When Apple announced they were coming out with a smart watch, I’ll admit, I immediately wanted it. Not because I need to have the latest tech gadget, or because I swim in a mountain of cash like Scrooge McDuck, but because I had been thinking for a while by then that I needed a watch. Not the clock on my phone, computer, e-reader, car dashboard, or microwave, which is how I’d been telling time for pretty much the past 10+ years. An actual physical watch that I didn’t have to rummage through my bag to find, or wake up my computer to view. Fact is, with a toddler to run after I missed the ability of just lifting my arm to see a clock, and the time-saving simplicity of that act seemed like a necessary luxury. So, though my husband and I usually favor spending money on experiences than material goods, we decided to gift each other Apple Watches this past holiday season.
At first I thought the watch would be purely for my benefit, but I quickly realized it is actually the perfect accessory for a parent, especially a SAHM. My son immediately picked up on the fact that I was wearing it and we soon found ways for him to join in the fun. Here are the top five reasons why I love my Apple Watch and so does the rest of the family:
1. Kid-friendly Features
It’s no secret that Apple products are designed to be exceedingly user-friendly (even my Luddite father has an iPad) and the Watch is no different. By far the most kid-friendly feature on it is Digital Touch, where you can send real time drawings to other Watch owners using just your fingertips (see demo video here). My son loves changing the line colors and sending his doodles instantaneously to Daddy at work. It’s an easy and relatively unobtrusive way to let him know we’re thinking of him, and Daddy can discretely respond by sending his actual heartbeat even if he’s in the middle of a meeting. Another nice feature is the Timer, which we’ve been using as a tooth-brushing aid. And you can’t discount the magic of tiny fingers being able to play with a responsive touch screen; sometimes I let him tap around on it just to kill time (no pun intended!).
2. Mickey Mouse Watch Face
This may seem like a kid-friendly feature, but as a lover of all things Disney, I’ll be honest – this one’s mostly for me. I just feel a little happier whenever I check the time and am greeted with Mickey’s smiling face, toe-tapping out the seconds. That said, my son breaks into a big smile every time he sees Mickey too, so though I could change the Watch face to a more mature design, I’ll be keeping Mickey around for a while.
3. Activity Monitor
You may be saying to yourself that if I wanted an Activity Monitor that also tells time, I should’ve just gotten a Fitbit. Believe me, I did consider it! However, given that Fitbits cost between $99-$250, they’re not exactly cheap either. My Apple Watch with Sport Band cost $350, which comes with an Activity Monitor that tracks your daily calories burned, steps taken, distance exercised, and even total standing hours in a variety of simple color graphs. There’s also a Workout app that records more detailed metric data. The way I see it, for the extra $100 the Watch costs over the Fitbit, I also get many of the smartphone features of an iPhone, while the Fitbit is…well…just a Fitbit. To be honest, I probably would “forget” to put my Fitbit on every day as it’d be a constant reminder that I’m not exercising as much as I should be. However, I never forget to wear my Apple Watch because thankfully it’s more than just a guilt-trip inducer.
4. Hands-free Phone Calls and Texting
How many times have you been elbow deep in Play-Doh with your child, and then hear the siren call of your phone ringing from the depths of your diaper bag but can’t fish it out before the call goes to voicemail? With the Apple Watch, as long as I’m within range I can make and receive calls/texts from my wrist. The speaker and microphone on it work really well, better than when I put my phone on speaker in fact. Another benefit: the Watch gives you a subtle buzz or ping when a text arrives, which you can discretely check in the middle of a conversation instead of holding your phone to your face and rudely telegraphing to the person you’re actually talking to that they are less important than whatever emoji you’ve just received.
5. Less Distracting Than A Smart Phone
On that note, since I’ve had my Apple Watch, I’ve noticed a definite decrease in the amount of time I spend on my iPhone. As anyone with a smart phone can attest, even if you pick it up to do one simple task, that usually leads to checking your email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Before you know it, you’re staring at the screen like a zombie while your child is begging you to pay attention to them. With the Apple Watch, I can easily answer a text, but don’t get sucked into all the other smart phone features. There isn’t even a Facebook app for the Watch. And that to me is the best benefit of all: more time spent in the real world and less time spent down the digital rabbit hole, save for a few quick glances now and then to check the time and seeing Mickey tap-tap-tapping his way through our busy day.