By Adam Drake
Apple’s next great device has been ushered into the world. The Apple Watch, officially released last week, is Cupertino’s answer to fitness bands, basic communication devices, and — to a lesser degree — time telling. It has the tech world abuzz with its potential. And as with most of the output from Apple, we are intrigued.
While I’m sure it tells time wonderfully, for The Sweat Life’s intents and purposes, we’re looking at it strictly from a health and wellness standpoint:
1. More Features with Less Stuff to Carry
I am a stats addict when it comes to running. I like to see my route, my pace, how elevation changes my endurance, and anything else my monitoring devices can throw at me. But what I don’t like when I run is stuff. At one point, I had my heart rate monitor on one wrist, the strap tied around my chest, my Jawbone Up on my other wrist, my house keys in my pocket, and my iPod in a case around my arm. This wasn’t running – this was being a Sherpa. The Apple Watch has taken most of these things and compressed them into one small device. Though, I will say, the form factor still seems a bit too big to not be a nuisance when running. Weighing between 70-80 grams, the Apple Watch is heavy, especially when compared to the 20 grams of my Jawbone. But again, it does more.
2. Detailed Health Stats
What I do like about the Apple Watch is what it does. As with most Apple products, we can assume it will do these things impressively well. (Full Disclosure: We haven’t taken the Apple Watch for a spin as of this writing; all information is gathered through our research.) Having an all-in-one activity and heart rate monitor is fantastic. And since it gathers this information without requiring chips in your shoes or straps around your chest, your freedom of movement is increased. Further, when used with Apple’s HealthKit, you’re given an impressively detailed profile of your daily fitness routine.
3. Easy Access
Another quality I like about the Apple Watch is the readability of the device. With my iPhone strapped to my upper arm, it was hard to tell who was calling me, or sending me texts or emails. I’d have to unhook it, stop running, and figure out if I was going to respond. The Apple Watch prominently displays this information for you conveniently on your wrist, and without needing to stop your exercise midstride. The one caveat is you’ll still need an iPhone in close proximity to receive these messages.
4. Command Center
Outside of the Apple Watch’s fitness capabilities, it has a myriad of other functions. Users are able to control most of the items on their iPhone with simple twists and presses of the control wheel on the watch. See which song is playing, who is calling, or what the weather is like in your hometown. You’re also able to share your heartbeat with other Apple Watch users — a distinctively romantic gesture should you and your loved one be apart.
Having not yet tried the Apple Watch, we can’t fully recommend it, but it seems quite promising. While the form factor leaves a lot to be desired, and we’re not sure the cost and weight justify the purchase — the features may outweigh both of those issues. And knowing Apple, perhaps these issues will be sorted out during the next generation of the Apple Watch. Still, this is proof that fitness tech has reached the mainstream, and with companies pouring an overwhelming amount of research and development into the creation of these devices, we can’t wait to see how they improve our workouts.
Adam Drake is Creative Director for the Sweat Life, a former four-year varsity rower for the University of Miami, and currently rows for the Maritime Rowing Club. He is the co-founder of Kayak for a Cause, a charity event based in Connecticut. As a writer, Adam has developed television shows for Comedy Central, Bad Boy Worldwide, and Sky, written ad campaigns for clients such as Bacardi, Starbucks, Dove Men+Care, and HBO, and was a contributor to the pop culture site YesButNoButYes. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, boating, and working on his tremendous collection of unfinished novels.