After Apple announced the Apple Watch, people from the press were allowed some time to briefly test it.
The snap reactions aren’t great. The consensus seems to be that the watch is confusing to use.
These aren’t full reviews, of course. Perhaps when people wear a watch for a week it becomes easier to use. And perhaps after a week of use it seems indispensable. For now, though, here’s what people are saying.
- Stephen Pulvirent at Bloomberg: “Since the first Apple Watch announcement in September 2014, Apple has been touting the digital crown as a groundbreaking interface that will set the Apple Watch apart from its competition. So how is it in practice? On first use, the device felt a little confusing and clumsy. Sometimes it seemed to do one thing; at other times, just the opposite. The display doesn’t use the familiar pinch-to-zoom gesture used on the iPhone and it seems like the interplay between tapping, swiping, and turning the crown will take some getting used to.”
- Nilay Patel at The Verge: “First things first: it is really confusing to have both the Digital Crown and the communications button next to each other on the side. As I tried to navigate the Watch interface, I found myself pressing one or both several times, without knowing which one would take me to the home screen, back out of an app, or launch a feature. Coming from the traditional iOS paradigm of a single home button that always takes you home, it’s a notable difference. I’m sure tech nerds will quickly categorize the buttons into types of actions, but for everyone else, it’s just two buttons that aren’t particularly well differentiated.”
- Scott Stein at CNET: “Sometimes it was hard to figure out whether to click the crown or bottom button, or whether to swipe or tap. But the interface in the demo room generally ran smooth … But, there are plenty of big, unanswered questions: can the interface work without being confusing? Even with my smartwatch experience, there are a lot of taps, swipes, turns and twists involved in the Apple Watch. Nested apps and glanceable apps and double-clicks could confuse a lot of people. It’s advanced stuff … Finally, will the apps transform the watch? The handful seen at Yerba Buena showed some promise, but didn’t instantly wow. There are tons of opportunities for Apple Watch to reel in killer apps, and it will need them to make people take interest. It’s the biggest still-undetermined part of the equation. And will you even want this watch? I’m not fully convinced. The Apple Watch looks complicated, despite claims of simplicity. Will it be as easy and fun to use as Apple wants it to be?”
- Geoffrey Fowler at WSJ: “How might Apple Watch change my life? From what I’ve seen, it might save me time. It is a second screen — a little wrist-worn sidekick to the iPhone. But as the iPhone increasingly demands attention, distracting me more and more throughout the day, I am hoping for a gatekeeper. The Apple Watch could be the device that lets me leave my phone in my pocket, and still not miss anything important … Learning to operate the watch will take some time. It has its own set of taps, swipes and pushes that don’t always match what you’ve done on your phone. You swipe up from the bottom to see ‘glances’ of information like the weather, and turn the dial on the side to zoom in and out of maps.”
- Matt Rosoff at Business Insider: “It’s complicated. That’s my first and strongest takeaway after an hour of watching Apple employees demonstrate the new Apple Watch to other reporters, followed by a 15-minute demonstration on my own wrist. For instance, there are more than 2 million settings for the actual clock on the watch. You can set the main clock face, add up to four “complications” (an unfortunate word, but standard in the watch industry) in the corners for things like the date and phase of the moon, and change colours and shapes of each item on the face.”
- Christina Bonnington at Wired: “I’m cautiously optimistic to give the Watch a longer go, whenever review units become available. It does seem, for now, that it accomplishes a number of traditional smarwatch tasks in a more simple, and certainly more beautiful way. But needing to charge every day, with its 18-hour battery life, is still a bummer, and I wonder about how slowly third party apps will update over Bluetooth and Wi-fi. These are things we’ll look out for once we’re able to do a full review.”
- Farhad Manjoo at the New York Times: “The electronic watch face is a bit chunky compared with the high-end band, so the overall impression is one of a mash-up between jewelry and gadgets. I’m reminded of the first-generation iPad or iPhone: The Apple Watch may look a bit more stylish than any other techie watch you can buy, but I can’t help but dream about the third- or fourth-generation version, when everything is likely to become smaller, thinner, tighter and more elegant.”