So the details are finally in, and I have to admit – I’m slightly disappointed. I was hoping Apple would unveil some major new functionality at last week’s event, but it was just filling the gaps between what we already knew.
In essence, the watch has 3 main functions: a fitness tracker, notification viewer and of course telling the time. You could also add a 4th function: fashion accessory.
The fitness tracker part of it excites me most, as I have used the Nike Fuelband previously and found it was good at telling me how inactive I was, convincing me to workout more often. After 6 or 7 months, I didn’t need to wear it anymore as I kind of knew when I was active and when I wasn’t. I guess if I was marathon training I might need more detail, but surely and GPS enabled Garmin watch would be more suited in this case? So for me I’m partially excited about this aspect of the watch, but it doesn’t seem groundbreaking to me.
The notification viewing aspect of the watch doesn’t excite me at all. Mainly because it requires I have my phone in the same building. Not being a high-flying executive who needs to view every email within seconds, the thought of having notifications on my wrist makes me shudder. If the watch had cellular networking and meant I could leave the house without a phone, then I would be interested. In fact, one day I see the iPhone being obsolete and the watch being the main connectivity device. When they need a bigger screen, people will tether their iPad to their watches.
Telling the time is of course a very useful function. At work (where lets face it, I spend a good chunk of my time) I have a computer in front of me with the time omnipresent, and typing with a watch on can be uncomfortable. So I only need this functionality at weekends or when I go out after work. My Casio serves its purpose here – do i really need an Apple Watch for this?
Then there’s the fashion element. Apple has, since the iPod been a fashion brand – though a slightly geeky fashion brand. I have a feeling Smart Watches will end up like calculator watches in the 1980’s and early 1990’s – looking dated and ‘of their time’. Then there’s the ridiculously priced ‘Apple Watch Edition’ made out of solid gold. I get that some watches cost tens of thousands of pounds. However, isn’t part of what justifies the price of a Rolex that fact that they have been engineering watches for over a hundred years, and have a reputation for exceptional quality? If Volvo released a Rolls Royce-priced car, it wouldn’t make it comparable to a Rolls Royce. Making something expensive doesn’t make it fashionable. I personally go out of my way not to wear overtly branded clothing (to my dismay, the craze of wearing ‘Super Dry’ plastered over your front like you’re selling children’s nappies door-to-door hasn’t subsided yet, at least in the UK), and so I wouldn’t want a watch that was too ‘showy’.
Of course I haven’t mentioned the apps yet. This is where I think the watch could excel. it could be like the iPad, which I was doubtful about upon its release, but now I think it is the world’s greatest personal computer. Will I buy an Apple Watch? No. I’ll wait and see what the second generation has to offer. My hope is it will have a way of using the device purely over WiFi (I accept cellular is a long way off for battery reasons) so I could realistically go out for the evening, and as long as the place I am going has WiFi, I can still keep in touch.