To upgrade from Pebble, or not?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by JoshuaA, May 8, 2015.

  1. JoshuaA macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2010
    Currently a Pebble user (got for Christmas from my wife and daughter). I originally delayed the purchase on the notion of "meh, my Pebble does 95% of what I'd use an AW for", but after reading initial user impressions from former Pebble users on this forum -- and seeing almost every one of them say that AW is significantly better -- I said why not, and thumbed away the Apple Pay button for the 38mm SG BSB. Here I am a week later, seriously considering if the $350 is worth it for the +5% of the feature-set I'm getting here.

    I haven't seen a comprehensive list of added benefits compared to the Pebble or anything, so I was wondering other AW owners' honest opinions now that AW has been out a long enough time to form them.

    Style/appearances: I think most people seem to value this as a big upgrade over the Pebble. I'm somewhat partial to the Pebble, and personally don't think either one looks significantly better.

    Watch Face: Until AW gets customizable ones, I really don't like the lack of seconds on the digital faces. I think there's a thread on this subject where the OP gets bashed about it, but I side with him. 59 seconds or 3 seconds is a big enough deal when I need to be getting my daughter to her school bus stop.
    My Pebble face (Timely 2.5) shows a 3 week calendar. When someone says "the 14th", all I need to do is look down, and I instantly know it's next Thursday, without pushing/touching anything. Not yet with the AW, but maybe in the future?

    Notifications: AW is more customizable. Well, I'm an info junkie (more is better), and the amount of notifications I get with the Pebble doesn't bother me. Every 2-3 weeks, I need to toggle the Bluetooth if it loses sync, but not a big deal as I notice it instantly if my watch doesn't go off 1-2 sec after my iPhone.

    Messages/Mail/Phone: I'm a work-at-home programmer for a company formed with some online friends a couple decades ago. I married my first and only girlfriend from high school (been 17 years) and moved several times since. Hence, I have zero real-life friends (highly introverted), and live hundreds of miles from my nearest family (and they don't write/call much). Suffice to say, I rarely write any messages, and the highlight of my inbox is usually what shipped from Amazon. All work messages/calls are Skype-based (to another account, even), so not much benefit to AW phone calls.

    Sports: I already get up almost hourly while working (short attention span). I'm pretty fit, and I already exercise daily out of medical necessity. I don't really need anything telling me how much I exercise -- my blood pressure is a telling indicator enough.

    Apps: My iP6+ is always in my pocket unless I'm sleeping. Without native apps, is there really a point?

    ApplePay: See above. I've only used Apple Pay once at Walgreens for the hell of it. My grocery stores don't take it. I don't eat out (wife is gluten+MSG sensitive). I do all my other shopping on Amazon.

    Siri: This is the only feature I care about. I thought it would be really neat if I could set a timer while I'm cooking, especially when my hands are wet/dirty. But I could just as easily wash my hands (if necessary), hit 2 buttons on the Pebble to start a timer, or dry them, reach down and hold down the home button to start Siri in my pocket. Or, as my wife would put it... "there is something called the kitchen timer... :p "

    Battery: I already plug in my iP6+ nightly. I take off my Pebble and set it next to the charging cable. Whether or not I plug it in depends on how much battery I have left. If I have to charge it daily, it would save me the effort of checking its battery life! I can see how it might be irritating if I travelled a lot and had to take an extra charger. But I've travelled overnight like once in the past 3 years, so that's really not a priority.

    TL;DR: Can you help me think of anything that would justify the $350 for a Pebble user? Because I can't think of any, and I can just picture my wife's exasperated look as I tell her... "Honey, I'm replacing your Xmas present with this watch that cost 3.5x as much, but doesn't do anything substantially new or useful other than have Siri show me pictures of Corgi puppies." Or is there none, and I should just cancel my order?
  2. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    I have an original Kickstarter Pebble. Shortly after my wife bought me a present for my 40th, a Citizen Eco-Drive with a link band. I also looked at some Monads and other options but liked the styling of the Citizen. I never wear my Pebble. It isn't a steel or anything but I didn't care for the plastic casing. It just looked cheap overall. And I like nice looking things. I also like how a metal band and watch has nice weight as I wear them a little loose like a bracelet, but not overly. I liked notifications, email, etc. on the Pebble but didn't love the screen.

    I do love the Pebble face with the words where the words slide in from the right as the minutes change, and slide out the left. (right watch in this pic).


    And I wish the Apple Watch had a face like that but I imagine additional faces will come. I almost hope that they will come only from Apple for better control and because I fear that with and open "face store" that it will become an unnavigable wasteland of mostly crap. The downside is that Apple will offer much fewer alternatives if they are the only source.

    So I never wear my Pebble. I do like the 5 days or so battery life and that I can set alarms to vibrate to wake me up. That way I don't wake up the house with my loud alarms. Of course my wife complains that she can hear the vibration on my wrist, but then I think she can also hear snails moving outside.

    I do disagree with the 95/5% split. I think the Pebble is severely under featured in comparison to the Apple Watch.

    Disclaimer: I am waiting out the storm and have not purchased an Apple Watch. I'd like to see the reviews more, how the casing holds up and what people's use is still after the novelty wears down a bit. That and with an upcoming birthday, I'm secretly hoping that I get one without having to buy it myself. The complaint is no one ever knows what to get me. So here is an opportunity.

    I will also say I am disappointed that Apple didn't make it symmetrical with the crown centered and the button opposite, especially for lefties like me who will wear it flipped around but mostly for the fact that it would have looked more natural. Huge mistake that I'd love to see corrected in AW2. Concept here.
  3. Armen macrumors 604


    Apr 30, 2013
    The Pebble is for you if:

    - You just want to view and dismiss notifications
    - You are not bothered by sub par watch faces that contain jagged lines or information like weather/stocks that are not updated properly all the time.

    For everything else the Apple watch is the way to go.
  4. JoshuaA thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2010
    I apologize if thing were oddly worded. I merely meant to say that for my purposes, I'd only benefit from the ~5% of new features that the AW provides, since I'm such a shut-in hermit. Not that the Pebble provides 95% of what the AW does, which I agree is completely false.

    I just wanted insight as to what the AW might provide that I'm not aware of, because I obviously don't have the device (yet) and can't tell.
  5. Armen macrumors 604


    Apr 30, 2013
    Have you watched the videos on Apple's site? Every feature is listed there.
  6. JoshuaA thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2010
    Ok, you got me there. I walked out in a coat the other afternoon, because my Pebble said 41F, and it was freaking 70F outside. Apparently, it didn't update since sometime in the early morning. I was sweating like crazy. Point taken.

    As an aside, didn't I see a thread about someone's AW not updating its weather data? Maybe the problem exists on both platforms? I'd expect Apple of all companies to fix such a problem, though... But then again, I've seen my iPhone not update weather properly in iOS8, too... Hmm...


    Yes, I've most certainly (gleefully) watched through them all. I think the marketing did well to convince me to push the button. But analyzing the contents, the conclusion I'm coming to is still that it's not really providing me with much benefits.

    Hence why I'm asking: Is there some benefit that isn't really advertised, but helps make the AW a much better device than the Pebble (that isn't part of a claim I made in my OP)?
  7. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    Do you have an Apple TV or have the desire to control iTunes from the Remote App. I have a Yamaha receiver that I don't keep the remote out as it is just another remote. I use the app on my phone to control the source and if the tv remote is not at hand, volume at mute. With an app from them I could do this as well. There are a lot of useful features on the watch that you really may not realize, especially at this point of development. That said, as I mentioned, I have not even ordered one myself. But I am excited at the prospect. You should also remember that watch apps are in their infancy and will only continue to grow. On the downside I have read they are slow and you have to wait a lot for them.

    Armen - please try to avoid quoting an entire post (OP or otherwise) if you are not referencing multiple points within it. There is really no point in repeating it onscreen.
  8. StophMac24 macrumors 6502


    Jul 14, 2007
    I upgraded from a pebble to the AW. At times the pebble was annoying because all it did was alert me. With the AW, the ability to interact with your notifications alone is enough to switch.

    The look is something you can pull off in a suit or in a t shirt.

    It's been two weeks and I have worn it everyday. Haven't even bothered with my other watches or my pebble.
  9. JoshuaA thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2010
    I have a current-gen Apple TV, although it's mostly been left unplugged. It's been replaced by my old Mac Mini, since it plays everything including all of our DVD/BluRay collection, and can stream from other sites other than YouTube or Apple-sanctioned ones.

    The remote concept is indeed quite interesting, although the idea of controlling something through a tiny 38mm device sounds painful, honestly. Phones are large enough to have all the controls readily accessible, but I'm not sure I could say the same about the AW screen/crown. Of course, as you said, I don't have the device either, so this is all speculation. Maybe I should be waiting until there's better app availability?
  10. Armen macrumors 604


    Apr 30, 2013
    Those of us who had a Pebble upgraded to the AW because we knew why we were upgrading. If you can't find enough reason than maybe you should stick to your Pebble :)
  11. JoshuaA thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2010
    I wish I could say the same, but I'm not sure what kind of interactions I'll be having with "Your order", "Your credit card statement is available online", etc. which make up the majority of my notifications.

    And when they're humans, it's usually "Help, my computer/email/website/house is broken" from family/"friends", or work-related... both cases where I'm not going to be using speakerphone or dictation, and will survive not getting an immediate canned response during the time it takes for me to get to a computer that's required to complete the task.

    I suppose this says more about my sorry excuse of a social life than anything, but that's what my question is.


    That is essentially the conclusion I'm coming to. I just wanted some affirmation in case I'm really missing something big. Which you guys are helping me realize that there probably isn't.

    So thanks for your input, it's been a useful brainstorm :)
  12. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    What I'd really love to see is Siri2. Voice commands. Now I can launch an app, get info on my phone or other tidbits with Siri. I'd like to be able to define macro actions though. For example, on repetitive tasks such as setting my home security system or disarming it. I have to launch the app, wait for it to load, hit the arm away or disarm button. What if Apple had a Siri custom actions portion of the settings where I could record a specific voice command and then have the phone record my on screen taps. Then I could invoke Siri and say Set Home Security or Disarm Home Security. There are several other repetitive functions I'd love to program and then use Siri on my phone or watch to process. That would be a game changer for me and make Siri way more useful.
  13. JoshuaA thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2010
    Macros in that context would be useful, indeed!

    Although from a programmer perspective, that could wreak all sorts of havoc, as determining the state of 3rd party software is often a pain. How does Siri know when the home security app loaded and finished communicating with its base station, before sending the simulated tap on the screen? There's probably no callback that lets Siri know the 3rd party software's internal state (sandbox). For example, what if it usually takes 1 second to load the status screen, but bad cell reception makes it take 5 seconds instead? Potentially, the tap that was meant to click the disarm button instead clicks the panic button on the screen before it, because the next screen never got to load. That would be disaster, indeed.

    What would be more efficient and practical is if all apps were allowed to have a manifest and API that said defined stuff like...
    Phrase: "disarm [my|the] system" -> MySecurityApp.DisarmAll()
    Phrase: "disarm [a|the|my] sensor [called|named|for] $sensor_name" -> MySecurityApp.DisarmSensor($sensor_name)
    Phrase: "what sensor is tripped" -> MySecurityApp.QueryTrippedSensor()

    So then Siri would have phrases for each feature the app can respond to, that directly ties in with the internals of the app. Although you'd be restricted to the mercy of whatever the developers are willing to code into their app, I think it would provide a much more robust experience that wouldn't break so easily.
  14. yuyueyuyue macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2015
    Alaso a Pebble and Pebble Steel owner.

    Apple Watch as always, being an Apple product, the attention to detail is superb. What I mean is the fine tuning of the Taptic engine, Pebble's vibration used to be fine but not until you tried Apple's Taptic engine. it's light and crisp, feels really like someone is tapping on your wrist. All of a sudden, Pebble's vibration becomes so annoying.

    and don't forgot the gorgeous display...
  15. StophMac24, May 8, 2015
    Last edited: May 8, 2015

    StophMac24 macrumors 6502


    Jul 14, 2007
    Lol. Well if nothing else, it without doubt looks a LOT better than the pebble does. I have had very few people who have even noticed it on my wrist because they just assumed it was a regular watch, until I use it and they see me touch the screen.

    Keep your order and try it for a week, if you hate, return it. You get 14 days. Just don't break it.

    The battery life on my watch has been superb. I usually end the day with heavy use and still have ~45% left. On and in use from 6:30AM until 10:30/11 PM. Use includes texts, phone calls, workout (20-30mins), weather, music control, reminder setting, calendar checking, etc.

    The vibrate for notifications is leaps and bounds better than pebble. No one except you will know you got anything. And if you don't look, it won't light up. In the car, taking a phone call is awesome.

    I walk from time to time to restaurants where I work and now having directions on my wrist is convinient.

    I can see picture messages in every color under the sun, I can watch video messages with sound on my wrist.

    It really is worth it.

    The display is second to none. I have a SS model and the SS looks awesome. I have seen the SG one in person and liked the look of it. Pair it with a black leather loop and its really sharp looking.

    My Pebble has been reduced to being an alarm clock for me and that is only because we have a baby who is still sleeping in our room and the only alarm I can use to not wake her in the morning is the Pebble, else I would use my Watch's alarm.
  16. NotSafeForWork macrumors regular


    Apr 9, 2015
    We can list the functions we use/don't use but ultimately it's a piece of jewelry (for me) and therefore I can't understate the beauty of the item being a top priority.

    I was a first in line for Pebble Time, then Pebble Time Steel and ultimately took a look at the Apple Watch and decided it is light years ahead in the beauty department (not just physical - but fonts, colors, animations - just soooo slick) that I cancelled my spot in line for Pebble Time Steel and bought AW. Not a single regret.
  17. BrettDS macrumors 65816

    Nov 14, 2012
    Ultimately this is your decision to make, but as someone who used a pebble for nearly 2 years and got the apple watch on launch day and hasn't looked back once I can tell you what I think.

    Apple watch pros -
    Screen. The low resolution black and white screen on the pebble really bothered me. I'm kind of a technology junkie and the low resolution screen just seemed really out dated

    The ability to reply from the watch - (at least for messages). It's great to be able to see my notifications on my watch and even better to be able to send a quick reply without pulling out my phone. I'll be overjoyed if and when apple allows you to reply to email messages as well.

    The taptic vibration - I get a lot of notifications during the day and even though I keep my phone (and now my watch on silent) if I was in a quiet room everyone could hear my phone buzz, then my watch buzz and that annoyed me. With the apple watch I've been keeping both the sound and vibration off on the phone and relying just on the taptic vibration on the watch (which is totally silent).

    The apps - The pebble has a ton of apps, but I've honestly never really found any of them terribly useful. The only app I regularly used on the pebble was the pandora app and the apple watch version of the pandora app is much better because it doesn't require you to start pandora on the phone first. I can sit down in my car, pull up the pandora app on my watch and start playing music through the bluetooth connection in my car without ever touching my phone. Additionally, a lot of other apple watch apps seem much more useful than anything I'd ever found for the pebble.

    Apple watch cons -

    the lack of an always on screen - I do miss the ability to quickly glance at the watch and see the time. The wrist raise feature works reasonably well, buy definitely not 100% of the time.

    nightly charging - I'm used to wearing a watch 24/7 and taking it off to charge every night is a bit of a pain for me

    I have to touch the watch a lot more - when notifications come in on the pebble they appear on the watch for at least a minute... maybe even two or three minutes. So if I'm in the middle of something or in a conversation with someone I'll remember that I had a notification and look at my watch when I can. With the pebble, the notification would almost always still be on the screen. With the apple watch, if you get a vibration for a notification and raise the watch right away, then the notification will pop up and you can read it. But if you wait more than 15 or 20 seconds, then raise the watch you just get the time and you need to touch the watch with your other hand to scroll down and see the notification. Additionally, I haven't done any direct comparisons, but I believe that the pebble shows more text of each notification on the screen as well. The apple watch has a prettier UI, but at the expense of text space and I'm more likely to have to touch the watch to scroll down to see more of my notification than I am with the pebble.

    lack of waterproofness - like I said, I'm used to wearing my watch 24/7... showering or swimming or whatever. I still wear my apple watch in the shower, but I'll need to take it off to swim. Luckily I don't swim too frequently, but I do wish that I could just leave it on.

    For me the pros definitely outweigh the cons, but the pebble is a great watch and I don't think anyone would think less of you if you decided to keep it.
  18. Tom G. macrumors 68020

    Tom G.

    Jun 16, 2009
    Champaign/Urbana Illinois
    I also am a Kickstarter Pebble owner, and a very early one at that. ( I was in the first million dollar group). As far as I remember I was so early, that the Pebble was offered only for Apple phones. It didn't branch out to Android until later in the Kickstarter window, after the initial goal was met and people were still piling on with many asking if there was going to be an Android model.

    All that being said, I got the Pebble to be a stopgap watch until Apple came out with their watch, which of course was only a faint rumor at that time, but I knew it was going to happen.

    Because I have my Pebble I was able to sit back and watch the whole :apple: watch scenario unfold, and not get crazy. I ordered my watch yesterday, and have a July shipping date. Again my Pebble will not only do me well until my :apple: Watch gets here, but I waited for a year and 9 days from the time I became a backer until I received my Pebble, so a two and a half month or so wait is nothing at all. If you remember the Pebble Kickstarter program, you will recall that it started in April, and the watches were supposed to be shipped the following Sept. However, they didn't start shipping until late February or early March of the next year, and because of a mess up in colors (I was supposed to get a grey one -- ever see one? No you haven't!) I didn't get mine until April.

    How I plan to continue to utilize my Pebble with my :apple: Watch.

    º At night while my :apple: Watch is charging I'll be wearing my Pebble.

    º When I do anything that I think might damage my :apple: Watch I'll wear my Pebble instead. Think swimming etc.

    º When going places where I won't be able to charge my :apple: Watch I'll use my Pebble. Think camping over a weekend etc.

    So I actually have no real plans to stop using my Pebble but rather to use it as a substitute or backup for my :apple: Watch.

    Plus of course it takes the sting out of the wait until July. One difference between waiting for the :apple: Watch and waiting for the Pebble is that I am quite sure that Apple will ship my watch in July or before, I will not have to wait until next July for it. :D
  19. GrumpyMom macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2014
    If I were you, I'd enjoy your wonderful Christmas present for at least a few more months. Watch all the videos. Read everything about the Apple Watch that grabs your attention.

    Read about the competition. Look at the competition in stores. See what features are going into other Smart Watches and think about whether or not you feel Apple is competitive.

    Wait until the Apple Watches are actually in stores or are at least free from shipping constraints. When they are, go in for a try on. This is a purchase desision ideally made in person.

    My husband bought the Pebble Steel to enjoy until his Apple Watch arrived. He hasn't put the Pebble Steel back on since he got his Apple Watch, but he respects the Pebble's capabilities and he is keeping it as a smart watch to wear around the pool and at the beach. He doesn't feel he's wasted his money and he still likes to tinker with it. I like it a lot myself. I'd love to wear it to the beach myself, but it's too big for me. I totally agree with you about the great calendar display. I have an envy!

    The thing is, you sound pretty content with what you have. You don't seem impulsive or flighty or the kind of person who has to have something because it's new and for the sake of having it. And that's great. Your Pebble is a really nice Smart watch.

    Hang onto it and let the Apple Watch develop a bit more. Don't waste money and time and resources "upgrading" when you don't have a personal driving need to and when the Apple Watch is still too wet behind the ears to compel you to leave what works so well for you. It would be wasteful.

    That's my take on it anyway.
  20. greytmom macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2010
    You'll have 14 days to play with it once you do get it, and that's only if you don't want to miss the return window. Selling it gives you even more time to decide if the Watch is for you.
  21. jwilson25 macrumors regular


    Aug 25, 2009
    I upgraded from a Pebble to a Watch Sport and I have been very happy. The size of the 38mm watch fits me much better than the Pebble, it always looked big on me. The screen and touch features are nicer and allow for more actions without needing my phone than the Pebble did (AKA a quick OK reply). Also my Pebble seemed to occasionally drop connection for no reason and I would have to reboot things to get it back and get notifications working again. I often wondered if it was caused by my crazy setup of having the Pebble, Jeep factory Bluetooth, and Kevo door lock. The Watch has been spot on so far, withno dropped connections. All in all I'm extremely pleased with my upgrade and have no plans to go back.
  22. skwash macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2012
    I received a Pebble as a gift a little over a year ago.

    It definitely showed me how convenient a smart watch could be, however it never really felt complete. The buzzing notifications were obnoxiously loud, and it buzzes for EVERYTHING. I wore it for a few months then shelved it. Having faith that when Apple got around to the watch it would be done right.

    The Pebble felt like it was 70% of the way there to me. My :apple: Watch has been great, the things that annoyed me most about the Pebble have been fixed, plus all the other features non-existent in the Pebble.

    I'm not convinced the :apple: Watch is 100% yet, but it's very close, and WWDC in June will likely bring us even closer.

    So far, I've been very impressed.
  23. supertomtom macrumors 6502


    Sep 21, 2007
    Gold Coast, Australia
    I also had a kickstarter Pebble and like some other people here, it Had always been a stop gap device for me until the Apple Watch came out.

    I think as someone who finds smartwatches useful, you owe it to yourself to give it at least a try, I think that's the only way you'll know for sure. 14 days, if not return it. Got nothing to lose. :)
  24. JoshuaA thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2010
    Thank you all for all the constructive feedback. I really appreciate it, and it let me think about some of the aspects that I had initially missed.

    As much as I love being the early adopter and a big Apple fan, the Pebble still fits my usage requirements very well. I really can't justify $350 for glamor and fringe usage scenarios (for my daily use, at least). Some cool features that would be neat, but I really don't need them for now. I was trying to rationalize that it's not much money -- I do make a 6-figure income, but I still try to live frugally for early retirement -- so the price tag still didn't sit right with me. And I think it'd make my wife and daughter happier if I got more mileage out of their present, instead of ditching it less than 6 months into ownership.

    I considered the possibility of just trying it out for 14 days, but that just seems like abuse of resources to me, and rubs my sense of ethics the wrong way a bit. Well, I'm now more aware of what it can/can't do thanks to everyone's input, so I think I'll just wait it out for the next generation, or if the Pebble ever dies. Thanks again, everyone.
  25. gmann21133 macrumors member


    Apr 15, 2015
    I noticed that you understood programming, and the way you explained how a program could work or should work. I almost think you owe it to yourself to get one, and program the rest of us some really nice paid watch apps. I am willing to bet that you are a very capable developer.

    Just my 1.5¢

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