Where’s Siri’s voice? and other odd things about the Apple Watch

Apple has packed a ton of features into the Apple Watch, successfully producing the best smartwatch on the market. The device isn’t perfect, though, and has it own set of quirks. Here are a few hard-scratchers that I’ve found in my first few days of using the device.

Silent Siri

One of the most useful yet disconcerting features of the Apple Watch is Siri. Siri on the Watch is powerful, almost as powerful as her iPhone counterpart, but she lacks one major feature — a voice. The first few times I used Siri I thought my Watch was broken because Siri was silent. She wasn’t talking to me! As I found out later, Siri not readily available on the Watch. Yes, you get the same snarky and informative responses via text, but it is just not the same without her sweet voice.

If you really want her voice back, you can use VoiceOver to enable Siri. VoiceOver helps you navigate the Watch by speaking each item you select, but it has its drawbacks -- most notable are the changes it makes to the gesture inputs.

Read my messages — I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.

One side effect of Siri not having a voice is that she can’t read back a message or email that comes into your Watch. If you ask her (or him, depending on where you live) to read a message, she will instruct you to use Handoff to send the request to your iPhone. This missing feature means you have to physically look at the Watch if you want to read incoming messages. This visual interaction is convenient in the summer when you are wearing just a t-shirt and a light coat, but may be difficult in the winter when your wrist is buried under multiple layers or clothing.

Where is the Reminders app?

I love getting alerts for my Reminders on my Watch, but where is the Reminders app that allows me to check off each task as I complete them? I checked several times to make sure I wasn’t missing it, but it is true — there is no reminders app on the Watch. It’s an odd omission to include the calendar, but not add support for managing reminders.

Look ma no keyboard

It dawned on me yesterday that the Apple Watch is the first Apple device I’ve owned that does not have some form of a keyboard. Not that I necessarily want a keyboard on the tiny screen, I just think the Watch has a very different interface that relies heavily on voice input and canned responses. The voice input is very accurate; I just got to ignore those odd glances from strangers who look confused and sometimes annoyed that I am walking and talking to my wrist.

If you’ve noticed any quirks with the Apple Watch or any unusual omissions, please share them in the comments.