The Apple Watch won't be on your wrist until this Friday at the earliest, but the first reviews of Apple's new wrist computer are just coming in.
The verdict? It's not a perfect product. It has some first generation flaws, and other quirks. There's a bit of a learning curve. And you probably shouldn't buy one. But. But! It's the best smartwatch out there and just oozes potential.
I've been using the Apple Watch for a week. I've worn it on my wrist every day, doing everything possible that I could think of. I've tracked walks and measured my heart rate, paid for lunch, listened to albums while exploring parks without my phone, chatted with family, kept up on email, looked for Ubercars, kept up on news, navigated on long car trips for Passover, controlled my Apple TV with it and followed baseball games while I was supposed to be watching my 2-year-old.
The watch is beautiful and promising — the most ambitious wearable that exists. But in an attempt to do everything in the first generation, the Apple Watch still leaves plenty to be desired. Short battery life compared with other watches and higher prices are the biggest flags for now. But Apple is just setting sail, and it has a long journey ahead.
This description may either strike you as helpful or oppressive. It has made me more present. I'm less likely to absent-mindedly reach for my phone, or feel compelled to leave it on the table during supper.
With the Apple Watch, smartwatches finally make sense. The measure of their success shouldn't be how well they suck you in, but how efficiently they help you get things done. Living on your arm is part of that efficiency — as a convenient display, but also a way to measure your heart rate or pay at a cash register. This is a big idea about how we use technology, the kind of idea we expect from Apple.
After over a week of living with Apple's latest gadget on my wrist, I realised the company isn't just selling some wrist-worn computer, it's selling good looks and coolness, with some bonus computer features. Too many features that are too hard to find, if you ask me.
... 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.
... Unless you opt for the cheapest $US350 sport version, you should really wait for the future.
The Apple Watch is far from perfect, and, starting at $US350 and going all the way up to $US17,000, it isn't cheap. Though it looks quite smart, with a selection of stylish leather and metallic bands that make for a sharp departure from most wearable devices, the Apple Watch works like a first-generation device, with all the limitations and flaws you'd expect of brand-new technology.
... Still, even if it's not yet for everyone, Apple is on to something with the device. The Watch is just useful enough to prove that the tech industry's fixation on computers that people can wear may soon bear fruit. In that way, using the Apple Watch over the last week reminded me of using the first iPhone. Apple's first smartphone was revolutionary not just because it did what few other phones could do, but also because it showed off the possibilities of a connected mobile computer.
The Apple Watch is one of the most ambitious products I've ever seen; it wants to do and change so much about how we interact with technology. But that ambition robs it of focus.
There's no question that the Apple Watch is the most capable smartwatch available today. It is one of the most ambitious products I've ever seen; it wants to do and change so much about how we interact with technology. 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.
The Apple Watch can certainly make you a worse dinner guest. But it can also make you a slightly better one. The difference is whether or not you're willing to think about what really matters vs. what seems to matter.
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.