The Watch Review for you from me: 12 cool things, 20 annoyances, and 4 startup ideas.
Here goes. I kept notes since I got the Watch. I got the watch in late May.
The first night
Box it ships in is discreet. Didn’t think to open it.
It’s early! They said July and I’m getting it late May.
The white box inside is huge and over the top.
Tiny watch. Thin. I thought it would be chunky. It isn’t. I got the bigger one even.
The Milanese loop. So good. It fits better than any watch ever and goes on more easily. They made a better basic watch than all those Swiss idiots. And that’s before it’s even ON.
Loooong charger cable. Where do they think I’m putting this thing? Nightstand?
Powers on. It was nearly fully charged in the box.
Pairing…Bluetooth…then amazing camera-space pairing. Wow. That was dope.
First Siri try is slow. Really slow. Siri comes up slowly then listens slowly then renders slowly then…handoff? Why? Just tell me the answer.
Kid takes phone. “I want games. I want games. I want games”. No games really.
The watch should talk. Why doesn’t it talk back? It supposedly has a speaker for phone calls.
Siri is an important interface here. But does it do enough? It does much less than on the phone. No screen feedback. And some actions it won’t try — no Notes for example.
No other setup. No wifi no anything. That is amazing. I paired it. It downloaded some info from the iPhone and it’s basically just on. No prompts or walkthrough or anything. OK it’s simple but on the other hand where is the razzle dazzle?
The health thing already knew everything about me. That’s neat. Data from the HealthKit app which I actually use often (it counts your stair climbing steps and nothing else seems to).
Ah. Glances are the bottom tray. Notifications are the top tray. OK. That was super confusing and it’s the only truly new UI idea in the watch. The Glances just living down there like Widgets from the Desktop/Dashboard days.
Twitter is too wordy for iWatch. We need 40 character messaging. Or all pictures.
Arm gets tired super fast! Cannot use the watch for more than a few minutes at a stretch to explore it.
Where do I get that awesome Mickey Mouse watch face??
Discovered you can force touch the face. Of course. Well when can I do that? Anytime? Is that a right click? So far only the Watch app seems to care about a force touch, and action that is not really logical here. The watch has onscreen buttons and two physical buttons — they don’t do enough to require this additional concept in my view.
The right button below the crown…does only one thing. Launches a People view that lets you message or call them. Great. Favorites menu. Nice. But this is truly not something I am ever going to use. I never phone my favorite people, and while I do message them I mostly message in other apps not in Apple’s iMessage. So…why would I open this app at all much less constantly? It has its own hardware button!
Next version will obviously have…
//It’s the next day now //
Maps and directions while driving on the phone-watch. Awesome. Completely amazing — I see my wrist while driving. Perfectly in context.
Apps like Evernote — horrible! So slow!
The new Charger type is annoying. Everyone has lots of iPhone chargers. And all around our house we have them for iPads and stuff.
We were out taking a family selfie and holy crap the Camera app is insanely good. You can see what the phone sees. You can press to shoot or trigger a timer. You can set up the phone or give it to some bystander and literally compose the shot you want. Amazing. So good.
Its battery died the first day I was using it, though I had started the AM at 50% on battery life. The reserve mode kicked in and didn’t seem to extend the life much at all. Honestly not a big deal. Can’t tell the time? Yeah right. That doesn’t matter. The accessory use cases for the phone only matter if your phone has charge. And I doubt the watch will ever fail to outlast the phone again after today. In the week since, I never went to bed with the watch below 50% but my iPhone often close to zero late in a day.
// One day later. //
Missing feature I’m really noticing. The watch is paired to my main phone. I have a second one — ok maybe that’s weird. But I want stuff from there. And at home I am not big on carrying my phone. We have a few iPads. I grab whichever is handy. But the watch doesn’t recognize any of them or help me with them. We totally need multi pairing. This is kind of like when AirTunes didn’t let you play through all speakers at the same time.
// Four days later //
Latency on screenfuls kills. The NYT app would be great if it already had the data I wanted. Waiting 2–4s is way too long. My arm gets tired and I only had a 10s session planned.
Content on the app is too minimal. I need more. Nothing to read or learn on there.
Showered with it. Fine.
// 7 more days later. //
Did some more driving / maps. Why is the phone blinking in and announcing stuff when I am already monitoring the directions on my watch? Why doesn’t the watch speak? It is nearer to my head while I drive than my phone is. Can’t switch to a context mode while on the watch — like seeing the overview to consider an alternate route. Why not? The screen is good enough.
Someone tells me he does quick phone calls on his. I’m like what? It supports phone calls? I might have made 10–15 phone calls today in the 10 days I have had the Watch. Phone is not a use case I care about.
Monster hole. You cannot dictate to the Watch. There is no app that will simply let you touch a button and start recording audio. Why not? Why does it need to transcode things to text? It has 2GB of onboard memory.
The music playlist thing is an antiquity. I have no music on my iTunes or iPhone or anything. The hard drive that had all my MP3s died or something and I literally haven’t had time to figure out what went wrong. So: no music. How can I use music with the watch? I do not see Rhapsody or Spotify or whatever yet in the “supports Watch” list. I read the watch can pair to speakers with Bluetooth and stream them music it has stored onboard. That sounds amazing! But I have no music on it.
Can the watch AirPlay stuff to a screen? My pictures? A PowerPoint? Anything at all but music? That seems quite cool.
The Remote app? I haven’t been able to get it connect to my Mac yet. It is so slow it times out every time. Maybe it is the old Mac’s fault. But it is quite slow.
Bluetooth is insanely underused on the Watch. Everything Bluetooth needs to be controlled by the Watch RIGHT NOW.
Photos. Now this one I hoped for as a really sweet screensaver-watch face thing. Not so. About 7–8 photos from my Phone are on my Watch. But…how? Which? I have yet to figure out how it chooses what to put there. Not the Hearted ones either as a few are crappy. Hmm.
Apps are slow. They launch slow and get data slow and do not launch with any data/UI pre-canned. All wrong. iOS apps throw up a splash screen while they launch. Watch apps throw up a progress wheel.
For example the speed of Evernote. Launch. 20 seconds pass. The screen shuts off! Then I restart the screen and it’s in Watch mode again. Dammit. Launch Evernote again. Ah there we are. Press plus and…ah good. Dictation. I start talking. 15 seconds in…screen goes off. Argh. Ok touch Crown again to reopen and Evernote is still there thank god. But my dictation is lost. This time I press plus and say less. Ok. Put my arm down while Siri thinks. Raise arm… App is gone again. Dictation gone again. Crap. OK once more I dictate one word — “test” and Siri thinks for 10s then screen off and it’s gone again. This is not what I pictured for taking a quick note.
So far it is very clear that ALL the apps people have made for the Watch are terrible. There are a few from Apple that are good.
The biggest conclusion here is we have to wait for (or make) the really great uses of the Watch because they don’t exist yet.
Update after today’s WWDC.
Lots of big changes to make things like the microphone work better, the Watch faces more interesting, pictures more accessible.