For example, how we use our Macs these days has changed because of the impact of iPhone and iPad. Macs are for heavy lifting, work which requires specific apps that need more horsepower. iPhone and iPad are interim devices which offload tasks once performed by the Mac. How is Watch any different in the scheme?
It’s All About Time
We can think of modern computing this way. Desktop Macs and PCs were anchor devices that once did everything but nothing mobile. We slaved away for hours each day. Notebooks came along and revolutionized our computing habits by bringing mobility into the routine.
Notebooks, for the most part, performed everything a desktop could do, but in a smaller, lighter more mobile package. Then along came the true smartphone, starting with Apple’s iPhone.
Macs still required hours of use, but the iPhone took away some of those tasks and added a few more. Messages, email, browsing, social site apps, calendars and contacts, music, movies, and even photos became the domain of smartphones. The differences were wrapped up in a blend of capability– Macs are more capable– and mobility– iPhones could go anywhere. And time.
We would spend hours on a Mac, but only minutes at a time on the iPhone (calls don’t count; after all, it’s a phone). Along with mobility, hours vs. minutes aptly describes the differences in usage between PCs and smartphones.
What about Watch? What does it do? Why does anyone need a Watch? Watch may be more mobile than an iPhone, but it does less (as the iPhone does less heavy lifting than a Mac), too. And that’s the point. Larry Dignan may have coined the phrase ‘micromoments‘ which accurately describes the Watch’s value proposition.
Watch saves time and gathers important personal data. How? Just as the iPhone took many smaller tasks away from the Mac and PC, Watch takes from the iPhone by offloading alerts and notifications. And just as we’ve come to know the need to filter such alerts and notifications on our iPhones and Macs, a similar pruning action is necessary on Watch, because everyone has different usage requires which may make Watch the most personal device Apple has ever built.
Time is on top. Not just telling the time; Watch does that well, and better than most watches, thanks to customizable complications. Instead of grappling with an iPhone in pocket, bag, purse, or backpack, notifications and alerts are more subtle, requiring only micromoments to check, filter, and respond as needed.
That’s new and it will take time to become valuable to the masses of Apple customers. The initial value proposition is not visible on Watch (other than telling time and a few alert options; you won’t be showing off photos or watching videos or editing spreadsheets on Watch), but it’s there and my experience shows it is also insidious; it creeps into the daily routine quickly; more so once the learning curve is over. Learning curve? Watch is not obvious as to how it should be used. That requires effort which requires time (pun not intended).
If the Mac is used for hours, and iPhone is used for minutes at a time, then Watch fits into the seconds or micromoments category.