The Apple Watch’s Usefulness And Why I Still Wear A Watch


I didn’t actually watch Apple’s keynote but I just spent the last few minutes pouring over the official feature page for the Apple Watch. I gotta be straight here: I really can imagine a dimension where I own one and it has a tangible effect on my life. This is coming from someone who actually still wears a watch however.

Maybe this might start to highlight some differences between myself and a lot of other people I see use portable tech. I have to go into why I even still wear watches (it isn’t as jewelry). For starters, Apple seems to have nailed what iOS functions I would want to have on my wrist.

Basically, I really value the two-second difference between looking at my wrist and pulling a phone out of my pocket. I still wear a watch probably because I was accustomed to doing so before cell phones came along. Maybe I’m part of the very last generation of people to regularly wear watches.

My dad got me one of those high-functionality military watches when I was around 10 years old, and I’ve worn them ever since. I’m talking about the digital kind you really don’t see most people wear — the ones that are all function, no fashion. The watches I’ve worn over the years have included the time, the date, the day of the week, an alarm, and other functions. They’re the main way I even remind myself what day of the week it is. By the time phones with clocks came along I guess my brain was already too wired around wristwatches. Whenever I don’t have my watch I feel like pulling my phone out of my pocket is a hassle. And that’s really what the Apple Watch is all about I think: shaving off that two seconds when checking for really quick but vital information.

What I’m mostly talking about is the kind of stuff that shows up on your widgets when you swipe down on your iPhone screen. I’d love to get the weather on my watch, as well as texts, my calendar, twitter responses, and all kinds of quick alerts. I can imagine it right now: a text message vibrates on my wrist instead of my pocket, I look at it and determine whether or not it’s worth pulling out my phone right then and there. I hate having to pull my phone all the way out and tap an app just to look up the weather (I don’t know why Apple took away the official weather widget from previous iOS versions).

This is going to work as a sort of compartmentalization of functions for each device. I say this as a 6 Plus owner. I didn’t get the 6 Plus as a phone, but rather a tablet that fits in my pocket. When I take the trouble to bring it out it’s because I want to read or watch something for an extended period of time. With an Apple Watch, the 6 Plus is definitely where I would continue to read the news, read books, and watch YouTube. It’s a device for serious usage that happens to fit in my pocket in my experience. It may be something to casually pull out for short bursts for most people, but I personally think a smartwatch is better for that. Maybe Apple is aiming the Watch at some diminishing niche audience of 2015 watch-wearers of which I’m a tail-end member.

I guess I could be a bit worried that the Apple Watch might not look rugged enough. I would have every intention of taking it outside and generally doing physical activities while wearing it. Maybe this is one area where Apple might have to let go of its sleek-but-delicate design for at least one model. I don’t like bulky iPhone covers but I wouldn’t mind a bulkier, waterproof Apple Watch. I’ve never work watches for fashion though.

Games? That may or may not come. There’s already a Gamasutra article on it. It’s obvious smartwatch games would have to be a completely different breed, built for even shorter bursts of time than phone games. I’m sure someone can figure out something fun to do on a watch for 15 seconds at a time.

Now I do have to qualify all this by saying I could definitely see myself with an Apple Watch if I already had $350 lying around that I really didn’t need. It’s fairly far down the list of things I want for around $400, but it’s on there.


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