Apple has never released a perfect product.
The original iPhone was not very good at making phone calls. The iPhone 4 had issues with connectivity. For a long time, iMessage was unreliable for sending texts to non-Apple users. The company admitted after an extended period of silence that there’s a fault with the video cards in some MacBooks. And the batteries in early iPods weren’t up to scratch.
Some of these issues are trivial. But even small flaws in Apple products can blow up into out-of-control internet memes. (Remember when everyone thought the iPhone 6 Plus would bend if you sit on it?)
So as Apple prepares for its biggest product launch in years with the launch of the Apple Watch today, we decided to look at some of the issues we could see with the ambitious new device. These are the issues we’re hoping today’s launch will address.
How long does the battery last?
Apple has been cagey about exactly how long the battery of its watch will last. The current estimate is around 24 hours. That means you won’t be able to wear it all day and keep it on at night to track your sleep too.
Apple Watch apps are designed to be used for about 10 seconds at a time. Try and use a bunch of apps for longer and you could see your battery plummet. And if the battery on your Apple Watch runs out, then it won’t be able to tell the time, and will be a thick chunk of metal wrapped around your wrist.
Will the screen get scratched easily?
The glass front of the Apple Watch is made with sapphire crystal, as Apple employee Richard Howarth pointed out in the New Yorker’s recent profile of Jony Ive. That’s a tough material — but it won’t resist every single scratch and dent. If people start seeing their Apple Watch getting scratched then you can be sure they will kick up a fuss.
Here’s a run-down of the differences between sapphire glass and normal mineral glass:
People are upset that it doesn’t fit under the sleeve of a shirt
A writer for the watch blog Hodinkee tried out the Apple Watch at Apple’s original unveiling of the watch last year, and came away with a very different impression than technology writers did. Author Benjamin Clymer looked at the device from the point of view of a watch expert versed in handling high-end devices. One of his gripes was that it’s not easy to fit the Apple Watch under the cuff of your shirt. It’s a thick device, and you can’t just slip it under your sleeve. “I believe that great design should not disrupt daily life,” he said, “and a watch that doesn’t fit under a shirt sleeve is missing something.”
Will people have allergic reactions or get rashes?
The trouble with wearables is that you actually have to wear them. The Apple Watch isn’t designed to be stowed in a pocket like your phone – it’s going to be sat on your wrist all day. That means that it’s in contact with your skin for hours every day.
Wearable fitness tracker company Fitbit knows all too well the problems that come with developing wearables – its product line has been repeatedly accused of causing itchy red rashes on wearers.
We still don’t know exactly what causes the Fitbit rashes. It’s likely either a reaction from people wearing the device while sweating, or a material in the strap reacting with sensitive skin. Either way, Apple see the same problem with its watch.
It will be a target for “Apple-picking” thieves
The gold, high-end Apple Watch Edition could cost anything from $US4,500 through to $US20,000. Apple hasn’t announced the price of its gold smartwatch yet, but we can guess that it’s going to be expensive. Apple products are always targets for thieves, and an 18 karat gold smartwatch costing a five-figure sum could become a dangerous thing to wear on your wrist.
Will it be waterproof?
It’s not yet clear whether the Apple Watch will be totally waterproof, or just water resistant, but you won’t be able to jump in the pool with your watch on.
Tim Cook was overhead telling employees at an Apple Store in Germany that he wears his Apple Watch in the shower. That’s a change from when the device was first announced, and Apple told journalists that it was ok for sweating and washing your hands, but not suitable for direct immersion.
Someone is bound to assume that because the watch can be worn in the shower, it’s ok to wear everywhere. No doubt they will post a photo of their ruined Apple Watch and blame Apple.
People will lose them
Lots of people absent-mindedly take their watches on and off while working or doing physical activity. Sometimes they forget all about them and leave them at the coffee shop. That’s not a problem if you leave behind a cheap £20 watch you picked up on Amazon, but leaving an Apple Watch in public will be an expensive mistake.