As I discussed on the podcast last week and again on Monday, I got an Apple Watch. Ahead of the Watch’s launch, I said several times that I couldn’t have been more excited professionally and less excited personally for the device; my love of mechanical watches and my experiences with the terrible smartwatches that were already on the market made Apple’s watch a boring proposition for me.
Or so I thought.
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The Apple Watch is an odd case where, from what I have seen so far, Apple really hasn’t done a great job of selling consumers on the device. Apple fans are buying them as quickly as Apple can build them, of course, but mainstream consumers don’t seem clear at all on what makes the Apple Watch a must-have.
This is particularly odd for two reasons: Apple is typically phenomenally good at marketing its products, and the Apple Watch is the first all-new product Apple has released in years. One would think the company has taken particular care in ensuring it makes the best possible case for the device.
But seeing Apple’s ads for the Watch and actually experiencing the Watch are night and day — you really cannot appreciate what Apple has done here until you try it yourself.
As I said on Monday’s podcast, I’m going to spend a bit more time with the Watch before I publish anything in-depth. I will run a few quick notes here and there however, starting with some thoughts on how the Apple Watch has already significantly changed the way I use my phone.
I have always had ups and downs when it comes to my relationship with notifications. As someone who can get upwards of 150-200 emails in a single day, notifications had been the bane of my existence for years.
Then, I destroyed email.
This was the start of some major behavioral changes for me, and it had an immediate positive impact on my life. Email and other forms of communication were no longer controlling me, I was controlling them. You don’t realize how awful these constant notifications are until you get rid of them.
Until I got the Apple Watch, however, I wasn’t aware of how important notifications still were to me. Even though I wasn’t constantly feeling buzzes in my pocket, I still wanted to see new notifications each time I checked my phone. And that desire, which I didn’t even know I had, meant that I was constantly checking my phone in search of new notifications.
Interestingly, all it took to make me realize that was a tiny red dot.
The Apple Watch completely changes the way you use your phone in several ways, and one involves notifications. Instead of having to pull your phone out of your pocket each time you hear a chime or feel a buzz, your Apple Watch vibrates and subtly dings with new notifications. Simply glance at the Watch and you’ll know right away if the notification is tied to something you want to deal with, or if it can wait.
As is the case on my iPhone, I am very particular in the way I set up notifications on my Watch. Emails, for example, will display notifications on the device, but they don’t vibrate or play any sounds.
When you look at the Apple Watch display, a tiny red dot can be seen at the top of the screen if you have any missed notifications. And while I spent quite some time going through all of my apps and ensuring that audio and vibrate notifications were disabled for the loudest among them, I found that I was constantly looking at my Watch and hoping to see that little red dot.
I thought I had truly changed my behavior and freed myself from my iPhone’s incessant notifications, but that little red dot made me realize that simply wasn’t the case. I still craved notifications, perhaps even more now that there was some mystery; in the back of my mind, I was always wondering if there would be any new notifications the next time I checked my phone.
The Apple Watch really opened my eyes, and I have begun to make some important changes as a result. I spend more time truly focused on the world in front of me instead of the wondering about the digital world that awaits me in my pocket — and now, on my wrist.
Thank you, little red dot.