Fussing Over Apple Watch

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It's crazy how fussy people have been over Apple Watch.

In general, I think our expectations are a little out of whack. Yes, a computer on your wrist that lasts all day, is lightning fast, is simple to use and does everything every user wants would be amazing.

I mean, the iPhone does that, right? So why can't Apple Watch?

As noted many times over, the iPhone of today is nowhere near the original iPhone. Remember those reviews?

  • The battery can't be replaced by the user.
  • Cell service and videos are slow.
  • The keyboard is annoying.
  • The iPhone doesn't currently support...

There are some things missing but I can see most of them being quickly added with the first iterative update. And that's the bigger thing I see with Apple Watch - It's a tremendous attempt at a first version with tons of potential. Once that first update is released, hang on to your hats.

After a few weeks with Apple Watch, here's my summary: It's a great device to provide a simpler method to quickly uncover if you need to respond to something right now. The value of Apple Watch to a user is simply in the user's perception - Is this something new or something repurposed?

Here's how I've been thinking about it.

Activity

Like many folks, I try to keep a close eye on my health and activity. Given my recent operation, I need to keep specific measurements throughout the day. The Activity app gives (some of) these to me.

Yes, I'd like more control over some things (it'd be great to be notified when my heart rate exceeded a certain threshold) but I see these things coming down the road. It was much more of a pain to keep an eye on these things three weeks ago.

I do like the stand up reminders (regularly stepping away from the computer for a few minutes is a good thing) and the Activity summaries are nice.

I'd like to see the Activity tracking automatically stop depending on certain criteria (ie, I arrive home). But, three weeks ago, I had to sync my Vivo to my phone just to see anything.

Maps

Walking around Manhattan is fun. Walking around Manhattan lost is no fun. The Maps app is fun and provides no fuss directions. The directional tabs are great - no need to stop mid-conversation to pull out your phone and wonder which way to go.

Added bonus: You look like you know what you're doing / where you're going.

Siri

Really good. Someone noted somewhere that raising your wrist and saying "Hey Siri" in public is a little silly (another word was used) but doing it at home is a lot of fun. I completely agree!

Otherwise, using the Digital Crown to call up Siri is simple and the results have been excellent. Each time I use it (and it's a lot) I think: "Oh, this is where Siri fits".

iPhone

Needing the iPhone to maximize Apple Watch usage isn't a big deal to me. Since I carried my phone everywhere before, it's not that big of a deal to do so now. It is nice, however, to not have to pull the iPhone out every second to check whether I'm needed or not.

Screen

Yeah, the screen is small. But not for quick glances or notifications. Can you read emails and NYTimes articles? Sure, but it's not ideal.

It's the perfect size to quickly see Mets scores, Instagram photos and Dark Sky alerts. It's not the iPhone 6 Plus. It's a watch.

Phone

Phone calls on Apple Watch are dorky / fun / cool. They sound surprisingly great and are ideal when your hands are full.

Output

This one confuses me a bit. Listening to music or a podcast or any audio through Bluetooth headphones is great. Pausing, skipping, etc. is much easier on the Apple Watch than on the iPhone, especially on a crowded subway.

But the output is an app setting, not a global setting. When I want to listen to music, the Apple Watch acts as the source. When I want to listen to a podcast via Overcast, it the iPhone is the source (and the Bluetooth headphones need to sync accordingly). Just an annoyance.

Apple TV

Much easier than using the standard Apple TV remote. Much easier (and a little fun!).

Marketing

A little off topic, but it's my gig. Part of me picking up the watch is to see how marketing professionals can use Apple Watch to engage with their audience. Outside of a brand building its own iPhone / Apple Watch app, I can see images being the best way to connect with an audience.

Yes, the screen is small but if the images were designed in a concise and simple way, with minimal text, I can see it being a powerful way to quickly communicate targeted messages.

Should you get an Apple Watch?

If you are interested in how technology is evolving past traditional computer devices and platforms, then it's something you should consider. Ultimately, I'll go back to an earlier thought: The value of Apple Watch to a user is simply in the user's perception - Is this something new or something repurposed?

If you think this is simply an iPhone / iPod shrunk down strapped to your wrist, it's probably not for you (neither is the iPad, eh?).

If you can envision Apple Watch being a different way to interact with your world, then you should absolutely take a closer look.