All these products were doomed by the prognosticators but loved by actual real customers. Apple Stores, iPod, iTunes Music Store, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad et al. Apple Watch has been mercilessly battered by critics long before the launch. Here’s what people who have used Apple Watch have to say.
Criticism? Bah Humbug
Watch debuts at Apple Stores in a couple of weeks, but you’ll be able to order online this weekend. Very few critics of worth are predicting that Apple will not sell Watch by the millions.
Instead, what they’re doing is, as they’ve done for many years, castigating Apple’s latest gadget as underpowered, unnecessary, overly expensive, blah blah blah.
It should. That’s the refrain we’ve heard from tech critics and know-it-all watchers for a long, long time, and each time Apple proves them wrong by focusing the gadget’s usage on what customers want and need– and are willing to pay for.
Apple Watch is no different, and you’ll get an idea of that by reading some of the early adopter reviews (from those seeded media folk on Apple’s ‘Good Boy’ list).
For example, Apple apologist Ben Bajarin:
After a week, I’m convinced Apple is onto something with this product. It may not be a necessity for most people but it is absolutely complementary to our digital lives. And the best part is the whole thing is going to keep getting better,” Bajarin writes. “More apps will come, developers will evolve and create new and compelling software to take advantage of those interactions that are measured in seconds and not minutes. Apple will update the operating system to include more features and functionality. That is the beauty of this being both a hardware and software play. The experience is not static but dynamic and we can look forward to watching and using the Apple Watch as it continues to evolve in meaningful ways.
I think he likes it. What about Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal?
There are so many things the watch can do, so many menus and features you must spend time figuring out, that for better or worse, you end up shaping your own experience. Some may find usefulness in hailing Ubers with a tap on the wrist, or transmitting a heartbeat to a beloved. My colleague Geoffrey Fowler explored the Apple Watch as a gateway to the iPhone for many quick activities. I sought a simpler experience, turning it into a stylish watch to keep me on schedule and a workout companion to keep me moving,The Apple Watch succeeds where the fitness trackers have failed. Not only does it provide more accurate data and a platform with big promise, but it’s an accessory I love to wear all day long.
Is this the ‘everyman watch?’ Not for Joanna. She got lost in the feature bag. The Verge’s Nilay Patel thought differently.
It’s a supercomputer on your wrist, but it’s also a bulbous, friendly little thing, far more round than I expected, recalling nothing quite so much as the first-generation iPhone. It is unbelievably high tech and a little bit silly, a masterpiece of engineering with a Mickey Mouse face. It is quintessentially Apple.
But here’s the kicker. What’s Watch for?
But that ambition robs it of focus: it can do tiny bits of everything, instead of a few things extraordinarily well. For all of its technological marvel, the Apple Watch is still a smartwatch, and it’s not clear that anyone’s yet figured out what smartwatches are actually for.
Yahoo!’s David Pogue, a longtime lover of Apple’s atoms and bits, uses Apple’s own words, but also provides the clearest usage case to date.
Why would anyone want a smartwatch, if all it does is duplicate information that’s on your phone? The Apple Watch makes clear that at least one company has put a good deal of thought into this matter… The average person pulls out his phone 100 times a day. This watch, like all smartwatches, serves as a gatekeeper, a filter. You can glance at your wrist, discreetly and briefly, to see why your phone is trying to get your attention. When you’re in a meeting or in transit, a lot of communiqués aren’t so urgent that you have to deal with them now. With a smartwatch, you can take a peek before committing to hauling out your phone.
How does Watch compare to so-called smartwatches of 2014 (such makers are retooling in 2015 to match Watch)?
The Apple Watch is light-years better than any of the feeble, clunky efforts that have come before it. The screen is nicer, the software is refined and bug-free, the body is real jewelry. First-time technologies await at every turn: Magnetic bands, push-to-release straps, wrist-to-wrist drawings or Morse codes, force pressing, credit-card payments from the wrist. And the symbiosis with the iPhone is graceful, out of your way, and intelligent.
So much for not being able to innovate anymore? Those who said that should be ashamed. But I bet they buy a Watch anyway. I would be willing to write some gushing words if Apple would put me on their preview list.
Farhad Manjoo in The New York Times:
By notifying me of digital events as soon as they happened, and letting me act on them instantly, without having to fumble for my phone, the Watch became something like a natural extension of my body — a direct link, in a way that I’ve never felt before, from the digital world to my brain. The effect was so powerful that people who’ve previously commented on my addiction to my smartphone started noticing a change in my behavior; my wife told me that I seemed to be getting lost in my phone less than in the past. She found that a blessing.
Relationship mender? I didn’t see that as a bullet point feature for the Watch on Apple’s website. Bloomberg and Tonight Show tech star Joshua Topolsky chimed in:
The looks are just the beginning. It’s loaded with cutting-edge technology. After using it, I had no question that the Apple Watch is the most advanced piece of wearable technology you can buy today.
The watch is not life-changing. It is, however, excellent. Apple will sell millions of these devices, and many people will love and obsess over them. It is a wonderful component of a big ecosystem that the company has carefully built over many years. It is more seamless and simple than any of its counterparts in the marketplace. It is, without question, the best smartwatch in the world.
How about a perspective for the common folk who read USA Today? Edward C. Baig:
Now that I’ve spent more than a week wearing the Apple Watch, I’m reserving a prominent spot on my wrist. Apple Watch is an elegant combination of style and purpose, even if it indeed often serves as a stand-in for the iPhone tucked away in your pocket or purse.
A smart watch isn’t an essential purchase like your phone is and that’s still so with the Apple Watch. I’m ready to get one anyway. Apple’s claim of 18 hours between charges seems accurate based on my pretty heavy daily usage.
Among smartwatches, Apple Watch is second to none. I want one.
Therein is a key component to Apple’s product strategy. Make products that people want to use. That worked for the Mac, the iPhone, and iPad, and based upon reviews from early users, Watch has the same DNA.