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A year with the Apple Watch: The best and worst points from the eyes of a business executive

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In my original review, I tried to assess whether the Apple Watch was a business tool or a luxury gadget. So a year on, has it become an essential part of my daily life or will it end up as another gadget gathering dust in a drawer?

The best of the Apple Watch

(1) It has made me fitter

A bold claim I know, but by monitoring my day I find myself driven to reach my goals (active calories, stand hours and active minutes). This is most useful on those really busy work days where perhaps I have a few hours on a train and then a day of meetings. Despite getting home feeling mentally tired the watch will inform me that I’ve actually done very little physical exercise.

Now, I’m not saying I immediately dash to the gym, but it at least gives me an awareness that a mentally busy day isn’t necessarily enough. I don’t tend to use the Apple Workout app other than at the gym, but I use Strava for my regular cycling (commuting and pleasure). With the WatchOS 2 update Strava can access heart rate data and properly integrates into the Apple Health service.

(2) Navigation is easier and safer

I often have to visit places I’ve never been to before. Staring at my phone for navigation can be dangerous, but now the watch helpfully tells me when I need to make a navigational change and a quick glance at the screen gives me more information.

(3) It does have a business use

Many people have argued that from a business perspective, it’s little more than a simple calendar/notification device. I disagree. Maybe it is the type of business I work for, or the tools I use, but I find it very useful – not essential – to deliver a more productive business day.

Beyond email and calendar notifications are very useful and I use Slack for messaging and Trello for project management, which both have Apple Watch apps.

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(4) Hard wearing

I have worn it every day since getting it. This means it has survived gardening, decorating, DIY, children, work, winter, mountain biking, etc.

There have been the inevitable knocks and bangs but the surround and face – I went for the sapphire glass model – are still like new. After mountain biking it often gets muddy and wet, and whilst not waterproof it is water resistant so a quick run under the tap and it cleans up well.

(5) Keeps getting better

As with most of its devices, Apple keeps adding features and functionality through OS updates. Having the ability to reply to emails was a much needed update. The Bedside Mode is great and this has now replaced my standard alarm clock/display.

Also, the accessories industry has matured around the Watch – chargers, stands, straps etc. I purchased mine with the sports strap mainly because I wasn’t willing to pay several hundred pounds for the original Apple straps. Last year, I added a third party metal strap for a fraction of the Apple price.

It can’t be all good, so what needs improving? Find out about the ugly side of the Apple Watch on the next page.

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