The Apple Watch gets a lot of criticism for being slow, for having a weird interface, and a mess of other things, but I still love mine. The fact that I love my Apple Watch doesn’t mean that the criticisms are wrong, however. There are plenty of tech products out there are are viewed as underwhelming by the majority of people, but are loved by a group of avid users. So that’s not why I feel bullish about the Apple Watch and smart watches like it in the future.
It’s hard to judge a first generation anything, because the first generation is never the best version of that thing. Technology isn’t like the movies where they really nail it on the first try and the sequels never quite live up to the original. Technology is iterative, and things generally get better with time. So when we’re talking about the Apple Watch, let’s remember that this is as bad as it’s ever going to be.
And still, in its current state, the Apple Watch is better than my iPhone at doing some tasks. I much prefer it as a workout companion with apps like Strava and Apple’s own Workouts apps being more convenient than pulling my phone out doing a run or bike ride to check my status. It’s faster and better at setting timers than my iPhone. It’s better at delivering my notifications in a subtle and silent way so I can only use my phone if I absolutely need to. It’s better at getting the weather for me, as it’s instant with a watch face compilation, and nearly as fast when going into the Dark Sky or Carrot apps. And when I go to pay at a store that supports Apple Pay, you had better believe I’m paying with my wrist, not my phone.
The Apple Watch can do a lot more, but I find most other things slower or less reliable than doing on my phone. Overcast for example, is an Apple Watch app that I don’t use because it’s not very capable and it just makes me want to pull out my phone every time I use it. If it had the ability to be better, I’d move most of my Overcast usage to the Watch. There are plenty of apps like that, where it’s just a matter of being a little more capable, a little faster, and a little more reliable, between me moving their entire workflows to my wrist.
The Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) is in 2 weeks, and they’ll almost certainly be showing off the new Apple Watch along with watchOS 3. If Apple can address the (sometimes serious) shortcomings of the current Apple Watch, I think you’ll see a lot more people singing its praises in 2016 than you did last year. By iterating again and again moving forward, smart watches will only get better over time.
Today the number one reason people (iPhone owners specifically) don’t own an Apple Watch is because they don’t see the value it provides. As they keep improving the platform in the coming years, we’ll soon get to a point where the top reason people don’t own one is simply because they don’t like wearing a watch.