Apple Watch: My most personal review ever

I have been reporting on Apple for more than 20 years now, and in all that time no product has had such an impact on my life as this little piece of hardware and software. I don’t say that for dramatic effect, it has had a profound effect on the way I live. As you will read later, this is the most personal review I have ever written.

However, before we get there, I need to address a few other items, so let’s get started.

I picked up my Apple Watch from Apple the day before they went on sale to the public. I must admit, I was a bit concerned about using it after reading the initial reviews of the device. They talked about the notification system being just as bothersome as the iPhone and described the watch as having a steep learning curve.

These were exactly the opposite impressions I had of the device after having it on my wrist a couple of times at Apple events, during its introduction. How, after 20 years, could I have misread the watch so badly?

So, while every reporter in the world rushed to get their review of the Apple Watch posted online, I sat and looked at my Apple Watch. I touched it, played with the interface, and I even talked to it.

I needed to know what was so difficult to understand about a device that sits on my wrist, so I put it on and started using it.

The steep learning curve

There is no steep learning curve. Complete bullshit.

Notifications are annoying

This says more about the reviewers ability to use the product than anything. Notifications are completely configurable. Again, complete bullshit.

Fundamentally Apple

Apple Watch is a new product and a brand new category for Apple, but fundamentally, it is an Apple product. In order to understand the Apple Watch, you first have to appreciate what Apple does. I’m not saying that in a “I love Apple” kind of way, but you have to have an understanding of how Apple does things.

Having that fundamental understanding of how Apple makes its hardware and software work together, how its user interface works, and how the company brings it all together is key to understanding the watch.

It’s all fundamentally Apple.

When someone asks me how to use an Apple designed interface, I always tell them the same thing: think of the easiest way to do it, and 9 times out of 10, that’s what Apple did. There is that one time that Apple messes up, and something weird happens, but most of time, that advice holds true.

That is the advice I’d give a new user of Apple Watch.

This happened to me on a number of occasions as I began using the watch. For example, when I received a notification on the watch, I could swipe right to left and clear that notification. However, there were other notifications still in the queue—how could I dismiss them all? Surely Apple wouldn’t want me to dismiss each one individually, so the question was, what magic implementation did they put in the watch to make this happen? What would be the easiest way to do it?

I tried a Force Touch and sure enough, “Clear All” popped up on the screen. From that point on, I would Force Touch everything just to see what options it would bring up. There are quite a few—explore and you will find many.

Navigating Apple Watch

The best way to describe navigating the watch is to think of the Digital Crown as your home/back button. No matter where you are in the watch’s interface, you can get back home using the crown.

The crown has more functionality than that—it takes you from the watch face to the app screen, and back again, and you use the crown to activate Siri, which is something I’ve been using a lot.

Many people have commented that Siri is much better on the watch than it ever was on the iPhone. I think that’s true too, but there are some other things to consider with Siri. With the watch, we have to use Siri, so I think we’ve become better at interacting with it, and since we’re using it more, it makes sense that we’ve become better too. The two of those put together gives us the illusion that it was just Apple improving the service, but I think it was all of those things together that have made the experience better.

One of the things I use Siri for is playing music. Just hold the Digital Crown and say what music you want to play—if you’re in the car, or your phone is connected to another external speaker, the music will automatically play through it.

One thing I really like is that when I choose a song to play and say “shuffle,” it will play that song and then shuffle the album that song is on. However, if I choose a band and say “shuffle,” it will play through all of the songs from that band. I like that.

The side button on the Apple Watch immediately opens your friends list. This is where I keep all of the people that I want to communicate with quickly—if they have an Apple Watch, then you can send your heartbeat, doodles and other interactive messages.

Soon after turning on my Apple Watch, I received my first ever doodle. It was from John Gruber and it was probably the funniest conversation I’ve had with him in all the years I’ve known him.

You can tell who has a watch and who doesn’t by the types of messages you can send someone. If they have a watch, you will see the button for the doodle screen, but if they don’t, you will have to send an old fashion message. This is how John knew I had my watch.

If you double-press the side button, you will see your Apple Pay cards. I’ve used this often to purchase things since I started wearing the watch and it’s great. After the payment is made, you receive confirmation and Apple Pay goes away. Simple.


The first full day I had the watch, I drained the battery down to 2 percent. I wondered how long it would be before I completely drained it under normal use—that day has yet to arrive.

When Apple told me the battery would last all day, I was skeptical. Very skeptical. Turns out, they were right. Most nights when I go to bed, I have 25 percent or better remaining on my watch battery.

I should be clear, that the first thing I do in the morning is put on the watch. Taking it off is the last thing I do before going to sleep. It is on my wrist all day long.

Not everything is perfect… yet

The Apple Watch OS is not perfect, but I didn’t expect it to be. There are things that weren’t included, but yet, oddly were included. Many of these things are being added in WatchOS 2, so I won’t go through them all, but there are a few odd ones that I thought I’d mention.

For instance, you can’t reply to an email from the Apple Watch. If you get an alert, you have to go to your phone to reply. Fair enough. Except, if you have a calendar appointment with someone and their email address is in the appointment, you can send them an email from the watch. I think that’s good, but it seems odd that you can send an email from Calendar, but not from Mail.

I also had a few problems with Maps. I started directions from my Watch and, as expected, the screen of my iPhone picked up the map. However, it wouldn’t give verbal turn-by-turn directions through the car’s Bluetooth. As soon as I unlocked the iPhone’s screen, verbal directions started working. Odd.

When I got to a place where I felt comfortable and no longer needed it, I turned off navigation on my watch. However, the phone wouldn’t stop giving directions. In fact, it restarted the navigation on my watch. In order to stop the navigation, I had to stop it on the phone.

These are small things, but worth pointing out. They didn’t really impact the way I use the watch or my overall satisfaction with how it works, they are just weird little things that popped up.

Fitness: information is power

This is where the review gets very personal for me. This is how I lost over 40 pounds using HealthKit and Apple Watch.

I am overweight. Not just a little, but a lot. I smoke, and have for most of my life, I drink, I eat every food that is bad for me, and I just didn’t care. I think a better way to put it is that I didn’t see a way out.

Apple does a very good job of promoting Apple Watch to marathon runners and other athletes that want to stay fit and maintain their perfectly sculptured bodies. I look at that and know I will never be them, so I move on. There are millions of people in my situation that have done the same thing.

About 10 months ago I went out for a walk. That started a transformation for me that I will never forget. A simple walk.

During one of these walks, I was thinking about life, listening to music and I just kept walking. I walked a long time, at least for me, and it felt good. It wasn’t strenuous really, just a walk—turns out it was a three mile walk and I started doing it every single day.

One day, I weighed myself and I had lost five pounds. I was shocked—I ate the same, but yet I’m losing weight.

Then I remembered this technology on my iPhone called HealthKit. It could track my steps, distance, weight and other information about my body. I started using HealthKit every day to see how different things would affect my weight loss and generally how I felt. Did I lose more weight walking in the morning or the afternoon? What foods made me gain weight? Should I skip meals and hope that helps with weight loss?1

I hesitate to say I became obsessed, but I did become more aware of what I did and how it affected me, both physically and mentally.

I looked at every aspect of my life to see what a little change would do for me. I ate my very first yogurt in my life, and I like it. I challenged myself in ways that I never would have before with food and with exercise, sometimes hitting a limit and knowing that I’d gone too far. I picked myself up and started again, eventually breaking through that limit and many others along the way.

Then I started using MyFitnessPal to track the amount of calories I was eating and compared that to the amount I was burning. Calories in versus calories out is weight loss, I’ve come to learn. I track every single thing I eat, good or bad, and use HealthKit to track what it does to my body.

I’m not religious about what I eat, but I’m aware. I still grab a burger if I’m out with friends and I thoroughly enjoy it—every single bite. The difference is that I understand what it does.

There is no sense in tracking what you eat if you skip writing down the bad things. Track everything. You will have bad days, and that’s okay. I have all kinds of bad eating days, and while I don’t feel guilty, I do feel good about knowing how to change it tomorrow.

Knowledge and understanding has allowed me to break through the barrier of not seeing a way out of my situation. I am in control.

Apple Watch furthered my transformation. I can see on my wrist every minute of the day where I’m at for standing, movement, activity, calories and much more.

One minute please, Apple Watch says I need to stand up

If Apple Watch says stand, I stand. I still don’t know why. Maybe I just want to complete those rings every day and feel good about that. Maybe standing every hour really is good for me. I don’t know, but I’ll indulge this little device on my wrist and stand.

I workout every day now2. I have incorporated a two mile, 3.5 mph treadmill walk, a two mile outdoor walk, and some light interval training, with eating better.

With the lost weight, I have also added in some weight training. Doing that has added several inches to my biceps and is tightening up my chest and stomach. I should be clear, I don’t exercise for hours a day—I only spend about 40 minutes a day exercising. That’s my comfort zone.

As of this writing, and using the exercises I talked about, I have lost 42.4 pounds.

I am about five pounds short of the goal I set for myself, and about 15 pounds from where I should be for my height and age. Not only can I see my goal, but I am making it to that goal.

In the past 10 months, I have lost four pant sizes and two shirt sizes. Even now, I see myself as being overweight, and while technically I am, whenever I see someone and they say, “wow, where did the rest of you go,” I understand that I’ve made a lot of headway.

This didn’t happen overnight. It happened a tenth of a pound at a time. Some days it was a real struggle.

What I’m saying to those of you in my situation of being overweight, is that there is hope. There is a way out for you too. It has to start somewhere, so why not today.

Apple Watch and HealthKit changed my life. It can change yours too.

You can read a follow-up post too.

  1. The answer is no, don’t skip meals. 

  2. Every day that I can. I’ve missed days, but that’s going to happen. I pick up where I left off the next day. 

  • Ronald Epstein

    Congrats for discovering what the rest of us Apple Watch owners have discovered. It is FAR better than what initial reviews suggested it to be. Battery life is fantastic (in a true 24-hour perspective) and it works wonderfully in keeping us notified without taking our phone out of our pocket. Thank you so much for taking the time to write a very real-world review instead of something rushed and uninformed.

    • wppdd87

      Kennedy Tulimasealii

  • Gordon Tillman

    Congratulations Jim. That’s fantastic progress.

  • Michael

    Honest review. Thanks Jim! and Congrats!

  • John Barnes

    The fact that the watch made you aware of and improved your health is worth the money spent on it in the first place. Congratulations and keep at it. Thanks for the great real-world review.

  • RK

    Good personal story with the weight loss. For some reason, my watch sets my daily calories burnt to 480; I cannot get the red circle to complete on most of days. Frustrating.

    • If you have it turned on, Apple Watch will give you a weekly progress report. If you’re not making your goal, it will recommend going lower. If you consistently make the goal, it will recommend going higher.

      • jinjo235

        You can use Force Touch in the Activity app to change your Calorie goal!

      • sigaba

        I have a question about the daily goals – I do 5-10 mile runs but only every other day or every three days, does it still ding you for the days in-between you take off?

    • Matthew Frederick

      You can also change the goal by force-touching while in the Activity app.

  • MichaelGlotzer

    Great progress – can’t wait to get one. Hopefully the cigs will be next to go – you won’t regret it!

  • Rex Chiang

    That’s amazing results! Hopefully the next Apple Watch will track oxygen saturation levels and you’ll quit smoking 😛

    • Stirlol

      Maybe try e cig? Not sure if they’re better but they definitely seem less harsh on the lungs and throat. Now trying to wean myself off a delicious apple e-hookah

      • Anthony Snyder

        E cig is just an excuse to continue smoking. There’s absolutely no reason to smoke besides addiction. E cig or the old fashion way.

        • LTMP

          That is true. Unfortunately, addictions are sometimes VERY hard to break, so a slightly less harmful alternative is still an improvement.

        • Is there any real problem with the nicotine free ecigs?

          • Anthony Snyder

            Not really, except that it promotes the use of typical nicotine cigs, I suppose.

          • Even excluding Shawn’s link, it can be hard to be sure ecigs are really nicotine free. I think that’s one of the reasons Canada Customs doesn’t let them in from the US, because they believe that the cigarettes properly imported are magically immune to mislabelling.

          • Nasty! Nice find. Thanks.

        • Stirlol

          Smoking now disgusts me, and I can’t stand second hand and have never let anyone smoke in my apartment.. Yes it is swapping one route of ingestion for another, and I’m pretty sure they’re not harmless. Smoking something is definitely worse than vaporising. I wasn’t a huge smoker but I did smoke every day.

          Another option is things like the Pax by ploom IIRC, you can load tobacco into it and vapourise.

        • Darthque

          I appreciate your forthrightness. But that’s TOTAL BULLSHIT. cigs are as, if not more addictive, then heoroin. You have to start somewhere. And if e cigs can help someone, then more power to them.

          • I have a buddy that smoked for 40 years, now he smokes ecigs, one day his wife changed his vap fluid to nicotine free fluid and he didn’t know for 4 months, turns out yes the nicotine is addictive but also the oral fixation… he now quit smoking and is working on the 40 year old habbit of having something in his mouth when stress has been triggered.

          • Darthque

            That’s a good woman right there lol

  • The Apple Watch notifications are not the least bit annoying. When I had my Pebble, I found the notifications very annoying and with very limited configurability.

  • I’ve had my watch since it was released and I am also finding that it’s worth every penny I paid for making me more aware of my activity levels and pushing me to exercise more, get more fit and lose weight. It’s very much a 1.0 product, but what it does so far has been useful and satisfying and makes me look forward to enhanced capabilities with new releases.

  • pajhurley

    Thanks very much Jim, Your very personal review was inspiring. I am recovering from heart surgery and know that the only way to get and remain healthy is to change my current lifestyle by exercising and eating better. The Apple Watch I just ordered (after reading your review) is going to help me achieve these goals.

  • Michael Curl

    I would consider myself an Apple “fanboi”, and I try to approach reviews about all tech companies knowing that I can be horribly biased. What stood out to me is how quickly this changed from a review to a call for activity. I myself am overweight, not by a lot, but I have those days where I look in the mirror and say, “What the hell happened?” Thank you for pointing out your progress and giving a much needed rallying cry.

  • Douglas Radmacher

    Amazing progress! Rock on Jim.

  • Herding_sheep

    Good on you for the weight loss Jim. The “tech-obsessed” reviews definitely missed the mark in my eyes with their Watch reviews. They were rushed, and way off-base. There was no steep learning curve for me, and there was no annoyance with notifications. I literally haven’t TOUCHED my notification settings for the Watch. Everything is set to mirror my iPhone. But because I have already fine-tuned my phone notifications, I had no need to further refine them for the Watch. If I don’t want annoying notifications on my Watch, chances are I didn’t want them on my phone either, so I already purged them for years now. It drove me nuts with reviews from the Verge or others that acted like notification overload was an issue. That’s entirely in your control, and if you blindly accept all apps wishing to send you alerts, you have no one else to blame.

    Btw, voice turn-by-turn directions only playing through the phone when its unlocked is a feature, not a bug. One of the many instances of great attention to detail I found delighful throughout the entire experience. The same applies for notifications. If your phone is locked, everything comes through your Watch. If your phone is unlocked, Apple assumes your attention is focused on the phone, and now notifications and voice guidance will play through your phone. Lock your phone, and alerts are back to going only to your Watch. I absolutely love this, and found it very impressive the level of attention to detail Apple paid.

    If you start directions from your phone, voice guidance will always come from your phone, but you will also receive taptic alerts on your watch as well as see upcoming turns on your watch. But if you initiate directions from the Watch, upcoming turns will only alert you from the Watch, UNLESS your attention switches to your phone (meaning unlocked).

  • Matthew Frederick

    Congrats Jim, that’s awesome.

    I’m having similar success myself, with the Watch successfully encouraging me every day. I thought I was immune to gamification, but the watch definitely changed that.

    On ending navigation, note that you can tell Siri to “end navigation” on the watch, either via “Hey Siri” (which I find to be super effective) or by doing the long-press on the crown, as you mention.

    • Yeah, I did try to end navigation, but it just wouldn’t end. I guess it wanted me to get home safe 🙂

  • MarkDeMaio

    I work from home and I’m sitting a lot and I have found the ‘time to stand up’ notification just great. I get up and walk around my apartment a few times and get back to doing some work. It’s a simple and yet really amazing little feature, along with all of the other incredible things the watch does. For a gen.1 anything, I think its the best out of the box APPLE product yet. Absolutely love it.

  • Greg Benedict

    Kudos Jim. I’ve been using HealthKit on the iPhone and MyFitnessPal to similar effect. I’m down 37.5 pounds so far and that combination is a critical reason why.

  • Mayson

    You’re probably not a full 5 pounds over your goal – you’re not taking the beard into account…

  • Peter Hewson

    Great review! I think one of the hardest hurdles for people who need to make changes to lifestyle choices is getting the proper feedback without feeling like they’re being judged. Fitness trackers can empower one to make changes without sitting in a circle and talking about it. You still have to bring your motivation but hey, without it, it’s a moot point anyway.

  • GaranceD

    This is a nice informative review. One thing I’m not sure of though. You said you picked up the watch the day before they went on sale to the public. But at the end, you say “In the past 10 months…”.

    Did you get the watch when it was announced to the public (Sept 2014), or did you get it in April 2015? Either is fine of course, I’m just curious.

    • I was using HealthKit before I got the watch. The watch just gave me more instant access and reminders to stand up, etc. They both helped me.

  • Michael

    Honestly. This is part of why I also got an Apple Watch. I didn’t think any other fitness tracker would have enough “glue” to stick with my lifestyle. Since it ties in with my phone and laptop, I won’t stop wearing it after six weeks. So far, it’s helping me be more active too.

  • eilfurz

    you’re so right on the “steep learning curve” and “annoying notifications” – those were the first things i thought after getting the watch. how stupid do you have to be to find the navigation on the watch confusing?

    congrats for losing so much weight. way to go!

    i’ve completed the green circle only a few times so far, and sometimes even miss closing the red one. but making a “mere” walk a workout or lowering the calory goal (it’s 450 right now) feels like cheating to me. but that’s just my personal ambition. anyway, it has already succeded to make me much more aware of my daily activity, and i’ve also cut down on sugary drinks and fast food – so it’s working after all.

    • Tommy C

      I also complained about the charging coupler force, and assume you have a Sport like me which came with the white plastic charger. If you buy the extra cord Apple sells, it is the metal one that was shown is most all the pics, and it has a MUCH better connection force.

  • Boback

    Congrats brother. Great review. I get about 2 days out of my ᴡᴀᴛᴄʜ

  • Great review Jim. Initially hearing these kinds of stories of new found motivation to be healthy led me to believe that Apple fans are just succumbing to their own fanaticism to the brand. However, even if that is true, then so fucking what. It’s amazing that these gadgets and this software can have that power.

    It’s heartening to read that even the most cynical people are able to let this stuff help them. I say this as a cynical person. Keep up the great progress.

    One question (unrelated to the watch); how do you keep your food logging in MyFitnessPal from becoming super tedious?


    • Good question. I think tracking the food is tedious, but I have my goals and want to know how what I eat affects it. Credit to MyFitnessPal, they have millions of items in the food database, so it’s a simple search.

      If I had to manually enter everything myself, I probably wouldn’t.

    • You can copy previous meals which is helpful to me.

  • Nice Job and Game changing post from Jim

  • drama queen
    1. You have already passed your bad genes to your kids. So getting healthy at your age is 1/2 the battle. smoking is a carcinogen that means it alters your genes so the bad habits get passed down to your grand kids.
    2. You will continue to smoke, drink and not sleep well. Taller you are more cells you have and more chance you have to get cell mutation, if you don’t sleep and breath clean air and drink plenty of water and get more Sun. All the rewards from the Watch will be very superficial.
    • zid

      Wha? You’re a silly.

    • Roguedog

      What an apt handle. Geesh!

    • Weird science~! Half truths – half fortune teller 😉

  • airmanchairman

    Good article. Minor point about Siri just seeming to be better – I think not, especially after WWDC revealed the ongoing evolution into Proactive Assistant in the backend.

    Now I’m beginning to comprehend the subtle improvements to Siri, especially noticeable since the most recent iOS upgrade: for years now, I have used Siri to set an evening alarm for silent contemplation, followed by a request to run Night Stand, an old favourite app that has not seen an update in years.

    Prior to the last iOS update, the app would always open in portrait mode, whereupon I would have to manually rotate my iPad to change orientation to landscape. But nowadays, the app will launch in portrait mode and then “autorotate” itself to landscape mode without my intervention, which suggests to me that Siri has learned one of my usage traits and “autocompleted” it for me – brilliant!

  • Good for you!

    • Mattie

      Hey what’s p

  • maneeshjuneja

    Your review is partially inaccurate. You CAN reply to emails from the Apple watch, using either pre-defined replies, emojis or even dictating with Siri. I find it works remarkably well. 3rd party apps from Spark or TL;DR offer this functionality on the watch.

    • not with the stock apps, you can’t.

  • Great review, and congrats!

    I’ve had mine from day one, but I think Apple really screwed the pooch on heart rate monitoring in the 1.0.1 update. They changed the frequency of measuring from every 10 minutes no matter what to every ten minutes if you’re still and you don’t move your arm. This means you can go hours without getting heart rate updates. Since calories burned factors in the heart rate, the actual calories burned wind up getting underestimated, and it’s actually almost impossible to close out the exercise ring unless you force it into a workout just to get accurate and timely heart rate monitoring.

    This simple change has seriously reduced the usefulness of the Watch for a lot of people.

    I hope Apple fixes this in 2.0.

    • Tom_P

      The HRM update is intentional. I forgot about the reason but you can google to find out.

      • I know it’s intentional. Apple said they changed it to save battery life, but the battery was fine before the change. I just think it’s a stupid decision that robs the Watch of important functionality.

        Why should it only accurately track caloric burn when you have the Workout app running?

        • not, apple did not say it was to save battery life. quote us otherwise.

          the reason its been changed is because the readings were inaccurate when the arm is in motion, using the infrared sensors. during a classified “workout” via the Workout app, it uses the green LED sensors, which are more accurate, even while moving. you cannot have those firing every ten minutes all day, which is why it has the infrared sensors.

  • Jared Porter

    I’m loving my Apple Watch so much since received it on 4/24 and don’t know when i’ll be wearing my old, trusty Rolex again. I’m disappointed with many to the early lackluster, half-baked tech press reviews, and I appreciate most of the good comments from “real owners” I’ve read here. And I especially appreciate Jim’s review. I think Watch is destined to be a HUGE HIT product this Christmas season as millions of avid iPhone users are HUNGRY for a new snazzy, useful, good-functioning gadget. Apple Watch will sell in droves to couples and teens who love to text each other and get attention in novel ways. Existing owners will be brand ambassadors as they demonstrate the surprising features and benefits to their family and friends and anyone else who might be curious.

  • Small Arms

    Several inches to your biceps from wearing a watch? you cant be serious

    • No, weight training.

      • Skinny

        But still, several inches? What is your secret? I’m hardly making any progress from weight training.

        • Honestly, I think it’s because I’ve never done it before. The response I’m seeing out of working those muscles for the first time is impressive.

      • Roguedog

        Jim, thank you so much for this piece. I love my watch too, and it has proven to be successful beyond my wildest expectations. I am using the myfitnesspal too, and am hoping that the combo will have a positive impact on my health goals. Thanx for the motivation to really give it a go.

    • Tom_P

      He exercised, silly bee.

    • Roguedog

      It’s the heavy Gold version! I don’t think he was implying that simply wearing the watch added the increased inches… it was a byproduct of the wonderful fitness reminders, and motivational reminders of said app, along with his increased awareness and response to the said motivational reminders.

  • Great, post. Love my Watch and realize just about every review I read was bullshit. Apple’s PR could’ve maybe done a better job setting expectations(?).

    Congrats on the exercise and weight loss. Really inspiring. I’m about 30lbs over and when recently getting a check-up, the nurse classified me as “obese” on the visit documents. I was quite shocked by this and now working to intake less and exercise a bit more. Seems logical, right? Still love my hamburgers and I think I may have an addiction to French fries, but I’m trying to eat fewer. Walking seems to help; already dropped a few pounds.

    I too, compliantly, stand up when I get that tap on the wrist.

  • Great review Jim, thanks for sharing the personal details of why the Watch has made such a difference. Since HealthKit was released I’ve lost 20 pounds, doing much the same as you – watching and noting what I eat, and walking every day. Whilst I don’t have the Apple Watch yet, the functionality baked into the Health app on the iPhone has made a significant difference to my health. Notifications and easy access to Siri are great to have, but making a material difference to so many lifestyles is way bigger.

  • dannebq

    Great review and a nice story. Keep it up Jim!

  • jonas101

    I cancelled my watch after reading the reviews, but later tried one out and was convinced that the reviews were wrong, so I placed my order again, and went to the back of the line.

    Jim – you have produced one of the first reviews which I think reflects the views of ordinary users. Well done.

    The watch is really simple.

    The notifications and control of them are terrific. (I rec. spark for email filtering)

    Complications and glances are great UI advances. Great for controlling podcasts/music without fumbling to get the phone out of my pockets.

  • StruckPaper

    It remains fashionable for some pundits to find flaws with Apple products. They are struggling to find fresh approaches. With the Apple Watch, the latest trend seems to be, “I honestly tried it for x days or weeks, but it just isn’t for me.” By saying it’s “them” and not the watch, they are trying to sell themselves as too smart to fall for Apple marketing. Instead, they have fallen for their own self-promotion.

    • Jared Porter

      You are exactly right. The fashion editor of the NY Times who famously returned her watch got more personal notoriety from that act than probably anything she’s published in a decade. She also got herself featured/interviewed on CNBC. (She did say in the interview that she bought her dad a Watch and he likes it though).

  • Stan Kramer

    Wow! Really inspiring Jim. Thank you. You’ve got me walking. And reconsidering the watch.

  • business ethics

    Jim, I liked your review, and learned that you and the Apple watch match. All the best with taking control of your life, and regaining your health .

  • matthewmaurice

    Jim, I have just one question; has your consumption of Heineken decreased? Because if so, I’m shorting HEIA immediately!

  • Cat_E_Wompuss

    Rushed Apple Watch reviews from the ever moronic Nilay Patel and hyper nerd over achievers like Joanna Stern really made me hate the tech press more than ever. Thanks for attempting to set the record straight.

    Great progress BTW. You have a very handsome face under the fat. Keep it up!

  • Brian

    Bravo, Jim! Remember that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. From my own experience of losing 90 lbs., I learned that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself.

    (Shameless plug: for some tips to help you keep going, visit

    And thanks for being so thoughtful in not rushing to judge a new product, or being the first to publish a badly written review like so many pundits and contemporaries. That is what makes you stand out. Measure twice, cut once. Thanks again for an insightful (and personal) review. Keep it going!

  • Cathy Adams

    I have yet to see a review of Apple Watch by a female frequent business traveler. Men typically have their phones in their pockets. Women have to dig them out of a fully loaded purse, which when traveling and multi tasking is a big pain in the tookus. Also, when my phone is on vibrate in a purse, I still need to reach in and check it to make sure I didn’t miss a text or email during a meeting. Now I get a tap when one comes in and can assess immediately whether I need to respond on a break, without forcing others to listen to the phone buzz (there are 8 buzzing phones on the conference table in this meeting!). I have GPS tapping me when a turn is coming up as I try to find my way through an unfamiliar town. I have my boarding passes on my wrist. I can use Apple pay by pushing the side button. I got this thing as a gift, never even considered what it might do to change my life. Now I’m going to try out the Activity app too.

  • disqus_CdHPAJxwPa

    Great review and great work on the weight loss! Apple watch is amazing and I’m happy to finally read an article that doesn’t relentlessly trash the device.

  • Amazing progress on your health goals – I only have an iPhone 6 to carry around but I absolutely love knowing how many steps I take, flights of stairs climbed, total distance walked/run, how many hours I’ve slept the night before, and my resting heart rate every single day.

    I am an active person, but having this level of tracking just makes me even more competitive to continue being as active as I can be – I can completely relate.

    One of the biggest reasons I want to get an Apple Watch is to track even more health related data.

  • great job!

    • sigaba

      Check out the free Runkeeper…

    • I use the freebie version – it’s fine

  • Verena Block

    Yay for you! I have been going to the gym regularly for a few years, and am in reasonably good shape for my age, but cardio was never my strong suit. I promised myself if I bought the watch that I would complete the couch-to-5k program, and keep it up once it was done. I finished the program a couple of weeks ago, and having been running 3 miles three days a week since then. I love my watch.

  • karinatwork

    Fantastic post! Thank you so much for this. I totally agree. I lost about 20 lbs now, and I, too, stand when the watch tells me to. Ok, then I’m a sheep. I don’t care. I love the watch and I’m so thankful for having one.

  • Interesting. Makes me want the Health stuff, which I hadn’t really been interested in! Hope I can stick to my plan of waiting for next year’s Watch. Version 1 sounds surprisingly mature.

  • waffffffle

    I don’t know Jim but I saw him near WWDC and he definitely looked much thinner and healthier. Congratulations, Jim on your newfound heath and happiness.

  • drale2k

    Good for you man. Great review.

  • Darthque

    Congratulations bro. As someone who had to lose 80lbs, I can emphasize with the amount of effort it takes to get healthy. And thanks for the review too. The apple watch might be my favorite apple product. EVER.

  • Adam Bullion

    The people with all the negative reviews fall into two categories: 1. Too stupid to figure it out (and they probably don’t know how to use but 5-10% of their iPhone’s capabilities). 2. Too lazy to figure it out.

    The Apple Watch has changed my life as well. It lasts me all day (25-40% of battery life left when I go to sleep). Also, my iPhone 6 lasts 9-12 hrs of usage (I rarely take it out anymore) and gets 1.5-2 days of standby. I take 5-10 seconds to complete tasks on my watch and no longer get sucked into the smartphone world for 5-10+ minutes at a time, every time it makes a sound.

    I also love watching the fitness rings, as they near completion each day!

  • Still Bleeds Six Colors

    “When someone asks me how to use an Apple designed interface, I always tell them the same thing: think of the easiest way to do it, and 9 times out of 10, that’s what Apple did.”

    I think you’ve got it backwards. You like Apple devices like the Watch because when you think of the easiest way to do it, you think like Apple’s designers do. People who don’t think the same way as them, don’t find Apple’s user interfaces to be the easiest possible way 90% of the time.

    Don’t get me wrong. Apple’s designers usually do a great job. It’s just not that intuitive for the rest of us. I’ve been using Apple products since the Apple II days and I still don’t understand a lot of their user interface design decisions. Every new version of iOS means re-learning for me, and I dread it.

    That’s a great counterexample to your claim, by the way. For a lot of the things I do, the easiest way to do it in iOS 8 didn’t exist in iOS 7, and the easiest way in iOS 7 didn’t exist in iOS 6, and so on back down the line. If the easiest way to do something in iOS 8 is the way it’s done, that means the way it was done in iOS 1 through 7 was not actually the easiest!

  • Josh

    Great article! After using the Apple Watch for a couple days I was also baffled by all the talk of a steep learning curve. I’m not genius, but it all felt pretty straightforward to me. I agree that battery life has exceeded my expectations. And, like you, I found the fitness tracking functionality impactful in ways I hadn’t anticipated.

    I hadn’t expected the integrated fitness tools to be as motivating as they’ve become for me. I love getting the tap reminder to stand, I’m thrilled to have a way to monitor my workout progress and heart rate and calories burned. I have it all synced to Lose It app. It’s really terrific.

    Congrats on your progress!

  • Strat-fail

    Jim, you say you look at runners and such and believe you’ll never be them.

    When I started my journey, I was 6’4″ and 285 and a smoker. 5 years later I’m a fit 215 and have run one full marathon and untold dozens of half marathons. I’m ramping up training for another full now. I still eat like crap once and a while, and God knows I still enjoy a smoke once and a while (I’m talking like once a month, or the one week a year when I find myself in Vegas for a week).

    I thought like you did, once.

    But I’m telling you: you’ve already made the biggest step – self-awareness. Rome wasn’t built in a day; it’s clear you know this.

    Start with the Couch to 5K program. Anyone can do it. I know you can, too.

  • David Enzel

    Thank you for sharing your experience, Your personal story makes this the best “tech review” I have ever read, Congratulations on the progress you have made.

  • Brilliant, congratulations! I’ve used MyFitnessPal to help me shift a few pounds, great little app. Also… I loved smoking but kicking that habit was one of the best things I’ve done in my life. One step at a time but a gentle hint that should be on your todo list 😉

  • bill679

    Wow, thank you for this, Jim. Really hit home for me and inspires me in a big, personal way.

  • lukeas

    This is a pretty sheepish/terrifying statement.

    “One minute please, Apple Watch says I need to stand up

    If Apple Watch says stand, I stand. I still don’t know why. Maybe I just want to complete those rings every day and feel good about that. Maybe standing every hour really is good for me. I don’t know, but I’ll indulge this little device on my wrist and stand.”

  • Jim: Please, please stop smoking. My grandmother had emphysema from a lifetime of smoking and had to be on oxygen the last handful of years of her life. I can tell you from seeing her go through that that it’s miserable. Not being able to breathe sucks.

  • nicely done

  • JDSoCal

    Nice job, Jim! Good to hear you’ll be around for along time now that you are lean and mean. Show us before and after pics (fully clothed please!!!!!).

  • kenjancef


  • When people ask me about the Watch, I tell them a lot of what you just said above, and I think I’ll just send them this piece now. What rang most true: your experience with health has been mine too. I’ve had mine a month, and Watch not only helped me be mindful of activity but also got me curious about eating and I downloaded MyFitnessPal too as a result of the activity rings and curiosity about healthy living. I’m down 10 pounds in a month since getting my watch.

  • Richard

    I loved reading this article!! Thanks Jim! And congrats, I’m in the same boat as you and love the idea of a little bit of technology nudging me along to a healthier and better version of me!

  • Andy

    Thanks for your review mate, really enjoyed a different point of view and agree with your sentiments about retarded reviewers moaning about setting up the notifications.

  • Alan Mandel

    Ronald, your words are exactly on target. I couldn’t have said it better myself! I have the Apple Watch, and it is awesome in all respects.

  • bob spanner

    Everyone who’s serious about fighting weight gain has his own success story to tell. My “trick” is no cardio — just weights; it’s supposed to burn fat all day by raising metabolism. It sure does raise metabolism; it feels like steam is coming out of my head.

  • Jason vanRijn Kasper

    Just wanted to say that you have encouraged me. Every time I get on the family Wii Fit and it tells me I am obese, it just kills me a little bit more inside. What I lack is hope. I’ve been trying to use MyFitnessPal for years and I just give up after a while because I try to be perfect at it and list everything down to the gram. And that is so tedious and painful that I cannot maintain it. But what I can do is use the tool to at least document and approximate what I eat, and that is better than where I am now. I too bought my Apple Watch with hope that it could help me finally get to a healthy weight and maintain it. You have inspired me and given me hope, and a new perspective, and I cannot thank you enough for that. I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to take small steps every day in the right direction. I need to find how to make this journey enjoyable and sustainable. Thank you!!

  • Finell

    Jim, this is one of the clearest, smartest technology reviews I have read in a very long time. You may have persuaded me to buy my second Apple product. (I started with an Apple II in 1978 right after I saw a VisiCalc demo, but since then have used MS-DOS and, later, Windows computers and an Android phone.) Adding your personal journey made the review, as you said, much more personal.

    As you probably know, David Pogue started out as a musician. He began using a Mac for music notation and music chores, then switched careers to become a leading tech guru. I discovered Pogue when he was a published author, but not a household name. I needed to learn something about the Mac so I could help my non-technical wife buy and use a Mac for music notation and other business tasks. Some of Pogue’s writings were just the intro that I needed.

  • wppdd87

    LOL, what a mindless fanboy. This guy never wondered why Apple refused to release sales figures for this useless piece of crap. Now we know why, sales down 90% since opening. Not even waterproof…seriously? I need a watch with a tiny screen to operate my iPhone….seriously? And I’m a guy who owns a Mac, an iPad Air and an iPhone 6+. Wake up you effin sheep, before Bob gives you a dose of reality. Thanks.

  • Bill

    Great article Jim. I can relate to every point you made.

    Like you I started casually walking in normal shorts, cotton T shirt and a pair of old sandals. Not exercising, just walking. Then I wondered how far I was walking and got an app on my iPhone to track the distance – I was going 2 miles! Wow further that I expected. Since then I have increased my distance to 4 miles and have graduated to Under Amour shorts, t-shirts and shoes. I guess its ok to say “I am going out to exercise”.

    I retired 4 years ago, stopped smoking 3 years ago, started exercising 2 years ago and feel so much better. I’ve had the Apple Watch for a couple of months and I am enjoying it. Recently I noticed the “green circle” (the exercise minutes) was not completing. It turns out that exercise minutes are only counted if your heart rate is high enough to indicate brisk activity. It turns out that I had been kinda loafing during my walk, so I picked up the pace and now the circles are complete and there is a smile on my face. I now glance at my heart rate during my walk to insure that I’m walking fast enough.

    I love your article and although the Apple Watch and iPhone apps are not necessary, there is nothing like a little non judgmental encouragement to get you moving.

    Keep up the good work.

  • YES~!! I LOVE my Apple Watch~! I’ve had similar experiences with iPhone apps, My Fitness Pal, all of them. Apple Watch fits right in. I need to be told to stand because I get sucked into the computer~! It’s great for your circulation and helps prevent blood clots.

    Zero problems getting to know my Watch and learned a few tricks from you just now – thanks~!

    Just found an app called 24/7 that tracks SLEEP on iPhone – not sure if it works through Watch yet. It was 99 cents and looks incredible. I never doubted that Apple would have everything Fitbit does and more. That’s why I held out for the Watch over Fitbit or Jawbone. I’m so glad I did. Now I can not only help my health, but my customers as soon as they message – blowing their minds~! Picking up calls on the Watch is very Jetsons =)

    I wrote this on JoelComm’s blog:

    I haven’t worn a watch in almost a decade, but I am wearing my Apple Watch religiously. I have a very sedentary lifestyle working from home and tend to get sucked into the computer. I am one of those people who forget to take lunch, and yes, even forget to stand up~! The Watch actually tells me when to stand up and sadly, I need that. Then it gives me a little kudos for doing it~! haha I love the exercise apps – it’s really hard to get it to register any real exercise time – you have to really be doing something. There are settings though, to just put it on “open” so you can walk or do whatever; it’s very flexible. I have the sport – I’m allergic to latex and it doesn’t have any or I would have at least a rash.

    As an eCommerce merchant, it is invaluable~! I’m able to reply to messages or see if they are urgent as soon as they come in. I can see what is sold immediately so I can get it ready right away. I can pay my credit card on my wrist or pay the bill from my wrist at a restaurant or store. I can answer a phone call, start a call, whatever – it’s very Jetsons =)

    I can see not wanting to restrict your wrist, totally. And I can see viewing the Watch as just another duplicate Apple product, but if you need to lose weight, be told and congratulated for standing up, work in eCommerce or anywhere you need to respond quickly, want the weather at a glance, pay in a jiff, peruse your calendar, play your Pandora, bluetooth pair a headset & go!~

    The Watch is not a flop product. It’s not a fly by night fad. It’s only going to have more apps added to make life better like all Apple products. I forgot to mention the heart rate is right there. I know most people have Fitbit right now and that’s great, but for me, I need the congrats for standing up 12 times in 12 hours. I need to be nudged or I would get sucked into my computer. Just having it on has made me move more and for me that’s priceless.