The Apple Watch: Initial Feedback from an SLP
If you’ve been following our blog at YappGuru, then you know that I recently took the leap and purchased an Apple Watch for (ahem) “research purposes”.
I’ve been committed to using it fairly consistently and am finding more and more ways to incorporate the Apple Watch into my daily life, and slowly into my clinical practice.
Here’s how my first few weeks have been with Apple Watch Sport.
While I do own a few watches, like most people I haven’t worn one daily on my wrist for years – most likely because I check the time on my iPhone and have come to regard the watch as an accessory rather than a necessity. This made me a little worried about how I would feel about wearing one every day and relying on it for functionality. Would it feel weird to have it on my wrist all day? Wouldn’t I feel trapped? Wouldn’t it just be heavy to have something on all of the time?
After a week of wearing it daily, I am pleasantly surprised!
At the entry level price of $349, I purchased the white fluoroelastomer band in the 38mm silver aluminum case, pictured below. Fluoroelastomer is a synthetic rubber that’s pliable and isn’t affected by temperature.
You don’t just go buy an Apple Watch – there’s a fitting process in which you try on the styles that you’re interested in and interact with demos that help you figure out what your watch will look and feel like. After all, this is a big expense and you want to make sure that it’s right. The Apple rep suggests styles that might work best for you and I’ll admit, I wasn’t 100% sold on the band setting that was recommended to me – a little worried that would be “too tight”.
However, the band is really soft and conforms well to my slim wrist. What a pleasant surprise! It’s actually super comfy.
Important to note: the watch needs to have a consistently snug fit on your wrist in order to maximize Apple’s haptic feedback – the light taps and vibration which provide discreet notifications and serve as an effective “attention getter” for reminders and appointments.
Receiving discreet haptic feedback alerts during meetings or client sessions is definitely proving to be a major benefit. However I often have to make a mental note to remember to view the event later, at a more appropriate time. My own brain power is still in play, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I have asked several people if they noticed that I glanced down at my Apple Watch during meetings, and so far no one has reported witnessing my being distracted. This is important to me because I don’t want people thinking I am pressed for time while I’m engaging with them.
Water resistant, not waterproof
Working in both medical and educational settings, I am constantly washing my hands and/or using hand sanitizers. One thing that I am finding is that I am hypersensitive to little splashes of water getting on the face of the watch, or even higher up on my wrist. I’m worried that I might damage the sensor on the watch, which uses this amazing tech: infrared and visible-light LEDs plus photodiodes to measure your heart rate via photoplethysmography (technology essentially measuring green light absorption).
However, Apple does assuage my fears somewhat with it’s official word on the water resistant properties of the Apple Watch:
“Apple Watch is splash and water resistant but not waterproof. You can, for example, wear and use Apple Watch during exercise, in the rain, and while washing your hands, but submerging Apple Watch is not recommended. Apple Watch has a water resistance rating of IPX7 under IEC standard 60529. The leather bands are not water resistant.”
Their stance definitely gives me some solace, but with the price tag I still find myself being concerned about it. Hopefully I’ll get more comfortable with time.
Apple reports 18 hours as an average depending on usage. I’ve been using it for entire workdays, which for me are 10 hours including commuting, and so far I haven’t needed to charge my battery mid-day. HOWEVER, I have forgotten to to charge it and then need to plan for 2 ½ hours to get a full charge.
How you use it does matter when it comes to battery life. My typical day with my Apple Watch includes texts, reminders, calendar appointments, connecting with fellow Apple Watch owners using Digital Touch (sending cute drawings and “taps” to each other), using Google maps at least once per day for appointments, and getting Activity updates (did I mention it reminds me to stand-up in order to help me reach personal health goals?)
Click here for a great post by TechRadar that provides specs and more in-depth usage data.
So far I am seeing that the Apple Watch pairs nicely with my daily life. I’ve just started researching and purchasing apps with a specific eye for my work as a Speech-Language Pathologist and will share feedback soon!
In the meantime, do you have any questions about the Apple Watch in clinical practice? You can ask in the comments below.
I’d love to research the answers for you. Plus I know a few therapists who are also using and loving their new gadgets.