I’ve had my Apple watch for some time now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s definitely not a necessity. It isn’t going to make your music sound better. It doesn’t have a built in store to gather music for listening. It barely has 2 gigs of space to even store music. It’s merely a device that frees you up from the hassle of having to pull a phone from your pocket. Now if you have 350-800 bucks burning up in your pocket and you find some of the other tricks that it does useful, then here are a few “economy of motion” things that I’ve found it’s good for.
First off, the bluetooth pairing is a breeze. I’m using it with an iPhone 6 plus, and my phone instantly found the watch in my bluetooth settings and was connected in seconds. Once paired, I’ve had ZERO problems with my phone and watch connecting when I’m not at home. The watch and phone can also communicate over a common wi-fi signal. This means that if you are at home, you can leave your phone on its charger and use the watch independently.
Far and away, the most useful music related function I’ve found is the ability to navigate my music library on my iPhone or iPad from my wrist. Once the music app on the watch is open, I’m greeted with a scaled down version of the music app that I see on my phone. The navigation is surprisingly similar to what I have on my iPhone or iPad.
Prominently at the top there is a “Now Playing” button which, when pressed, shows me the song, artist, time elapsed, volume (which I can control with the digital dial on the side of the watch), as well as pause, play forward and rewind.
Tapping on the song title fills the whole screen with a vibrant image of the album cover.
The transition is snappy and smooth and feels as fluid as an iPhone or an iPad. Tapping back on the elapsed time brings you back to your main menu where in addition to the “Now Playing” button, you’ll find the “Quick Play”, “Beats 1”, “My Music”, and “Playlists” buttons.
The “Quick Play” and “Beats 1” buttons are of no interest to me because they are limited to the baked in Apple Beats 1 radio station which is a whole other topic to be discussed elsewhere. I’m most interested in the last two “My Music” and “Playlist” buttons. Tapping on the “My Music” button takes you to your entire music catalog stored on your iphone or ipad.
I’m impressed with the amount of info Apple squeezes into these menus. You can scroll by artist with a swipe of your finger just like on your iPhone. Tap on an artist and it’ll bring up a list of all of that artists albums along with artwork. Further tap on an album and it’ll display the album cover along with all of the song titles.
The “Playlist” menu works in the same manner, and I spend the majority of my navigation between these two “My Music” and “Playlist” buttons.
It’s all very convenient and easy for an indecisive person like me to navigate my music while I’m entertaining people, cooking, or just plain listening to music on my stereo or headphones.
My tiny music “Remote” is always on my wrist and ready to go, and I’m finally getting used to not having to fish for my phone to control my music. It’s all about economy of motion, folks.
If this is still too much work for you to lift your finger and swipe a menu on your tiny wrist computer, Apple has you covered. Raising your wrist up to your mouth wakes up Siri, and you can speak directly into the watch and ask to play any song, artist or playlist. Say, “Hey Siri, play The Cinematic Orchestra” and it’ll play a shuffle of The Cinematic Orchestra songs.
Say, “Hey Siri, play “Hey Jude” and it’ll play “Hey Jude.” If you subscribe to Apple music, it becomes REALLY fun. You essentially have the entire iTunes catalog on your wrist. I’ve spent hours racking my brain for songs to test Siri with. I raise my wrist, say the song into my watch, and voila! I don’t know how much easier music navigation can be, short of some device that just reads your mind.
If carrying around a cumbersome phone is too much for you, you can also store up to 2 gigs of music on the watch itself. Pair it with your favorite bluetooth headphones and you’re off for your run, free from cords or jostling phones. In some cases, smaller IS better.
It’s all an evolution. The less we have to “fiddle” with, the better. Granted, the Apple Watch is not cheap. It’s definitely not essential to listening to your music. But if you have the money, it’s a next step towards that economy of motion that we’re ultimately looking for.