The Curious Case of the Apple Watch

Apple, Apple Watch, Technology

I’m sat on the couch, Macbook on my knee, and I feel a gentle vibration on my wrist. It’s the Apple Watch telling me to get up and walk around for a minute. It’s a helpful, small detail that gives the device a special kind of charm.

I imagine that Apple’s designers had a persona not too dissimilar from me on their wall back in the early days of the Apple Watch design process. You see, I’m all in on the Apple ecosystem. As a designer, spread across work and home I have an iPad, an iPhone, an iMac and a Macbook. I embrace new technology and, crucially, I don’t currently wear a watch. It’s safe to say that I’m the target audience.

I wrote a couple of posts on the Apple Watch last year, about how I thought it would sell well (it has) and the problems Apple needed to solve in order for it to be a success.

These last few days I’ve been giving the watch a thorough test–drive. I’ll admit to being skeptical about its usefulness. I assumed that I’d very quickly become annoyed about having a device strapped to my wrist whilst serving little purpose.

Personally I think the watch looks and feels fantastic – the build quality is top notch (and this is only the lower-end sport version). It’s light and comfortable.

One thing that hasn’t surprised me though – the watch doesn’t have a clear selling point. Sure, there are laughs to be had in sending digital touch drawings to colleagues when in meetings, and the health app is very interesting. In terms of experiencing “one big moment” when using it – well, that hasn’t occurred yet.

For me, it’s very much a convenience product. It means I get my phone out of my pocket less. A lot less. This is exactly what I expected. What I didn’t expect is how valuable that convenience would prove to be to me. It’s enormously freeing. I expected it would take a week for me to decide to buy my own watch, but in all honesty, about eight hours in I’d made up my mind. It’s not just one thing, but rather it’s the collective experience. It’s a small number of occasionally subtle features that are suddenly noticeably absent when you’re not wearing the watch.

On top of that, there is the future to consider. The watch is selling well. More users means more 3rd party apps will be made. It is here that the watch will move from a convenience to a delight.

Grab any ten iPhone users and ask for the number one reason they use their phone. The results will differ. The genius of 3rd party apps means that the purpose of devices like a smart phone, a tablet, or even a watch can change with a simple tap.

Long gone are the days when a phone is a device that you only use to call your friends. A watch is now no longer a device that you only use to check the time. What else it is going to be used for is yet to become clear (although I’ve already had a few great ideas of products to design for it).

The forth-coming OS update promises more features, and I’m excited to try ApplePay when it arrives in the UK. For now though, the real question for me is whether to wait for the superior Apple Watch 2, or to buy into the current generation. One thing is for sure, Apple has managed to convert a skeptic to a believer.

2 thoughts on “The Curious Case of the Apple Watch

  1. That’s a cool review. I don’t wear a watch either. But I am an Apple fan. Just didn’t see my “need” for a watch. I may have to give it a try.

  2. Yep – I was in exactly the same position and would definitely have been hesitant about buying one. Thankfully I’ve been able to test one of the devices at work, and that has won me over. I imagine this is why Apple are so keen to get people to book an appointment to try one on in store – they’re hopeful that if they can get you to try one, then they can get you to love it.

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