Second Impressions

I’ve only had my Apple Watch for about a week, and so much has been written about it already that there isn’t too much I have to add, but I can’t resist adding my few, late, impressions:

  • It’s the first mainstream Apple product in a long time that has a very specific market. Computers and smartphones are used by pretty much everyone, but the watch appeals only to a select few: wealthy1, health-, and fashion-conscious people. There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s a great product for those people – but it does signal a pretty radical departure from Apple’s former product ethos.2
  • The health apps are very good. I’m standing more, walking more, trying to meet the goals I’ve set. This is one of the greatest features of the watch.
  • The rest of the software is not very good. Some of it is downright bad. My weather app usually doesn’t launch, it just spins forever.
  • It’s not yet much of a platform for 3rd party apps. Most of the apps are slow to load and buggy. This will likely change with newer versions and a real SDK, but it’s sad that this is the quality of software we’ve come to expect with any 1.0 release.
  • The side button seems like a mistake. Aside from using it to summon Apple Pay, accessing a quick list of friends isn’t a thing I want to do on my wrist. If I need to contact someone, I will text, email, or tweet at them: all things I’ll do from my phone.
  • Notifications are great. Being able to feel a tap, lift my arm, see the message, and put my arm down feels very freeing and futuristic. My only complaint is that the tapping force seems incosistent and sometimes much too soft. Despite having it set on the strongest setting, I still occasionally miss things.
  • Watch face customization is fun and makes the device feel so much more personal. I want many more faces, and whole face SDK. I haven’t met 2 people with the same face customization options yet.
  • Yay, button shapes!
  • The buying/shipping process is bananas. When I bought mine, the quoted delivery time was 3-4 weeks, but it shipped the following day. Many others who bought different models during the inital launch window have only just started to see their orders ship.3 Apple is usually lauded for their logistics and operations accumen, but here they’ve failed to provide anyone with reasonable delivery estimates.
  • It’s bizarre that some combinations of watches and bands (like a 38mm Watch with Leather Loop strap) don’t exist.

There’s nothing really that special about the Apple Watch, other than that it’s a very good piece of wearable technology. Should you buy one? If you wear a Fitbit or a regular watch, and you don’t mind dropping $350-$1000 on a gadget/fashion accessory, then yes – you’ll probably really like it. Is it worthy of the insane amount of hype being claimed by Apple? No, not really.

  1. This is relative, but it’s worth noting that most Apple Watch models cost more than the (upfront, subsidized) cost of even the newest iPhone. 

  2. Jim Ray nailed this in his post

  3. Leather loop buyers saw their orders ship today