Dubbed their most personal product to date, the hype surrounding Apple’s announcement of its first wearable gadget, the Apple Watch, was unprecedented. Before the release, there was apprehensive discussion as to what exactly the Apple Watch would offer, apart from telling the time. Would it be, as cynical commentators argued, just an iPhone for your wrist? Well, sort of.
As well as the ability to make calls, send messages, and access apps, the watch apparently innovates sensory technology, allowing you to simply swipe to view your applications, as well as send drawings, and even (somewhat eerily) the sound of your own heartbeat, to your contacts. Its main new features are the fitness tracker, and Apple Pay, a contactless way to transfer money, already being accepted in McDonalds and American pharmacy Walgreens.
There’s been a significant amount of buzz and discussion around the release in the Igloo office, and each of us have shared our first thoughts on the Apple Watch. It’s a bit of a mixed bag.
Back in July 2013, Pebble demonstrated the worldwide appeal for a smartwatch by crowdfunding a staggering $10 million via Kickstarter. Despite the huge potential market, it’s taken the big names over a year to catch up and create their versions.
Although I can see the Apple Watch being incredibly useful in many cases – I love the thought of accessing messages and maps while cycling, and I’ve got nothing against wearable technology – I still can’t see myself getting this: The screen goes blank after a few seconds so you can’t actually check the time without two hands, plus I’m also worried that this will look like a mountain on my skinny geek wrists.
Finally, watching the use videos online, I can’t help but be reminded of the Macbook Wheel… I’m sure I’ll be wearing a smartwatch in a year’s time, but I don’t think they’ve sorted it yet.
We have come to expect ground-breaking new products from Apple and this watch doesn’t deliver on that promise, instead it fits in neatly with pre-existing products.
I think it’s interesting that they have attempted to make a much fuller and more usable operating system for the Apple Watch than the Android Wear has, but in the demos the combination of different ways of interacting with the device combined with the small screen make it look very complicated to use.
Ultimately it doesn’t look as good as the Moto 360, it doesn’t seem to be as easy to use as any Android Wear device, it doesn’t appear to be properly waterproof, and there is no news on battery life, which is the major problem these devices are struggling to overcome. When was the last time that an Apple product felt so second best?
Bel, Digital Marketing:
I can imagine that the Apple Watch will only be popular amongst real gadget fans. It seems to be an add on to your iPhone, something for the really hardcore techies to get involved in. It’s the sort of thing you’ll wave in the face of your friends for a few months to impress them, then eventually get bored of. Either that or it will really take off and nobody will bother giving their iPhone a second glance.
I think Apple have certainly kept to their reputation of innovation with this one, in terms of the connection to your heartbeat, and its ability to differentiate between a touch and a press. But call me a traditionalist, but I think I’d just like my watch to tell the time, not do my dishes.
Ben, Senior Graphic Designer:
My first impressions are not great to be honest, and I am usually a fan of Apple products. My main issue is with the aesthetics which I certainly didn’t expect from them and the ease of use looks to be a problem, although I will reserve complete judgement on that. I love watches and in my opinion the more functional (read clean) the better. Whilst some of the features look impressive, it seems bizarre to me that you would need your iPhone at all times to make it work. I can think of many occasions I want a watch, but not my phone.
I think I will stick to my Braun thank you Apple.
Tom, Web Developer:
I have no doubt that people will love the new expensive & uninspiring watch recently released by Apple. It looks cheap, it’s complicated to use and has no real use, what more could you want? It doesn’t even have infrared, give me one of those bad boys any day!
Hannah, Graphic Design Intern:
How can something so small do so much?! It is an impressive addition to the Apple products, although there is certainly a lot going on. The watch is slick and has a very ‘Apple’ look to it, however it seems quite overcomplicated for a ‘user-friendly’ watch, almost as if they are trying to pack too much into it. The changeable straps do make it wearable for a range of occasions, which I think will be a success. They have kept the battery life quiet which suggests it isn’t that great. We’ll have to wait and see…
What do you think about the release of the Apple Watch?