I am a die hard defender of wearables.
Back in September when I made the switch (one I regret) to a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 from my dead iPhone 5, I decided to get a smartwatch.
After doing a bunch of research I decided to get the Samsung Gear Fit.
As I’ve written before, I absolutely love this thing. I paid $US107 for it and feel like it’s been worth every penny. Notifications are fantastic — short, sweet, comprehensive, customisable. It’s curved screen and bright display are stylish and attractive. Fitness tracking isn’t perfect, but very solid.
For $US100 this is a great smartwatch, and I don’t feel comfortable going anywhere without it.
Apple Watch reviews came out in full force on Wednesday and we’re getting our best viewpoint yet of what this thing is actually going to be like to use. Many of the reviews are largely sceptical and tip the scales negative.
I’ve read many of the reviews, and took their criticisms into account. If I am convinced of one thing it’s this: The Apple Watch is going to be amazing.
The Sport version of the Apple Watch is three times the price of my smartwatch, but packs 20 times the looks, 20 times the functionality, and 20 times the technology. It seems like a fantastic device.
Don’t blame Apple
I also think it’s worth noting that many reviewers criticisms are criticisms of wearables generally. This is a new way to communicate that lives with you, and it takes some getting used to.
Apple isn’t reinventing the wheel, it’s making the wheel gorgeous and fun.
For example, let’s take Joshua Topolsky’s comment at Bloomberg Business, noting how the buzzing on his wrist distracts and annoys him.
He says, “I’m in a meeting with 14 people, in mid-sentence, when I feel a tap-tap-tap on my wrist… A version of this happens dozens of times throughout the day — for messages, emails, activity achievements, tweets, and so much more. Wait a second. Isn’t the promise of the Apple Watch to help me stay in the moment, focused on the people around me and undisturbed by the mesmerising void of my iPhone? So why do I suddenly feel so distracted?”
This has very little to do with the actual Apple Watch and more just adjusting to the technology in general. Trust me, as someone who has used a smartwatch with notifications for the better part of a year, the buzzing is fantastic.
Lance Ulanoff noted and described the idea of “glances” very well in his review on Mashable. The point is to just see the notifications you want to see briefly without having to interact. It’s not about experiencing and dealing with a plethora of notifications, it’s about just acknowledging them and choosing to either do nothing or take action. It’s up to you — more choices, less fumbling.
We learned to deal with smartphones buzzing and distracting us, and we will learn to live with this invention as well. Not to mention the experience is customisable.
It’s all about perspective
Another great example is Re/Code’s Lauren Goode who says the Watch isn’t very fashionable. “Apple Watch strives for high fashion, but it still looks like a techie watch,” she noted.
In April 2015, that may be true. But what about all the people around the world who are already wearing these things? Isn’t it really a matter of perspective? The Apple Watch is clearly much more beautiful than my smartwatch or any of the other devices in the marketplace now.
I’m sure there were plenty of people in the 90s who thought glaring white headphones growing out of everyone’s ears were ugly and looked “techie.” Instead, it became a status symbol, one that helped build Apple’s brand to the pinnacle of consumer technology.
Much of the other criticisms of the Apple Watch at this stage have to do with early bugs, points which will more than likely be fixed within a few months.
It’s going to be huge
The Apple Watch may cost three times or more than my Samsung Gear Fit, but it seems so much better that it will likely justify the cost. As much as love the Gear Fit, it still can’t accept voice commands, use maps, or do a lot of the other things the Apple Watch can do. I love it to death, but I want more.
The best thing about owning a smartwatch is counter-intuitive. You add an extra device to your daily life to make gadgets take up less of your time in general. I choose what notifications I see, I take them in easily, and make a decision of how to react sooner.
Based on what I’ve learned using my Samsung watch, I can tell the Apple Watch needs to get on people’s wrists in order for them to see the real benefit of owning a wearable. I can see it becoming an irresistible device for anyone with an iPhone.