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I love my Apple Watch and it’s my favourite to-do list device - why do you think it’s under-utilised?

helix21

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 25, 2009
253
36
The Watch is remarkable and I love it. But like the early days of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, it's currently being judged by what it can't do.

It is literally a computer; many times more powerful than the one that put us on the moon; with ubiquitous internet connectivity, that's always on, and always available, displaying condensed, personalised, information on your wrist. A computer on our wrists, the kind we dreamed of.

I don’t think most blogs or Apple websites cover the Watch well, uniquely leaning into these advantages. Using my Watch as a todo-list is one of the first things that changed my perspectives towards it.

Here’s why I think it’s the best day to day to-do list device:

  1. Customised on-always display - Seeing your next task is as simple as checking the time.
  2. Ubiquitous availability - Your to-do list is always one tap away. You never have to reach to reach for your iPhone in your pocket or your handbag. This means you can check things off whilst your hands are busy or when taking your iPhone out is inconvenient - like doing chores around the house or picking up groceries at the store.
  3. Instant capture - you can put new tasks and ideas into your list straightaway. This might seem like a little improvement, but it is actually a monumental change. Why? Because capturing tasks becomes an unconscious, automatic habit with the Watch.
  4. Focus by design - Unlike your phone, it never tries to steal your attention by distracting you with endless notifications, anxiety-inducing news updates or endless cat videos.
  5. Fast - It encourages you to engage with it quickly, then get back to living your life.
I wanted a resource that deep-dives and explores the Apple Watch in-depth. I couldn’t find anything so I have gone and made it. The above is the gist of it but I’ve written more in detail here if anyone‘s interested in reading.

With that in mind, why do people think the Watch is relatively under-utilised? Does anyone else use the Watch this way?
 

minimo3

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2010
475
314
I use the watch for fitness tracking, heart rate, and calendar event reminder notification. To be honest I’ve never used it for reminders. I’ve always just typed in reminders in my phone. But since most of my tasks are work related they reside in outlook and don’t sync to my watch.
 
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the future

macrumors 68000
Jul 17, 2002
1,807
1,965
Nice blog!

I‘m using the Watch as a to-do tool daily, but for me the default Reminders app is good enough.
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
34,616
36,002
why do people think the Watch is relatively under-utilised?

The question you pose is kind of vague, what ‘people‘ are you referring to? I think consumers when they purchase a smart watch, they primarily want it for the fitness aspect, and notifications come second. We’re always going to rely on our smart phone as our main device in terms of accessing media on a larger scale, but I think a smart watch is really just an extension of our phone for communication and fitness goals.

We reached a point where the Apple Watch matured quickly in five years, and the technology has shifted from being a communication device to a fitness device. I don’t think consumers look at the watch is being ‘underutilized‘, they simply have different aspects of what features they choose to use, but if you ask anyone, I think the main goal of the Apple Watch is to establish communication/fitness as the primaries.
 
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ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,826
2,383
Between the coasts
If we're going to make broad generalizations, I'd have to say that most desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets are also under-utilized by "typical" users. The same thing goes for our biological brains, the physical potential of our bodies, the feature set of a good digital camera, etc. We all tend to pick and choose from a menu that contains far more capabilities than any one person is likely to need. Each of us is likely to make slightly (or dramatically) different choices from that menu.

As to whether fitness is the #1 feature in buyers minds... When I got my first-gen Watch I had no particular goal other than to check out Apple's new thing. I was mainly using it as a glorified timepiece (I use timers a lot), with the added ability to review incoming texts and phone calls without reaching for the phone.

Health/fitness gradually rose (one could almost say "insidiously") to become my top use - the Activity app's daily goals, monthly challenges, participation in challenges with friends and co-workers... all gradually urged me to go farther and farther. My Activity goals still aren't particularly ambitious, but my weight is down by 10%, I get in a moderate workout every day, I'm currently on a 500+ day Move streak (the previous Move streak was close to 400 days)... I guess the psychology of the Activity app works perfectly for me, encouraging me to do something I would never have done with any kind of regularity.

However, I'd say that health, rather than fitness, is at the top of Apple's marketing message. It may seem a subtle difference to the fitness-oriented, but I think "health" has a much broader appeal and application - it's reasonable to say that, like all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares, all fitness-oriented buyers are health-oriented, but not all health-oriented buyers are fitness-focused (heart rate monitoring, fall detection, "get out for a walk every day," etc.)

It took a while for Apple Pay to be widely accepted in my area, but now that it has (and especially with COVID), I love having that on Watch (touch-less payment) - I can't recall the last time I used my iPhone for Apple Pay.

Unlocking my Mac is a small, delightful benefit. I wouldn't mind being able to unlock my doors with it, too... maybe someday.

I also appreciate the haptics received when using turn-by-turn directions when I'm driving, though it's been a while since I've had to use turn-by-turn at all (restricted travel during COVID, and all that).

In the end... Yes, I could probably be doing more with my Watch than I do. That's just the nature of things. It's become an ingrained part of my lifestyle; it's on my wrist every day from the moment I wake until I sleep. Adding new uses takes thought and some amount of effort, so new uses are added infrequently.
 
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G.McGilli

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2015
475
302
When I look at my Apple Watch on my wrist, I don't see a watch - or a fitness device of any sort.

I see an iPhone Nano (This is actually smaller than my iPod Nano)

I'd happily buy an Apple Watch without HR monitoring, any fitness apps, and ECG, etc etc.

It's my main communication device. Phone calls, Messages, Music and Weather.

The only thing my iPhone does on a daily basis that my AW can not do is take photos. But I do use the AW as a remote shutter often.

Before the AW was released I always wondered what an iPhone would actually be like in the future when it got so small you could just wear it on your wrist, and now I know.
 
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helix21

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 25, 2009
253
36
When I look at my Apple Watch on my wrist, I don't see a watch - or a fitness device of any sort.

I see an iPhone Nano (This is actually smaller than my iPod Nano)

I'd happily buy an Apple Watch without HR monitoring, any fitness apps, and ECG, etc etc.

It's my main communication device. Phone calls, Messages, Music and Weather.

The only thing my iPhone does on a daily basis that my AW can not do is take photos. But I do use the AW as a remote shutter often.

Before the AW was released I always wondered what an iPhone would actually be like in the future when it got so small you could just wear it on your wrist, and now I know.

There are so many good response on here, but I love this one! I completely agree. I have notifications turned off on my Watch, which seems to baffle many people. I don’t use it as an adjunct to my iPhone, I use it very much like a wrist computer.

I’ll reply to the other more detailed ones tomorrow. It’s pretty late here right now!
 
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spooklog

macrumors regular
Aug 10, 2015
205
179
New Hampshire
I have to give a shout-out to the Watch's heart sensor technology. With the Apple Watch I was able to document episodes of atrial fibrillation, and I'm now having it investigated by a cardiologist.

I originally bought the watch to check out Apple's latest thing, but it's grown into something much more. It's also an excellent value considering everything it can do.
 
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firedept

macrumors 603
Jul 8, 2011
5,879
744
Somewhere!
I think it's a great device that people are not brave enough to fully explore. I use mine for almost everything. Fitness, walkie & messaging, time, notifications, setting appointments, dictation and damn near everything. Especially at work. I don't have time to pick up my phone to deal with things when I can do most of it from my watch. I love my watch and feel naked without it.
 
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nickdalzell1

macrumors 65816
Dec 8, 2019
1,141
532
I always dreamed of a smartwatch ever since I read classic Dick Tracy comics or watched any episode of Inspector Gadget, or Knight Rider.

My Series 5 has pretty much replaced my iPhone for most tasks, such as messaging, phone and music; it's compact, great on battery life, and out of the way.

But what more can it do without succumbing to the ire of Samsung Syndrome, where folks claimed the Samsung Gear S tried to do too much?

iu-2.jpeg


The Gear S was derided and hated on by pretty much everyone, for being a literal 'smartphone on your wrist'. It was quite capable for its time, but any Gear watch after has done half of what it does. Apple seems to agree, a smartwatch is not a replacement for a smartphone, but an accessory to one.
 
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flobach

macrumors member
Jun 23, 2008
51
58
Germany
Great post, completely agree with what you write! Have been using my S4 cellular for a lot of things my phone used to do. Battery life still struggles (often leave my phone at home, which drains power, and wearing it at night for sleep tracking). Apart from that, it’s my favourite computing device. I see a grand future.
 
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matrix07

macrumors 603
Jun 24, 2010
5,833
2,525
I use the watch for fitness tracking, heart rate, and calendar event reminder notification. To be honest I’ve never used it for reminders. I’ve always just typed in reminders in my phone. But since most of my tasks are work related they reside in outlook and don’t sync to my watch.

That‘s too bad. I’m using Reminders and Timers all day long. Very convenient to not have to go grab an iPhone to dictate a task.
also love using Apple Watch to check in places using Swarm.

The OP almost sold me on Thing 3. If I’m a big to-do person I would have bought it from his post ha ha.
 
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