Lawyers need help managing the massive amounts of information we process on a daily basis. Wearable devices can help weed through the noise and filter the most important information to you when and where you need it. Look around at your next deposition. It’s likely that the other attorney or the court reporter is wearing either a fitness tracker or a smart watch. Fitbit, Apple Watch, Android Wear, Google Glass(es): whatever your style, there’s a wearable technology to fit.
Maybe you want a wearable, but aren’t sure where to start. The Apple Watch is a great companion tool for your iPhone. (Note: the Apple Watch is not a stand-alone device. It’s an extension of your iPhone.)
So, what makes the Apple Watch worth a look (and the cost)? Here are three reasons you should consider an Apple Watch if you have an iPhone.
1. Receive important and timely notifications
The Apple Watch connects to your iPhone and allows you to receive notifications and information on your wrist. These notifications are customizable within the iPhone Watch app. Limiting notifications is important to getting the most out of the Apple Watch. The idea is to filter out the noise and allow only the most important notices to your wrist. The watch notifies you by a “tap” on your wrist. The tap is difficult to describe, but effectively gets your attention without being annoying.
The watch also alerts you to incoming phone calls, text messages and emails (among other things). You can use the watch to make and receive phone calls. The watch has a speaker and microphone, and the call quality is good.
2. Fitness tracking
The Apple Watch tracks your activity by using three rings representing move, exercise, and stand goals. These concentric rings start at the 12 o’clock position and work their way clockwise around the watch face as you fill them up by moving throughout the day. The Move ring tracks the calories you burn against your daily goal (which updates based on your use). The Exercise ring tracks time when your heart rate is elevated above normal, and the Stand ring tracks when you stand and move based on an hourly prompt.
The watch is good at motivating behavior. There are many other fitness bands available, but the combination of the simple “gamification” approach of the Apple Watch is effective. For the busy lawyer, a midday glance at the watch can help you decide to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
3. Applications and features
The apps on the watch are screen-appropriate versions of the full iPhone app. Pro tip: If you get a new watch, make sure you switch the “Automatic App Install” off before connecting the device to your iPhone. Otherwise, all the apps that have a watch version will end up on the watch and you will have to remove them one by one later.
Apps offer “glances” of the weather, upcoming appointments, audio controls, and even a to-do list. There is no keyboard on the Apple Watch so you edit the information with your voice or by tapping pre-defined options on the watch face.
Apple Maps on the watch is great. The watch taps your wrist at different intervals to indicate a left or right turn. This can help you navigate in an unfamiliar city or even while driving (though it can drain the battery). You can also add “complications” to the watch face, showing information that is important to you. The Apple Watch also tells time.
It’s also really convenient to ask Siri to flip a coin, perform a calculation or respond to a message. I often say “Hey Siri, call the office.” Yes, it does look like you’re talking to yourself.
There’s not one feature that says buy the Apple Watch. Instead, it’s all the little things it does that add up to a helpful device. It sits on your wrist and gets out of the way. The rise of wearables will continue. Whatever wearable you choose, make sure the device is a tool that enhances your life.•
Seth Wilson is a partner at Hume Smith Geddes Green & Simmons LLP in Indianapolis. In addition to practicing law, he helps manage technology operations of the firm and frequently speaks and advises on legal technology issues. For more legal technology tips delivered right to your inbox, visit sethrwilson.com to sign up for Seth’s e-newsletter. The opinions expressed are those of the author.