Well I’ve had my Apple Watch for about six weeks now and I am fairly familiar with it. My main aims with the watch were:
1) to get out and about with it by using a suitable map app and using it for navigation with the haptics to guide me left or right and
2) to help me monitor my physical activity levels.
Suffice to say I have done more of the latter. I have been learning to use the watch blind (if you pardon the pun) without looking at any instructions on the Internet. I chose to do it this way because I wanted to see how accessible it was to a blind user.
I pretty much use the ‘workout app’ which is native to the watch to monitor my physical activity levels. So far I have tried a couple of other apps but some of them are not fully compatible with voice-over and others want to share too much information with everyone else (you may be able to turn this feature off but I suspect you would have to use your iPhone). I find that this is a great little app, and you select which workout you want whether it be outdoor or indoor walk, indoor or outdoor cycle, elliptical or even other. For me as an athlete this is great especially since I can use voice-over. I choose the activity I want then scroll through the pages and press ‘start’ and away I go. The three main activities that I am using it for at the moment are elliptical, indoor cycle and outdoor cycling.
The latter being on a tandem which I am very grateful to have been loaned from a charity called ‘Charlotte’s Tandems’. Without this I would not be able to experience outdoor cycling as I am far too dangerous on a mountain bike by myself.
The benefit of the applewatch talking is that whilst I am doing an activity (so long as I am in a quiet environment) I just touch the screen, find the page I want, and I can get the information about how well I am doing, e.g. this could be how many calories I have burned, my heart rate or the distance I have gone.
I also use the ‘activity app’. Some of the benefits of the activity app are that you can change your ‘daily move goal’, which is how many calories you want to burn in one day. You can also set it to tell you to move every hour. Another brilliant little feature of the activity app is that it will tell you how much activity you achieved in the previous week. I find this a great little feature as I can monitor how much exercise I have done and make sure that I increase it for the coming week.
The other sport that takes up a lot of my time is climbing, so far I have been unable to find an app that is specific to climbing, e.g. in that it measures the height that you have climbed up and down the wall, and how long you spend on each route.
The other thing that I would be worried about is banging the watch on the wall and holds indoors, or on the rock face, if I used it outside. I know the watch has strong glass but i’m not sure it would survive a direct hit, but I guess I could wear a large wristband with something sturdier covering the face to protect it.
I have also had a little play around with the clock faces on the watch. I am currently using the modular face, which I find is perfect for what I need, to give me the option to put specific information on the clock face so as I turn my wrist the information is there (saving me having to go into the apps or using glances).
As I mentioned in a previous blog the watch uses a simplified version of what you would find on the iPhone. Having now used it for a few more weeks I find that it is very useful. I think also that other members of my family like it because I do not constantly have voiceover on my phone announcing that I have a new Twitter or Facebook message. I also use several other apps on the watch, and found that some work better than others with voiceover. As time goes on I will explore more apps and use the ones that work best for me.
But, all in all, I am very happy with the Apple Watch. In the past all I had was a talking watch which obviously told me the time and had a stopwatch but that was it. If you had told me a few years ago that I would be able to use a watch the same as a sighted person I would not have believed you especially one that has all the features that the Apple Watch has.