I do not need a smartwatch (no one does). I do not think smartwatches are anywhere near fully functional yet, or if they will ever be. But after seeing the Moto 360 yesterday, I know one truth that supersedes those others: I am going to buy one as soon as they let me.
For as long as the first smartwatch rumours began bubbling, I've been a sceptic. There are too many usability issues, too few benefits. Spending a few hundred dollars on a watch with an operating system feels like spending a few thousand on a bicycle that farts; sure, it's a feature normal bicycles don't have, but it doesn't necessarily improve the experience.
Then the Moto 360 happened. Have you seen it? Of course you have, it's at the top of this post. But just in case, here are a few more glamour shots we took yesterday.
Yes, we'd seen the 360 before. But not up close, not with its screen in action, not on the wrists of people who aren't paid to say nice things about it. The Moto 360 in real life is every bit as elegant and attractive as the hype machine promised. And by god, against all better judgment, I want one.
If you're thinking I'm an idiot, don't worry, I'm way ahead of you. Here are just a few of the reasons I shouldn't buy the Moto 360:
- I don't know if it works.
- I don't know how much it costs.
- It does this, which is hilarious and annoying.
— Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie) June 26, 2014
- I don't currently wear a watch, and there's no real indication that there is a part of me that wants to on a daily basis.
- It's the first generation of a new product category, which never ever ever works out.
- It's still kinda big!
- Crass consumerism, right? The worst.
- I still think smartwatches are dumb.
We spend so much time hand-wringing about function, don't we? How many apps, how much battery life. The Moto 360 is the best reminder I've had in ages that gadgets aren't just a utility; they have value beyond the next firmware update. The Moto 360 is a smartwatch, sure. It can send me notifications, which is... fine? That's fine. It knows the weather, and when my flight is taking off. But more than any of that it's also just a beautiful watch. One that I'd like to wear regardless of what operating system it runs, or whether it has one at all.
Yes, I'll get annoyed when the battery dies around lunchtime. And ok, sure, I'll be kicking myself when it inevitably lands in my junk drawer. That's fine, I accept that. But I'm going to buy the Moto 360, because it figured out what other smartwatches haven't yet: That a wearable's first job is to be something you'd actually want to wear.