We’ve already mentioned the digital crown on the side, and that’s a nod to the traditional watch, with its little dial that normally lets you dial in the correct time by pushing the minute and hour hands around the clock.
A smartwatch has no clock hands, however, so on this watch, you use the crown to dial in up or down, or zoom in and out, allowing you to go up and down in apps — such as making the numbers go up and down when you’re setting calorie counters or timers — while zooming in and out allows you to handle maps, photos, and even view the app menu from further back.
Other apps do different things, and Apple has tried to integrate its features the best way it can, with much of that messaging and mail and phone call functionality you already rely on being deeply connected with the watch, and Siri doing that whole voice-to-text translating we mentioned before.
Fitness is emphasised on the watch, too, with built-in heart-rate tracking with walking and running tracking, and a conversation happening with the phone’s GPS when it’s nearby, meaning you can do a run and track where you’re going.
You can even decide to load music and photos onto the watch and go for a walk or run without the phone, using Bluetooth headphones with the watch and running with that. It’ll be lighter, easier, but you’ll miss out on GPS tracking, though if you prefer to run unhindered, you’ll probably be fine with this.
And for those of you who don’t get up very often — us included — the Apple Watch includes a basic fitness tracking app that kicks in pretty much the moment you switch the Watch on, telling you to stand up at least once an hour while you’re awake, and tracking a goal of losing a small amount of calories daily through walking.
For some of us, it’s just the right kick in the pants that we need. The rest of you who are already using apps to track fitness, you’re beyond us, and there’s a good chance an app you’re using is supported by the Apple Watch anyway, so look in the Watch App store, and go for your life.
We do need to note that some of the apps you can find just don’t appear to work work, and we’ve had a few games crash out or take too long to load that we gave up, pressing the home button and going back to the menu again.
We’re not sure why we’d ever play a game on a screen that small, mind you — perhaps to say that we have — but not every app is working, highlighting the first-generation-ness Apple’s Watch is stuck under.
There’s also one other button worth noting, and that’s the friends button to the side of the digital crown.
Press that, and your favourite friends will pop up in a small circle, allowing you to use either the digital crown or the touchscreen to pick them, call them, message them, or do rather fun specific Apple Watch things to them.
If you call them, you can speak directly to the watch, turning the Apple Watch into a sort of wrist-bound speakerphone, similar to what Samsung’s Gear watches did, though you can get a little self-conscious when it happens, because speaking at your watch it still a little weird in broad daylight.
Messaging is easier, and involves pre-configured messages, animated emoji, or allowing Siri to translate your voice, provided you’re in a place that’s not too loud. If you are, you can send the audio file, but the text is easier to deal with since they can just read it off a screen.
But if a friend has an Apple Watch, you can send them a different message altogether.
You can tap the screen to wake them up, activating the Apple Taptic engine and allowing you to poke or nudge your friend. You can also draw on the screen, though your space is limited, so make it simple, and it’ll playback on their device.
Finally, you can send them your heartbeat, simply by holding two fingers to the screen and motioning to feel your pulse, which will not only let you feel your own pulse, your own heartbeat, with an animated heart, but also send this wirelessly to your friend.
That’s about the most intimate connection you can make with the Apple Watch, and while it’s a gimmick — a particularly creepy gimmick if you keep sending it to your boss (sorry Val) — it’s a neat gimmick altogether, because it shows one of the strange yet cute things partners could do to show their love/lust for each other in the middle of the day when they’re nowhere near each other.
We’re pretty sure we’re sending the wrong message to our boss, but he’s the only one with an Apple Watch we can talk to in this way.
That being said, if you have one, and your partner has one, it’s an interesting out-of-the-box way of saying “I love you”.