Small delights in Apple Watch

my-watch-2In week 3 with Apple Watch, I continue to explore the device’s capabilities—indeed, it’s raison d’être.

For me, the aggregation of small delights that I’m discovering has increased my appreciation for the new device.

Amidst the continuing flow of reviews—many positive, some of the “I’m returning my Apple Watch” variety—here are just a few of the benefits I’ve started to use and enjoy:

  • Apple Pay
  • Activity
  • Remote Control

Apple Pay

Yup, you’ve no doubt read, ad naseum, about the ability to use Apple Pay to pay for things, and each week we hear about additional banks and stores supporting the capability.Apple-Pay-On-Watch

I’ve used Apple Pay a few times on my iPhone 6, although, right now, it only seems to be accepted at a few places that I shop. If I were being honest, I’d have to say that it isn’t markedly easier than using a credit card. Safer, for sure, but really not noticeably easier.

However, the Apple Watch really ups the Apple Pay ante. It is significantly easier to pay with Apple Watch, and actually kind of fun.

Double-click the side button on the Watch, select the credit card you want to use, hold the Watch up to the contactless terminal. A tap on your wrist and a beep confirm that your payment information has been sent. Done.

Eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later, Apple Pay will be accepted everywhere. Apple Watch users are really going to benefit from using it, and those massive credit card breaches we’ve read about? They’ll be a thing of the past.

If you’d like to view a very short video of the Apple Watch and Apple Pay in action, click here.

Activity

In my first impressions post on Apple Watch a few weeks ago, I pointed to the Activity and Exercise functions of the Watch as capabilities I thought I’d get a lot of benefit from.

activityYou know what they say about good intentions, but I’m always intending to get more exercise, become a little fitter, a little more active.

It’s easy, however, to let hours go by, focusing on work or a home project, and getting very little exercise while doing so.

The Watch provides just enough incentive mixed with regular reminders to get me moving.

And then, beyond that, the app tracks and logs my activity so I know what I’m really doing on a day-to-day basis and over time.

Three weeks in, I’m using these activity features daily, benefitting from the reminders, and moving more. I’m feeling fitter and have even lost a few pounds.

Remote control

After all that activity during the day, there comes a time when I just want to sit and watch TV or listen to music. Imbued as I am in the Apple ecosystem, Watch helps here, as well.

Anyone who has the Apple TV connected to their flatscreen TV can commiserate about those times when the remote is nowhere in site. It’s a tiny remote, as slim as a 50-cent piece and, as such, slips very easily down into the seat cushions or into other cubbyholes.

In just a few easy steps, though, I was able to mitigate this recurring first-world problem. I just connected the Watch’s Remote app to my Apple TV. Problem solved.

Remote-1-2-3

The app provides all the functionality you need to wake up the Apple TV and navigate around its user interface. I can swipe on the watch to move the selection up or down, touch Menu to move up a level, or touch the Play/Pause button to control the current program.

remote-musicWhen I’m out walking and listening to music on my iPhone, I can use the Remote app to control the Music app on the phone, as well.

Simply drag upward to expose Glances, then drag left to find the Music remote. You can pause, play, go to next or previous track, and raise or lower the volume level.

I’ve not tried this yet, but you can also use the Watch as a remote shutter release for taking iPhone pictures. Position the phone’s camera to frame your desired composition, step into the frame if you like, then push the Digital Crown on the watch.

I think other remote control apps and uses are only going to improve, as Apple releases updates and watchOS 2 apps begin to surface.

Stay tuned.

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