Apple Watch: The glance that tells you nothing
My steel Apple Watch has been strapped to my wrist now for four months and, as I wrote two months ago, I am addicted. I like it for many things.
First, it looks good, especially with the newly acquired Milanese Loop band to complement the steel body. Second is its ability to track activity. Since it is always on my wrist it manages to capture more action than the mothership iPhone. Generally, though, the two work in total harmony, with the iPhone adding its altitude data to complete the picture.
I like the notifications, with incoming emails and text messages checkable at a glance and with no need to unpocket the phone. It's also great to be able to answer calls on the device.
Glances I find less useful, at least until we get native Watch apps. I started off with a whole swathe of iPhone apps linked to the watch but, one by one, I have banished them as superfluous.
Unfortunately the Apple Watch lacks the one glance that is truly useful. It's the simple feature that comes built-in with a normal wristwatch.
Any cheap old timepiece meets the glance criterion far more effectively than the Apple’s technological wonder.
Glance down at a traditional watch and you see the time. Glance at the Apple Watch and you see a doom-laden black glass screen. I cannot tell you how frustrating this can be. We forget just how many times we check time without the need to tap the watch face or wiggle our wrist to bring it to life.
This frustration is heightened here in the glaring sunshine of a Greek summer. The screen detail is virtually unreadable, especially when wearing sunglasses. As a result, Apple’s new toy is less wrist watch and more computer-on-the-wrist, which is exactly what it is. It is just masquerading as a watch.
Without doubt these shortcomings will be addressed in future watchOS and hardware upgrades but, for the moment, they remain the only aspects that makes me think fondly of my old mechanical Swiss watch.
So far Apple has been unusually reticent about Watch sales. Rumours are that it hasn't been the runaway success predicted. I am not so sure. I think it is gradually winning converts and, I suspect, few who try it end up totally hating it. Many have reservations, such as the ones I have highlighted, but they are far more likely to become addicted than to dismiss it out of hand. I have to admit, though, that I have not seen as many Apple Watches out in the wild as I had expected by now.
The telling time for Watch sales will be the performance in the last quarter of the year. I imagine the AW will be high on the list of wishes for Christmas. It makes a perfect gift for anyone who owns an iPhone. But I believe that, in common with the iPhone and the iPad, the real breakthrough will take place in the year after launch.
Meanwhile, I mostly love my Apple Watch