really like the idea of having them come to my wrist versus potentially missing them in my pocket.
  • Prompts: I like the idea of using Due or OmniFocus to prompt me at times during the day to do things.
  • Information Availability: Instead of needing to look at my phone or open an app, I could easily see weather, routine tasks to do for the day, and other quick pieces of info right from the watch face.


My wife thinks this is just an interest fad and will subside after a few weeks. And then I’ll be annoyed by feeling “connected” all the time. She’s probably right about that, as that’s why I originally ditched the Apple Watch in the first place. On the flip side, I found this to be true when I was using Safari and Email on my phone even without the watch.

What are your thoughts? Is the Apple Watch worth a productivity experiment?


I’ll align with your wife on this one. I think you’ll still feel very connected with the watch. I have ALL notifications off except iMessage. I really wish I could disable even iMessage except for specific contacts. But it sometimes still makes me feel more connected than I want.

The things I love about the watch:

  • Audio controls while driving
  • Quick glance of calendar events & tasks
  • Weather. Man I love weather data.
  • URGENT notifications

The things I don’t like:

  • Even with minimal notifications there are more than I’d like sometimes.
  • Slow network connection at times. I try to just leave my phone at my desk a lot but then I go to reply to a text message and Siri takes 15 seconds to transcribe the message.

If you do want to try it, I’d say buy it from Apple or a store that doesn’t have restocking fees.


I’ve basically already done this on my phone by turning off all sound/vibration for notifications and setting a custom vibration pattern for those I want to pass through (read: my wife). But I wish there was a VIP setting for Messages like there is for Mail and phone calls… ahem Apple

I’ve toyed with the idea of keeping all notifications off. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This is a good point. I’ll keep this in mind.

In the same boat a little. My choices would be to:

  1. Wait until September - new watch will likely be announced (i.e. new shiny!), or;
  2. Buy from NON Apple store so the commitment is real (i.e. can’t take it back)

I like the integration but sometimes the notifications do bug me, even when driving and having the taps telling me which way to turn on my wrist. Maybe I’m getting too old for this … you know!

I have a Garmin now as I run " a bit" and I do get notifications on that. Problem is, I can’t do anything but pull my phone out if I need/want to do something. The AW solves that 100%

Also, the Garmin has solid push buttons to start and stop exercises etc which is very definite. The times I’ve used The AW when I owned one and repeatedly tapped “stop workout” to get it just right is annoying (that said, the PBs are rare these days! :expressionless: )

@justindirose I’d be keen to see how you play this out (watching) … :grinning:

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It’s fairly easy to turn off the turn by turn notifications on the watch. I did cause it’s a battery drain when I don’t really need it.

Turn by turn is one of my favorite Apple Watch features! I actually miss it (though I rarely use driving directions where I live).

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This is true and I am sure if I wasn’t in my home town I’d use them to help me navigate in a foreign city. And, I know I can turn any or all notifications but the dilemma is then “why have the watch?” Yes! I’m fickle like that. :smiley: It’s that middle ground between being connected or not.

I’m learning also to be more mindful (meditate am n pm) and somehow the watch feels in conflict with that. That said, I do have my Garmin which also gets notifications and, as I said above, can be more frustrating because you can’t respond if you want to. You have to pull your phone out.

I’ve even thought about experimenting going watch only. I can communicate, pay for stuff, run etc all with just the watch if I really want to go that far.

See? Fickle! :wink:

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I’m still wrestling with this choice, and it’s really drawing my attention as of late.


  • Stay available for messages/calls without my phone on me
  • Less likely to miss important notifications (which are the only ones that get through on my phone right now anyway)
  • No infinite feeds available
  • Exercise without a bulky phone in my pocket
  • Hands free capability (as MN is now a hands-free state for mobile use while driving)
  • I feel like it’s a near must-have while traveling
  • Silent wakeup alarm


  • Always connected :frowning:
  • Expensive to upgrade
  • Cellular is also expensive (though would seem to be helpful)

My own 2 cents here (as a very happy Apple Watch owner):

  • It’s significantly dropped the amount I look at my phone (because I can glance at my wrist). This has had a hygiene forcing function of paring down my alerts massively because I was tired of them buzzing me, so now it’s super minimal
  • It got me into running (the stats were the motivator), and I can run without my phone (pair headphones to watch and go - Apple Music only). The activity tracking it also great if you’re trying to watch calories (you get accurate burn rates during the day vs the estimate you’ll normally get)
  • I haven’t needed to upgrade it in 2.5 years, but I’m on a 2nd gen and will probably upgrade if/when new ones come out this year
  • I use Apple Pay a lot more because it’s on my wrist so trivial to trigger (I live in Europe so contactless is everywhere)
  • I’ve never needed separate cellular. I’m only without my phone when running and I really don’t care about calls then

All in all very happy with it. It made a much bigger lifestyle impact (exercise + not casual looking at phone) than I expected for what seemed like a gimmick.

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That’s really great to know. I had a gen 1 and I was really unhappy with the performance after about a year and a half. Supremely underpowered. Glad to know the newer generations are a lot better, as that’s my major concern.

My wife is also concerned this is a fad for me, vs. a true need I’ll use every day. I can 100% understand as neither she nor I want to waste our money on an accessory. That being said, I’m focusing on being more active, especially biking, and I’m traveling more this fall, so having the watch feels like it would be a net benefit and convenience to have in those cases.

Do you ever feel annoyed by the watch if you wear it all the time? Or bothered being always connected? I know I have in the past, but it may have been a mindset toward my tech vs. an actual device problem.

I’ve seen you mention travelling twice now, and I can’t personally see any extra benefit to having the watch above/beyond having the phone - but that said, all the use cases I mentioned are just as powerful travelling or otherwise.

Regarding “always connected” - I don’t have a cellular watch, so any time it’s “buzz ready” the phone is within reach anyway. I mirror my DND settings to my watch (so I won’t get buzzed after 9pm or before 8am etc.). I’ve always worn a watch prior to owning an Apple Watch so from a physical perspective it’s the same habit I’ve always had (admittedly the Apple Watch isn’t as classy as some of the analogue watches I’ve worn…)

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Yeah you’re exactly right there – I think the Watch is appealing to me right now because of the traveling (I think in my mind I find it easier to not miss an important communication from my family with the watch vs phone in my pocket).

This was the added bonus for me - I kept missing calls with the phone in my pocket (wife, friends, CEO, etc), but with the watch I haven’t missed a single one. It’s a very small bonus after all the other stuff I mentioned, but it’s definitely a value add!

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Update: I bought an Apple Watch Series 4. I was able to get a good deal on it, too, so that helps.

It’s a 100% different world than my first-gen Apple Watch, for sure. I find it a lot more useful simply due to the speed. I’m only 1 week in, but I’m not feeling the same overwhelm from connectivity I felt previously. I think this is largely due to my own changes in notifications and how I do work too. More often, I’ve noticed that overwhelm comes from too much reactive work than too much connectivity.

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Glad you like it!

I started with an S2, which went very slow around about a year ago. Upgraded to an S4 LTE, and find myself going out without my phone often (when off work/on breaks). Having focus timers , OmniFocus & calendars showing on my wrist ist more than excellent as well. Wearables are the future IMHO.

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I fully agree. I considered going the LTE watch route for the purpose of taking my watch out and about without my phone, but I’m not in a big city where I can walk places easily, so it didn’t make much sense right now. However, if functionality improves quite a bit, I’m 100% for it in the future!

I’d rather have a limited wearable on my wrist to text, take calls, and get bits of info I need instead of a phone that’s a portal to the entire world.

I’d love to look back at this thread in 5-10 years time. With increasing specs (processing power, battery life and connectivity), it will be more than just your watch. AirPods are just the beginning, augmented reality glasses maybe, (medical) implants etc…might not need an iPhone anymore!

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Side note: Have you been following the podcast Internet Friends at all? @ablaze and @drewcoffman have talked about this in the past.

I haven‘t, must check it out!

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Forgive my ignorance for the Apple watch. But if you already have an iPhone, what is the need for the Apple watch? I see some redundancy. Thoughts & thank you