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The Apple Watch is a noteworthy accessory, but not a necessity

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(WITI) -- The Apple Watch is Apple’s first new product line since the iPad. Availability is still apparently limited, as Apple is exclusively selling the device through its website and not in stores. However, you can go in-store to demo and try on before you buy online, which I highly recommend.

Rich’s Notes

The best thing about the Apple Watch is that it feels like a real watch. When you put this on you don’t feel like you are strapping a huge piece of technology to your wrist. For that, you have to give Apple props. All of the other watches I’ve tried on from Android makers seem like tech first, watch second – even the best looking ones.

My three favorite features:

The Watch – it functions, first and foremost, like a real watch. Just lift your wrist to see the time. Works every time, just like it should. Don’t laugh, many of the Android watches I’ve tried take a few seconds to register the fact that you’re lifting your arm to look at the time and you literally have to sit there waiting for the screen to come on to tell the time. I like the way you can personalize the screen with a few “complications” – bits of info like the temperature, how many steps you’ve taken or the date.

Activity Tracker – The Apple watch is one of the best fitness companions out there. Again, this is worth the price of entry if you’re into keeping track of your activities. The watch keeps tabs on your movement, heart rate and steps throughout the day. It also nudges you to stand up every once in a while if you have been sitting too long. There are also a  bunch of “stickers” you can collect on your iPhone for things like doing a long workout, burning a lot of calories and other goals.

Notifications – Again, Apple nails it here. On other smartwatches I’ve tried, notifications just come in no matter what – they light up your watch screen whether it’s in front of your face or facing someone else at the dinner table. With Apple Watch, it’s a much more refined experience. First, you feel some gentle vibrations on your wrist to alert you – incoming! Then, when you raise your wrist to your face to look at what’s going on, it will give you a brief “splash screen” featuring the icon of the app that’s sending you the notification, followed by the notification itself. It’s here where it can get pretty hit or miss, depending on how far the developer has gone adapting the app to iPhone. Of course, you can respond to text messages sent through Apple’s own app, but other apps like Facebook Messenger merely let you see a message – you have to go to your phone to actually reply. This will change as Apple Watch apps get more robust.

Another highlight of this device include the battery – I never had a concern whether it would make it through an entire day. Also, swapping out bands is really easy and I suspect many folks will eventually have more than one.

As for the apps, they just aren’t there yet. I found them super slow to load, and much easier to just do the same thing on my phone. Again, this will change as developers figure out what works and what doesn’t on the Apple Watch.

Bottom line: Apple Watch is a great accessory for the iPhone, but it’s definitely not a necessity. But here’s the thing – if you buy one, you will be happy with what it can do today – but you’ll also enjoy what it should be able to do tomorrow.

Apple Watch