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Apple Watch 8 – it’s here!

The blog for Apple Watch newbies…

Apple Watch 8
image courtesy of author

When is a watch not a watch? When it’s an Apple Watch

Apple Watch may be the world’s best-selling watch – but, it’s only just made its way to my wrist…hours ago!

UPS came knocking at my door earlier today, and with them, they had my Apple Watch 8. I have never owned an Apple Watch, until today. It has taken me a full eight years to catch-up. Not good for a tech reviewer, I know, but there you go! Yup, it was 9th September 2014 that Apple Watch first became ‘a thing’!

For the longest while, I didn’t get it. Why would I need another watch? I was lucky enough to have two or three analogue watches. That was my first mistake!

In honesty, the last thing this watch is, oddly, is a watch!

Jumping on board

Far Out was a bad event for me, or at least an expensive one! It seems, that I have bought each of the main products that were revealed a few weeks back.

iPhone 14 became a reality over the weekend, and I have already written a little bit about it. Speaking of iPhone, and more directly, the cameras, man-alive!!!

I bought this camera/phone, very much, as a working bit of kit. It’s intended to shoot all my A-roll & B-roll for my YouTube channel, and after last night, any doubts that I had about its efficacy, were laid to rest. The results in both 4K ProRes and 4K Cinematic have to be seen to be believed. I’m going to start editing later today…but that is for another day.

AirPods Pro 2 arrive on Friday, and you’ll get my first thoughts of them here, as I get to wear them for the first time.

But, today is Apple Watch 8 day. Clearly, this is very much my first impressions a few hours in to owning one. If you’ve not yet bought one, here is what you can expect, out of the box.

What do you get?

It seems, part of the beauty of Apple Watch is its simplicity. I ordered the GPS model, with a 45mm face, in silver aluminium, along with a midnight loop. I was tempted, very tempted by the cellular model – but that upgrade can wait for now.

When it arrives, you get two boxes – one for the loop, and the other, for the Apple Watch itself. With Apple’s intent on looking after the environment, there is no cellophane in sight. Both boxes are sealed with their familiar green tabs.

When ordering your Apple Watch, you first have to download a simple PDF that you print out, and cut to size. This will measure your wrist, and tell you what size loop you need to order. One tip here – if you are buying it as a present, think ahead…you’ll need to get a good idea of the person’s wrist for whom the watch is for. Yup, you’re right, that has caught me out before. This is actually my third time of buying an Apple Watch, the other two being presents. I know, I really am that lovely! Worryingly, my loop was a size 12…the biggest they make! Should that concern me?

Inside the loop box, you get a few instructions about attaching the loop, but trust me, you won’t need it. It is super simple. To remove a loop, you’ll need to hold down a small button on the reverse of the Apple Watch. More loops to come I fancy…

In the Apple Watch box, itself, again minimalism rules. Flicking open a couple of tabs on the back of the outer wrap, reveals the elegant, white box, which has an embossed watch face on it. Your watch face is wrapped in what feels like a white, recycled board. Apart from the ever-present how-to’s, the only other item in the box is the USB-C charging puck.

Caught me out – again!

This took me back to the summer, when daughter was opening hers up. Unlike the iPhone, there is no charge on the Apple Watch out of the box. We thought, back then, it may be there was no charge on hers, as it been on the shelf for a while.

But mine is brand new, so clearly, there is a reason that Apple Watch ships without any charge. But as this blog is for Apple Watch virgins, like myself, just be aware, no amount of prodding, poking or twisting the crown will have any use at all. That said, charged with the supplied cable, via my Apple Studio Display, it was a very rapid charge. It seemed that in under 10 minutes, there was enough charge to start pairing it, and after only 30 minutes or so, it was fully charged.

Set-up time

Set-up is about as easy as it gets. Move your phone close by, and you simply scan an image on the watch face, and watchOS 9 does the rest. Having only set up my iPhone 14 Pro days earlier, Apple Watch is even easier. It caught me out, asking for my height & weight (in cm & kg), but obviously, the watch needs that info to make its health data as accurate as possible.

Other than not knowing the password for one email account, watchOS 9 took care of the rest of the set-up procedure with virtually no help from me. It was quick, with just a few permissions etc required along the way.

One technical problem

A few hours in, and Apple Watch is on my wrist. One feature I had wanted to use, was the ability to unlock my MacBooks using my new toy. For some reason though, at the moment, it doesn’t want to play ball. Maybe a re-boot will sort it out.

I’m dying to get to play with my Apple Watch, but this week is stacked with content that I need to get out. I’m writing this blog later than normal today, as I wanted the watch to arrive. As soon as this is proofed and posted, then it will be making the thumbnail for this week’s video. Then, I’ll edit the A-roll I shot last night, and put together the timeline for the video (which this week is all about the cameras on – you guessed it – iPhone 14).

A few things are confusing me about the Apple Watch, purely as I have not had enough time to sit, and calmly fiddle with it. Should notifications be popping up on screen for iMessage & email? I’d have thought so, yet they don’t seem to be. Same goes with WhatsApp messages…I’m sure I just need a little time to sit and get used to it, that’s all.

Health stuff

It’s quite ironic, that the week my Apple Watch arrives, is set to be one of my most sedentary in ages. I normally love to get out early morning to do some cardio, but for the next few weeks, I have had to park that luxury – you know how it goes…

Part of the set-up was to set fitness & health targets for yourself. How many calories would you like to burn each day, how many steps, standing time etc. that kind of thing. Normally, those goals would be a breeze for me, but over the next few weeks I may struggle. It could be, come mid-October, my Apple Watch suddenly thinks it has a new owner, as my steps, go through the roof.

Clearly, the main benefit, as I understand it, of wearing the watch, is health related. I know it’s capable of monitoring my blood oxygen levels, and giving me an ECG reading and, if required, warnings.

I’ll wear it to bed later as well, and find out what all this sleep tracking malarky is about. I also want to take advantage of the three free months of Apple Fitness + that you get with the watch. Well, it’s there to use right, and in a few weeks time, I’ll need all the help I can get!

Wrapping up

I totally get what Apple Watch is all about now. Since lockdown, I have tried to look after myself a bit better, and make sure to get some kind of regular exercise as well.

Ok, so it’s come at the wrong time, as I will be married to my desk & Mac for the next few weeks, but long term, I’m really looking forward to the health goals & benefits that the watch can offer.

It already feels natural on my wrist, and way less invasive than other, more formal watches I’ve worn in the past. It’s so light, and the loop is crazy comfortable. I now sit at my desk with two always on displays…no excuse to ever be late again, I guess! I’ve played music from it to my AirPods Pro and checked a few iMessage.

I’ve written this very much for those of you thinking of dipping your toes in to the Apple Watch pool. I just wanted to let you know what you could expect on day one, hour one. You’ll be hearing plenty more about mine and it’s benefits over the next few weeks, that’s for sure.

If you’re’e and experienced Apple Watch veteran, though, I’d love your help. I am all new to this Apple Watch stuff. What should I be checking out first? Any help, gratefully received.

The one thing I will sort out is this unlocking my Mac with it – any ideas?

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