Editor’s note: This article appears in the November edition of NC Lawyer.

By Erik Mazzone

I didn’t want an Apple Watch. Really.

With an iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air, I figured owning three Apple devices that need charging daily and upgrading regularly is enough for one person. Not to mention I wanted to avoid being one of those officious “Apple fan boys” running around, going, “and then Apple innovated by putting a device on my wrist … and it tells the time! Mind. Blown.”

Then this happened.

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In my limited defense, it was a gift. In my even more limited defense, I asked for it. It’s not entirely my fault, though. My normally tech-disinterested wife has been rhapsodizing about her Apple Watch for months now:

My Apple Watch does this. My Apple Watch does that. My Apple Watch has a built in laser app like Iron Man.

I’m only human. I broke.

I assumed the Apple Watch was going to be kind of a disappointment. It needs to be Bluetooth tethered to an iPhone. The screen is tiny. It doesn’t really do that much. I was prepared to be underwhelmed.

As it turns out, though, it has been kind of a delight. I’m not overwhelmed. But neither am I underwhelmed. Just regular whelmed.

After a few weeks of wear, the Apple Watch has quietly crept into some crevices in my tech life that I didn’t know existed.

Check Your Email Without Looking Like A Jerk

The other day I was streaming (not at work, Allan, don’t worry!) the House Committee on Agriculture’s meeting on the Dietary Guidelines (ever wonder what NCBA staff do to relax at night? Curl up to the dulcet tones of a committee meeting, obvs.)

During the meeting, I noticed that several of the committee members were wearing Apple Watches. I wondered why, since the members of this committee aren’t, say, about to quit their jobs and start writing code. These are decided non-techies rocking this latest gadget.

The next day, participating in a long meeting of my own, I realized how unobtrusive and natural it was to respond to texts and emails on my Apple Watch. All without having to commit the meeting sin of pulling out your phone and pecking away on it. No matter how important or productive that action might be, the unavoidable subtext is: “I’m bored; I wonder how my fantasy football team is doing?”

The Apple Watch allows smooth management of email and other inputs during times where pulling out your phone would be difficult or rude. I assume that’s why those congressional folks are wearing theirs. Those peeps know some stuff about long meetings. And yeah, you can check on your fantasy football team on it.

Turn-by-Turn GPS Directions On Your Wrist

Another happy Apple Watch surprise came when I was driving to Blowing Rock for our fall Board of Governors meeting.

You’d think that after eight years with the NCBA I would know my way back and forth across North Carolina, but my mind wanders when I drive. Especially when I listen to Diane Rehm. If her show lasted long enough, I would get on 40 in Cary and end up in Barstow, Cal., before I realized what happened.

I use my phone to navigate when I drive, but it is a little clunky and more than a little dangerous to fish it out of my pocket, pull up the right app, and look at the screen while driving. On the road to Blowing Rock, I was delighted when my wrist started to vibrate and display turn-by-turn directions. I could easily see the next turn without removing my hands from the wheel and without having to take my eyes off the road for more than an instant. My phone stayed in my pocket and I didn’t end up in Barstow. #winning

It was a very natural interface for GPS and it felt instantly like this is how GPS should have worked all along.

Get Off Your Lazy Behind

Sitting is the new smoking, as they say. Usually they say this when looking at you. While you’re sitting. Maybe that’s just me.

Apparently, scientists have achieved consensus on the radical notion that moving occasionally is better for your health than, say, trying to set a Guinness record for couch hours logged. No award for me, I guess. Thanks, science.

The Apple Watch is your semi-annoying partner in trying to get up and move more. It nannies the wearer about standing up at least once an hour, exercising 30 minutes a day, and moving enough to burn X amount of calories. (It also counts steps and stairs climbed, if you prefer to be judged along those axes.) You can customize the goals if you already exceed those. My Apple Watch activity level is set to Panda.

I am of two minds on this. First, I find it a little obnoxious when I’m watching the Yankees disappoint me for the billionth October in a row and my watch says, “Erik, get up and walk around.” It’s like, read the room, Apple Watch. Kind of in the middle of being depressed here. Sheesh.

On the other hand, after a few weeks with the Apple Watch, I am now very clearly the dog to its Pavlov. It says get up, I get up. No matter what I’m in the middle of, I just do it. It has yielded some strange looks at dinner and in the movies.

It’s annoying, but it has made me move more.

All in all, I had pretty low expectations for the Apple Watch. It’s version one, and in a year or two we will have new more powerful versions coming out that make this look like a Fisher Price toy. It has been a real surprise, and mostly a quite pleasant one, at how quickly it has become a part of my routine.

If you’re on the fence about trying it out, I’d encourage you to give it a shot. It’s not life changing, but it is really handy.

Plus, did I mention … it tells the time!  NCL

Erik Mazzone is the Director of the Center for Practice Management at the NCBA. He is also an officious Apple fan boy, a disillusioned Yankee fan, and a great help in finishing off the left over CLE food when you go back into the auditorium at the Bar Center.

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