My Apple Watch Review

Like most of the reviews said, the Apple Watch is a nice addition but nothing you’ll ‘need’ to have. I tried out the iPad in the Apple store the day it came out, and as soon as I picked it up, I knew it was a transformational product and would be a huge hit. The watch doesn’t quite have that explosive ‘OMG this will change everything, now’ feel to it. I think this will limit the upside of the watch initially. A big chunk of first movers will get it and they’ll be the ones buying right away. But I think it’s going to take longer for the rest of the consumers. Someone is going to have to explain to them why they need it and what it will do for their life.

That being said, the watch is pretty damn incredible. I found the user experience 90% totally intuitive and 10% what-the-heck is going on here. Some observations:
-The bezel and button below it function like the click wheel on the iPod. You turn the bezel to scroll through options, you can push it and the side button to go forward and back.
-It’s also got some iOS- like features, e.g. you swipe up to get additional functionality.
-Siri works well and will be very important for interactions. Right now you can’t send a long email on the watch. If you try, it refers you to your phone. This will need to improve in v2 and beyond.
-It has a heart rate sensor in the back. I’m definitely going to use the activity tracking functions all the time and it will be my new gym device.
-You can listen to music (I think it holds 2gb) but you need to buy a bluetooth headset. Plan on buying some bluetooth headphones which start at about $50 for decent ones.
-You can’t buy bands on their own. Apple store staff had no idea when this will change.
-The force click is cool. You can touch to click. Touch-hold for other functions, and then touch hard for other functions. But it wasn’t clear what did what, hence the what-the-heck is happening. This is going to be a user experience challenge for app developers and will be a barrier for the non-tech savvy who don’t explore a UI. How do you highlight that there are additional functions with the force click in the limited real estate? It will be an issue. Also challenging will be differentiating between swipes on the screen and rolling the bezel. These will be need to be sorted out. (And will be in time).
-You can’t wear a watch that you can play with, so I couldn’t test the taptic engine.
-The watch will have huge potential as a subtle/ omnipresent 911 for a range of issues – from women in a sketchy taxicab needing the police to elderly people who’ve fallen and can’t get up. Combine it with one of the new wearable EKG monitors and you’ve got a device that will call an ambulance as soon as it detects you’re having a heart attack. This will be HUGE for the medical field. I predict in ten years, patients will be issued a smart-watch when they check into the hospital.
-You can also tap your watch to alert your spouse across the room that’s it’s time to leave the party, and they’ll get a silent pulse letting them know. Tell them you’re thinking about them via taps when they’re busy and they don’t even need to look down to get the message. These subtle forms of communication are going to be revolutionary. There will be games oriented solely around the taptic engine. Wait and see.
-Exercise gaming will be huge also. This could create a whole generation of healthy nerds.

Despite what I heard in the press, they will not sell ANY watches in the store. I asked if that will be the case after launch. The Apple employees said as far as they know now, sales will only be online.

I also asked about the idea of offering a trade-in credit for replacing your gold Edition. They said it wouldn’t surprise them since Apple does it with phones, but we probably won’t know anything for a year until v2 comes out. So if you buy the edition, have a backup plan that involves selling it to your local gold dealer when you upgrade 🙂

In my opinion, this isn’t smart of Apple. They should have a plan in place now as it may inhibit current sales. Heck, I might consider an edition if I knew I could trade it in and get the value of the gold as a credit to a new one. But I’m not going to buy a watch that will be a nice gold brick in a few years.

My net takeaway is that the watch is uber cool, and a must for fanboys like me and people who want the exercise functionality, notifications, etc. The mass market appeal will come over time as more apps are developed, more sensors are packed in, battery life improves, etc. So essentially, it’s iPhone 1 without the OMG factor. It’s more evolutionary than revolutionary.

Over time, this will enable Apple to play, grow and evolve in the wearables market, which in 8 years will be as big as smartphones are now. That’s your share price growth for the next decade.

Apple did good. Buy AAPL and you won’t regret it.

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