During the September 2014 Apple Keynote, the unveiling of the Apple Watch and research kit left me in awe, more so than the iPhone announcement, iOS 8 update, or 12in Macbook. These two announcements signified Apple’s future committeemen to engaging in the greater world of health and fitness. Whether this motivation stemmed from the expanding marketplace and demand for such items or a goal to enhance consumer wellbeing, time will tell.
After reexamining my blog post from September, I stated that the health and fitness sensors, and the “Dick Tracey” inspired phone watch sufficiently convinced me to dive into this product line. Keep in mind, that Apple did not announce the accessibility features for the Apple Watch, yet. After wearing an Apple Watch for a day now, I stand by my original comments and can attest to its potentials.
If you are wondering about how accessible the Apple Watch is, visit the following:
Even being an advanced VoiceOver user, these resources proved extremely helpful thus far. The entire unboxing, setting up, activating VoiceOver, and pairing with an iPhone required roughly 30 minutes, and the manual opened.
Regarding first impressions with wearing the Apple Watch, it will require some time to familiarize and develop a level of comfort with it. This is due to not wearing a watch for several years now, and having rather small wrists. I selected the sport band, which is relatively usable, though I will replace it once third party options arise.
Over the last 24 hours, I had time to place some phone calls, engage Siri, monitor my daily activity goals, conduct a workout, check some notifications, and use it as a high end talking watch.
Out of all of these options, the talking watch feature has left the most favorable impression. Simply pressing firmly on the face prompts VoiceOver to announce the time, unless a notification just came across. Secondly, its refreshing not to carry my iPhone around all day, just to monitor steps or receive incoming calls. Finally, I have no concerns regarding battery life, considering that after a full day of usage, it is at 42%.
Here are a few quick tips for blind Apple Watch users:
- Leave raise wrist off, as this activates quite often when using protective arm and hand postures or a cane while navigating
- Turn on screen curtain and set the screen brightness to minimum
- Turn on greyscale, reduce motion, and transitions to increase battery life
Looking forwards, the Apple Watch is by no means a necessity to the majority of the world. At best, the Watch represents the future for wearables, but still resides firmly in the category of luxury consumer electronics. However, this may quickly change, if add-ons and features brings other realtime health monitoring capabilities, like blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and fall notification. Implementing these immediately upgrades the watch to a portable and effective medical monitoring device that increases the independence of many.