Today Karen and I tried on the Apple Watch at the Apple store in Tampa. I made an appointment and we were called right on time. It was very crowded in the store with people lining up to try out the Apple Watch and see the new MacBooks.
Fit and finish on the Apple Watch was very good. We tried the stainless, leather, Milanese Loop, and sport bands. All fit well and were comfortable. The sport band, surprisingly, did not feel cheap. There is enough of a selection to make just about anyone happy.
The try on is very scripted and was more about choosing a watchband than an intro into the user interface.
After the try-on we were directed to another spot with working demo models to get some hands on. These demo watches were locked down in a stand and could not be worn.
I wish I could say that the user interface felt Apple like, but it didn’t. It felt like going back in time—way back to a time before the iPhone.
The main limitation to touch interaction is the small size of the display. To overcome this Apple added a scrolling “crown” and a pushbutton on the side. I’m sure that after a while their operation would become intuitive. But, to me, the button and scroll wheel seemed to get in the way of making things happen. It felt to me like one button (or scroll wheel) too many. They’re openings in the case which are hard to waterproof. And they’re potential points of mechanical failure.
I get that this as much about fashion as it is tech. I get that the scroll wheel is an homage to the crown on a conventional watch. What would Steve Jobs say about that? What would he say about the microscopic app icons vomited up on screen without any sense of order? Couldn’t you have made it cleaner?
Maybe it’s time for Apple to do a watch, everyone else is.
The Apple Watch comes with the following apps: Messages, Phone, Mail, Calendar, Activity, Workout, Maps, Passbook, Siri, Music, Camera Remote, Remote, Weather, Stocks, Photos, Alarm, Stopwatch, Timer, World Clock, and Settings. There are probably a thousand apps ready and waiting in the App Store. Oh, and it tells the time.
Apple, historically has been about what it’s products didn’t do. They purposely left out features and reduced the thing to the absolute core. They did one thing, and they did that one thing very very well. The Apple Watch doesn’t feel like that. It feels like it’s trying to do too many things at once, it feels unfocused—like it’s still looking for that “killer app.”
I won’t be buying the Apple Watch.
On the plus side, I got to get my hands on the new MacBook. The thing is thin, light, and has a gorgeous retina display. It’s the future of the laptop. I’m very impressed, and I will be buying one in Space Grey.