EDITION No.10
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Hi Branden,
 
Two weeks ago I promised a little Apple Watch review on Twitter. I just came back from two weeks in Stockholm & one week Cannes, that explains my delay, but here it is!

TL;DR - Don't buy the Apple Watch (yet) unless you are a developer/designer who needs to develop for it.
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I've been using the Apple Watch for a while now and wanted to make sure I fully get it's potential in order to share my opinion with you. Instead of sharing a regular review I share specific points you should know about the Apple Watch.

1. It's not a fashion item (for me)
You know, the beautiful & unique part of a traditional watch is the watch face. This is why we love watches, why we wear them and why there are so many different variations on the market. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch is just a black screen that looks the same on every persons wrist. It only shows you the watch face when lifting your arm up to your face, otherwise you or others won't see it which makes it look pretty generic.

Unless Apple finds a solution to show the watch face all the time (screen always on, without draining the battery) your watch looks exactly the same than every other watch. If you love watches, you will have a hard time replacing it with your Apple Watch. (and yes, the band doesn't make a difference)

2. It's not replacing any of your devices

The Apple Watch is not meant to replace your iPhone or any other devices. Imagine it's a second screen experience to your iPhone. Interacting with the Apple Watch is actually pretty exhausting since it occupies both of your hands. You will almost NEVER use the Apple Watch for longer than 15-30 seconds - And that's okay, because it's not meant for anything more. It's just a matter of expectations.

3. It's incredibly slow

Right now the Apple Watch is so slow that it takes away all the joy of using it. Native Apps are supposed to come soon promising better performance. But in the meantime launching apps on the Apple Watch takes even longer than just pulling out your iPhone and completing the task on there.

4. You never use the home/app screen

After using the Watch for a couple weeks, I noticed that I never or very rarely use the apps screen. There might be many reasons to this, but mainly you just don't need it right now. This might change over time when better apps are coming to the market, but in general I believe the Apple Watch has it's greatest potential with what Apple calls "Glances". (it's almost like widgets in MacOSX, or live tiles on Windows)

5. Handle notifications carefully

After setting up the Apple Watch, your iPhone essentially funnels all notifications straight to your Apple Watch. It's fun for about 2 hours, but then you get so annoyed and turn off everything. However, there are notifications I really enjoy. For example: Calendar invites, reminders for meetings or messages from certain contacts. 

6. The "Tapctic Engine" is amazing
I'm one of those people who always has his iPhone completely silent. I enjoy a ringtone free world and the sound of a phone vibrating drives me crazy. I sometimes even feel like I hear a phone vibrating, even though it's actually not. (I know many people who have this anxious feeling)

The Taptic Engine could change this forever. It's a subtle feeling on your wrist, almost like if someone taps you on your arm. It's subtle (maybe even a bit too subtle) and only YOU can feel it. No more ringtones, no more vibrating tables where everyone nervously checks their phone to see if it was theirs.

7. The "Digital Crown" is useless

While it was advertised very heavily I'm not sure why you would actually need it. I rarely or almost never use it for scrolling (just use your finger). It would definitely make sense if you read long-form text on your watch where you have to scroll a lot, but you won't do that anyway.

8. The crazy battery cycle
The Apple Watch battery lasts one day if you don't use it a lot. It keeps up perfectly fine with your iPhone which is draining it's battery now even more due to the enabled bluetooth. So at the end of the day, both devices have to be charged up regardless.

The only problem is that sometimes you will forget about charging your watch, which will render it useless for the next day of course. Forgetting about charging your watch once will start the cycle of forgetting it again and you will end up switching to your old watch as a backup and not using the Apple Watch for a week.

The reason why this happens is because you actually don't NEED the Apple Watch. You're religiously good at charging your iPhone, because you can not live without it, something is missing in your day. If you forget charging/using your Apple Watch, nothing happens - It's all the same. This is exactly how I stopped using my Jawbone band - I forgot charging it for one week and it's forgotten forever. Out of sight, out of mind.


9. Magic moments
There are a few magic moments when using the Apple Watch. The Uber app is one of them. With a single tap on your Apple Watch you order an Uber car and it shows up minutes later. While sitting in the car, the Apple Watch shows you a little map with your route including the time until you arrive at your destination. It's absolutely amazing and a perfect use case for the Apple Watch.



It might be due to the nature of the Uber service and how well it applies to something like the Apple Watch, but in general I hope to see more of these magic moments/services on the Apple watch. (Apple Pay or a FlightTracker is another one of them) It's another perfect example of how well the Apple Watch works if the app/service on it requires you to not spend more than 10 seconds of interaction on the device.


10. Health apps are not mature enough yet
You know, the health & fitness features got promoted very heavily, but in general I don't really seem to get them. I haven't invested a lot of time in it, but the Apple Watch gives you daily statistics about how many calories you burned, your standing hours etc. - I haven't figured out how it works, because according to the Apple Watch I complete my 12 hour standing goal every single day, which is absolutely impossible.

It feels a little like a toy and not really like a serious health/fitness device. 


11. Nose Gestures
As mentioned above, the Apple Watch is a two handed device, while you can use your iPhone with just one hand. After a few weeks of using it I noticed that I encounter situations quite often where I have both hands occupied. I started using my nose quite often to navigate or pull down the notifications on the Apple Watch, sometimes I even do it because I'm just too lazy to free up my right hand (while holding a coffee cup for example) - It's an interesting for me to observe this because I never had a use case like this before.

12. Social Acceptance
The Apple Watch introduced something completely new to me. Whenever I'm talking to someone and my Apple Watch gives me a notification it's incredibly hard to resist to not look at your watch. It's interesting because it seems more socially acceptable to look at your iPhone (after it vibrated) than to look quietly at your watch. It's also important to mention that when your iPhone vibrates everyone experiences it and is aware that your attention is demanded, while the Apple Watch does it quietly.

Summary
I think the best summary I can give is this: If someone would take the Apple Watch away from me, I would not miss it.

Certainly I believe that smart watches are the future. In general the Apple Watch is a fantastic device that you might have, but definitely don't need the way you need your iPhone or laptop.

It's a matter of expectations and reading other reviews I believe that we haven't really understood the true positioning of the Apple Watch yet.

It's a passive & complementary device. It's not meant to replace any of your current devices, nor is it meant to disrupt your daily schedule. The functionality & performance will improve overtime.

The only thing I'm still unsure about is the fashion aspect to it - For those who love their watches will have a hard time adapting to the Apple Watch. But let's face it, this is up to the younger generation to decide - Traditional watches could be fading away within the next 20 years since the younger generation never grew up with an emotional attachment to traditional time pieces.


Thank you for reading,
Tobias
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PS: If you are using the Apple Watch, I would love to hear your feedback on Twitter. And of course, if you have questions just shoot me a tweet and I will answer it 100%.
If you have questions, please visit www.vanschneider.com or reach out on Twitter


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