On Wednesday, my friend Dessa and I went to Montpellier, she for a hospital appointment, me to my garage. That all done with, the fun began.
Dessa and I are both gadget freaks and, to an extent, computing nerds. We apologise about this and try to keep our enthusiasms to ourselves, as others find them pointless if not irritating. On Wednesday we both excelled ourselves: we each bought an Apple watch.
I had thought I was immune from temptation to this particular Apple product, but then last November in a journey from Montpellier in a taxi-ambulance, the driver, Sonya, showed me hers. I was smitten, but very sensibly, put the tempting idea onto a back boiler. That was then.
Now, after over two months in hospital or convalescence, I have succumbed. After all, I said to myself, I have saved the price of an Apple Watch on food and petrol bills during this prolonged hospital stay, and, I said, I deserve it. Dessa went through a similar self-persuasion process. Then the deed was done. Here is mine:
Yes, a watch, and at last I have one which I can see the time at night when not sleeping. My sister, Deborah, has this for a fraction of the price – not so stylish of course…
But it is so much more than a watch. For Dessa (and to some extent me) the winning point was the ability to call for help, should we fall on our own land or elsewhere. A prolonged press on one of the two buttons produces this menu:
I haven’t dare explore further, but apparently the SOS option means that the emergency services plus three people I nominate are notified that I need help, giving my exact location thanks to GPS.
There are a host of other functions which I might claim to be ‘useful’, while there are others which are purely frivolous.
I get notified by a discreet buzz when there are incoming emails, messages, or phone calles and can read or reply on the watch – or wait till later to do so on other devices. I have just discovered that the dictation function is amazingly accurate when sending a message. Obviously I would rarely do this, but it might be useful when out on a walk without my phone. More important, I don’t have to rush around (risking falling) hunting for my phone or scrabbling around in the depths of my bag to get it out in time. It is also handy having the next ‘event’ in my diary displayed (also with a reminder buzz).
I am very partial to the superb translation app called Converse (the FRE button, top left on my watch). I can either talk or write a phrase in English and – after a little delay – it is written and spoken back to me in French. (Yesterday I translated something for a friend into Mandarin Chinese!)
Apple is keen on health apps and I am already recording every time I drink a glass of water, watching my daily target of two litres getting closer (not doing so well today!) . My sleep patterns and heart rate are also constantly monitored, with detailed records sent to my iphone.
More frivolous, I am enjoying playing with functions such as the record button, the remote control to my iphone camera, and the identify the tune app, Shazam. This latter actually frustrates me, as it is weaker at identifying classical music than its competitor Soundhound and is particularly bad at displaying the result on the watch. So I am looking forward to the imminent release of Soundhound for the watch.
Sad, isn’t it, that these activities should give me such pleasure? But there you are, and I would not attempt to defend this purchase on grounds of practical necessity. Other people buy jewelry or pretty clothes; I have my watch.