I feel quite strongly at this point that smart watches really need to be made by the platform owner to be worth a damn. For the iPhone, that means the Apple Watch is the only smart watch with a shot at success. Third parties like Pebble (RIP) and Withings can try, but they will never be able to make something that taps into iOS in a meaningful way. Like wise, only smartwatches that run Android Wear are worth considering for those using Android phones. Pebble-style watches and Fitbit’s sorta-smart watches just don’t stand up.
Two years ago today, I was sitting at home, waiting for UPS to deliver the device I had spent years waiting for Apple to make. After years of using a Pebble and being very impressed with Apple’s September 2014 demo of the Apple Watch, I was amped up for this. It was a Friday, and I took the day off of work so I could be at home all day to make sure I didn’t miss the delivery. UPS’s website assured me it was “Out for delivery” all day, but the hours ticked by, my Twitter feed filling up with people unboxing their Apple Watches. I was growing a little worried.
Popular app Overcast was updated yesterday and it was the most exciting update I’ve seen in a long time to a podcast app. This update added the ability for users to load podcast episodes directly onto the Apple Watch. This is a big deal, and is something I’ve been waiting years for at this point. This means I can finally bring my Apple Watch with me on runs, and keep my iPhone at home!
While Apple did little of what I asked them for last year, I still think watchOS 3 was a great update to the platform. The most significant change was of course with performance, as those who felt their original Apple Watches were slow got a big speed upgrade.
I think a problem with advertising smart watches is that the things they do best are not particularly “sexy” features. I love getting texts on my wrist, and I triage my personal email extremely well from the watch as well. Unlocking my MacBook without lifting a finger is a dream. Checking the Weather on my watch is incredibly simple and almost always everything I need. Even having Siri on my wrist is a huge asset.