Yesterday, I ordered a Casio G-Shock watch. I’ve wanted one for a while, but I now finally have a reason to bite the bullet.
I’ve realised that I haven’t worn a ‘normal’ watch since 2015 when I bought the first-generation Apple Watch. Ever since then, I’ve worn Apple’s wrist computer, and for someone who loves watches, that means one of two things: Apple has either completely nailed the watch experience (whatever that is), or I’ve simply been suckered further into their ecosystem.
So, I’ve decided to try a little experiment and ditch my iPhone and Apple Watch for a month.
The lightbulb moment
Last year, I reviewed the brilliant Google Pixel 4a. I used the phone for a week while on holiday and fell in love with it, but revealed that I simply couldn’t switch to Android wholesale because of the Apple Watch.
I now think that was a little short-sighted, because I’ve recently been thinking about how I use my Apple Watch, and it isn’t quite as welded into my daily life as I thought it was.
The Apple Watch is a great device; I’ve been impressed with it since the very start. And, yes, it’s taken a while to find its place in the world, but, arguably, it has done so in the form of the best fitness tracker and notification device on the planet.
Others may disagree – particularly the Garmin crowd – but for me, the Apple Watch is perfect for tracking my runs and notifying me when I receive a message or app notification.
Or is it?
You see, I used to religiously check the health rings on my Apple Watch; I’d push myself to close each one of them every day and curse myself if I ever forgot to start a workout timer. I was so addicted to those red, green, and blue numbers that I’d never, ever switch from the fitness watch face – they were always there, day-in, day-out, whenever I glanced at my wrist.
I don’t do that anymore.
In fact, I’ve reverted to the most basic watch face which simply shows the date, time, and my next upcoming task. I’ve not checked my rings (that never sounds right) for weeks. Months, maybe.
This hasn’t been a conscious decision, either.
When I go out for a run, I do indeed start the outdoor run activity and finish it when I’m done. But I don’t review the data it produces. Ever. So what, exactly, is this watch doing for me now?
On the notification front, it is indeed very convenient to receive a tap on your wrist when a new message arrives, but it’s also incredibly rude to glance at your watch while someone’s talking to you. This has always been the Apple Watch’s never-mentioned Achilles heel, and, if you have an ounce of emotional intelligence, you’ll be acutely aware of how awkward you feel when you find yourself checking your watch during a conversation with someone.
But what about the iPhone? Well, I noted during my iPhone 12 Pro review that we’ve reached ‘peak smartphone’ and I still firmly believe that’s the case.
The iPhone doesn’t excite me anymore. To be honest, I think it’s their most boring product – particularly now we’ve been treated to that wonderful M1 chip and what looks like a stonking future for the Mac. So, leaving the iPhone on my desk for a month shouldn’t be much of a wrench.
Goodbye iPhone and Apple Watch
If you follow me on Medium, you’re probably now thinking, “but… this is the guy who said he can’t keep away from his iPhone.” And you’d be right.
But I wrote that article before my lightbulb moment – it was before I actually sat down and thought about my assumed allegiance to Apple products.
I am concerned about the ecosystem, admittedly. Cutting off one part of it – in this case, the iPhone – could prove troublesome considering how often I transfer photos and other pieces of content via Handoff. We’ll see.
Regardless, it’s all systems go, and with the G-Shock arriving today, I’m going Android only for a month. The Apple Watch and iPhone won’t be touched during that time.
If you’re interested, I’ll most likely be using a mix of Android phones (primarily because I’m reviewing a couple of them) but the allure of the Pixel 4a is definitely there, and I have a feeling that might become the daily driver during this test.
What am I trying to prove?
I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not as tied into the Apple ecosystem as I thought I was. It was the realisation about my use of the Apple Watch that did it; I’m essentially using it as a run timer and, well… a watch.
The Apple Watch does so much more than that. It has oodles of cool sensor-based tech and there are some wonderful app implementations on behalf of independent developers. But none of it tempts me, at all.
Maybe I need to widen my horizons. Maybe I’m just not using the Apple Watch enough. Perhaps my ‘meh’ attitude towards the iPhone is because I’ve simply stopped appreciating how wonderfully designed and engineered it is. It might even be that I’ve got so used to the benefits these two devices provide that they’ve intrinsically become part of my life.
Or perhaps I just need a break.
I’ll report back.