Four POV’s on the Apple Watch

I’ve had the new Apple Watch for less than a month. While I initially took (copious) notes for my official review, I decided instead to invite a few friends that also owned the Apple Watch to share their points of view. I asked them all the same three questions. Below are their and my take:

roger-petersRoger Peters (@SmartyP)
Mobile Strategist and Developer, All Mobile Everything
Apple Watch: 42mm white sport

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is amazing? Why?
My favorite feature of the watch are notifications, or more specifically – interactive notifications. These were added in iOS 8 for phone and tablet apps, and automatically get carried over to the watch. If I get an email I can immediately delete it or archive it if I know it’s not something I wont bother reading, or if I get a text message I can choose to reply immediately via dictation or a canned response. Being able to take action on a notification straight away from the notification itself appears to be the best match for micro-interactions that only take a second or two on the watch, and it carries no requirement for the app to have explicit watch support via a watch app.

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is disappointing? Why?
My biggest disappointment so far is how limited 3rd party apps are so far. For instance, third party apps can’t make use of the digital crown at all outside of built-in functionality allowing the user to scroll through a long page. For instance, you can’t let the user quickly input a weight by scrolling the digital crown up and down to adjust a value (instead you can use the built-in slider control with plus and minus buttons), and you can’t use the crown to make up some cool new watch game. This on top of overly long load times for third party apps makes the ability to use third party apps quickly and effectively somewhat of a non-starter.

Q: Is the Apple Watch a “must-have” or a “nice-to-have” technology? Why?
The Apple Watch is a “nice-to-have” technology. There will be very few people who can put the Apple Watch into the “must-have” category as compared to smartphone users who rely on those devices just to function throughout the day. People that are fitness-focused or field high volumes of emails and text messages will likely have the easiest time justifying the purchase, with well-to-do tech-geeks falling into that same early adopter category. The general public will likely put the watch on their “nice-to-have” list right along with an electric car, a bigger TV, or a new grill, but it’s not something they’ll likely break their neck to own – especially for a first release.**

Emily-Leahy-ThielerEmily Leahy-Thieler (@Emily30075)
Digital Strategist, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)
Apple Watch: 38mm white sport

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is amazing? Why?
I wouldn’t say anything has been amazing, but the utility of having my calendar on my wrist has been very useful. Probably my favorite thing is using the watch to find/ping my iPhone which I misplace an average of 3 times per day. And being able to keep my phone in my bag and check email/texts quickly on my watch is a convenience I’m already very used to.

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is disappointing? Why?
I was really in love with all the sweet little things like sending a tap or heartbeat to someone. There just aren’t enough watch wearers to use that much, so it’s a disappointment for now. Also, having to open apps on your phone to get the watch app to work (Shazam, Uber, etc.) is not quite what I’d hoped for. I’m thinking that will get better.

Q: Is the Apple Watch a “must-have” or a “nice-to-have” technology? Why?
I bought it knowing it was a “nice-to-have” because I want it to become a “must-have.” The only way for that to happen is for the technology and application ecosystem to get better which happens with critical mass. I chose a lower-priced model so that in a couple generations I won’t feel too invested in this one to buy again. On the other hand, I accidentally left it on my bedside table this morning and I feel separation anxiety.

dana-mackayDana Mackay (@danamackayphoto)
AVP, Bank of America
Photographer, Dana Mackay Photography
Apple Watch: 38mm white sport

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is amazing? Why?
I love the activity feature the most. It’s an upgrade from my basic Garmin watch. It really pushes me to stick to my set goals, e.g. getting up and moving once every hour for a minute. I also like running with it since it shows the weather and start/end time.

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is disappointing? Why?
I hate how I kill the battery and have to charge it every evening. With that said, the charger sits on my nightstand and I pop off the watch before bed (if it’s not dead by then) and it’s ready to go by morning. I’m sure I drain it mostly by having all the notifications hit my wrist and phone. I wish it had a weekly charge. Oh and I don’t like the tethering between the watch and the iphone. It’s like Apple product overload. Oh and I wish it had GPS.

Q: Is the Apple Watch a “must-have” or a “nice-to-have” technology? Why?
I think it’s a nice to have. While I loved my Garmin watch but it wasn’t something to really brag about – it just got the job done when I needed to know the time or when I was running intervals. On the other hand, the Apple Watch is sleek. Plus, I have everything right at my finger tips. It provides the perfect motivation to keep me moving.

Tomer Tishgarten (@Tomerific)
Apple Watch: 38mm white sport

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is amazing? Why?
I’ve heard friends say that they can’t understand why I need yet another screen on my wrist when my iPhone is inches away in my pocket. My response has been that the watch actually untethers me from my iPhone. I can now leave my iPhone at my desk knowing that I step away for 20 yards and still receive a call or message. Furthermore, the watch accentuates the multi-processing capabilities of the smartphone. For example, I can listen to Spotify on my phone and engage Siri on my watch to dictate/send a text message, and both happen without having to pause the music. It is convenient!

Q: What Apple Watch feature or app is disappointing? Why?
My biggest gripe is the screen readability. On a sunny day, the screen brightness doesn’t seem to adjust. This issue will go away once Apple adds either a light sensor or a camera. And though I have the “sport” edition, I am concerned about wearing the watch to the beach where sand can get into the mechanism.

apple-watch-clear-all-notificationsQ: Is the Apple Watch a “must-have” or a “nice-to-have” technology? Why?
It is nice-to-have. It isn’t transformative yet but I think that it will be eventually — sometime in the next 2 years (whenever Apple Watch 3 comes out). And Apple has done a good job making the watch more than a device that just tells the time. There’s an NFC chip that I use for mobile payments (NOTE: I have an iPhone 5S, which is missing this technology). And there’s a new Force Touch “gesture”, which uses electrodes to detect the force applied to the display. For example, it triggers the “Clear All” function on the watch and enables me to quickly zero out my notification center, which is especially useful when you have 5 or more notifications waiting for you.

**NOTE: Roger’s latest iOS/Android app, Word Scramble Little Books, was released late last week.

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