When the Apple Watch was first announced, perhaps the most bemusing of all was the fact that there was a Separate button for Communication, sending heartbeats, messages and making phone calls. Communication was presented as one of the three things the Apple Watch was great at. It’s a great Watch, A Great Health and Fitness Device and a great Communication device. A great communication device!? One can not just foresee himself using his watch to send long messages and phone calls.
Communication on the Apple Watch is just one of those things whose usefulness cannot be described on a spec sheet. At first it’s just a convenience, but once you use it more often, you realize how little of your chats and conversations should actually include a phone. This is exceptionally true for messages and to an extent even phone calls. Once you start using the Apple Watch, you realize how handy this device is for communication.
Answering phone calls on the Apple Watch is pretty fun. So this is one of those things which I guess, applies differently to different people and in different settings. Personally, I’m usually sitting on my work desk when I answer phone calls and I’m usually pretty annoyed to hear ringtones. This is something that the watch solves very efficiently, it just gives me a tap to notify me of an incoming call, and I can accept it or ignore it there and then. I’m pretty comfortable answering calls on my watch’s speaker, since it’s usually in the privacy of my room that I’m receiving them. The convenience of going hands free on a phone call is pretty good. I can keep doing my work while answering to the person on line. The sound quality is pretty decent and gets the job done but I’d have liked it to be a bit louder.
Messages is pretty good too. The thing about writing messages on the Apple Watch is that when you first imagine it, you imagine having to write articles while dictating all of it to your watch. In reality though, conversations are usually about the Yeahs, OKs and ?? (At least mine are!) This is something, where I feel using a phone is like using a sword at a place where a pin would do. Seriously, I don’t need to take out my phone for quick replies.
In fact, because of the Watch’s form factor, I’ve found myself dictating out slightly longer messages with a greater accuracy than that of the phone. But dictation isn’t perfect. Every now and then, one is bound to stumble across a proper noun, too tough to be easily understood by a computer. For that, there’s an option to send your dictation as an audio message. Audio messages have been around for a while on the phone now. But what makes them so popular with the watch is the way they are placed In the interface. Just as you complete your dictation you are given an option of either send it as an audio or as text. And the audio option is the first one. The rate of me sending audio messages has certainly spiked. The convenience applies to the messages too, the interruption time with the watch is pretty low. As I write this post, I’ve already answered a string of messages from my watch and successfully made plans to watch a movie.
Digital Touch is a bit of a gimmick and only useful if your friend has an Apple Watch. It’s a great tool for quick reminders, follow ups and summons. I’ve often found myself asking my brother to come online using the digital touch feature. Sending Heartbeats is mostly a gimmick but can be pretty fun and expressive. Personally, I’d like to see a better and faster implementation of digital touch. One of the thing that irks me is that instead of directly receiving tap or two on the wrist, one has to open the message first to read it, something that only works best for drawings and not taps or heartbeats. And this is what makes digital touch the least used feature for me. The process isn’t instantaneous enough.
There’s a Separate button to start a conversation on the Apple Watch. And for all the reasons I mentioned above. I think that button was very much needed and that a friend list is what I want that button to pop up for me. Not the music app, not the Fitness app or even an alarm or timer for that matter. Because communication is something that’s inherently impulsive. If it takes too long to start a conversation on the watch, I’ll probably not start it at all. The interface is pretty impressive too. I get the options for sending a digital touch, a new message or even start a phone conversation.
Only a matter of convenience at first, Apple Watch’s communication abilities have proven to be something that have greatly eclipsed my use of the same on the phone in the two months that I’ve had it. Heartbeats, taps and drawings are probably just a gimmick, but there’s little doubt that the watch is the best form factor for quick replies And hands free conversations.