I’ve abandoned my Apple Watch!
Back in October 2015, after having worn it for five days, I was singing the praises of my Apple Watch. While I admittedly could find nothing that useful about the device, I was still infatuated with its design and the sexy technology that it represented. At the time, I saw it as an upgrade from my non-smart watch. Today, my old watch is back on my wrist, my Apple Watch is for sale on Ebay, and I feel like a certain weight has been lifted. Here’s a brief rundown:
“Please stop bothering me.”
At first I saw the Apple Watch’s notifications as a blessing. I used to think, “Hey, now I don’t have to take my phone out of my pocket all the time!”. But over time I realized that the watch wasn’t making me less reliant on my phone, it was making my phone an ever-present fixture of my wrist, and eventually it became less and less welcome. Occasionally it was nice not to have to take out my phone, but for any notifications that I’d really want to respond to, the phone was still required. That was because basic input on the watch was still a joke given the absence of reliable voice recognition and no solution for tap-based input on such a small screen. In other words, more often than not, the Apple Watch was simply a reminder that it was time to take out my phone.
“Please stop wasting my time.”
Probably the most ironic flaw of this first version of the Apple Watch was how much time it could waste. While most of the common interactions I’d make, like checking the weather or reading a text, were relatively fast, they definitely weren’t much faster than just taking out my phone. The real kicker though was the occasional failure of the watch to do its primary job—tell me the fucking time. I’d glance down to see the time, only to find a blank screen because the sensor had failed to notice my movement. While these interactions were infrequent, their appearance began to accumulate in my mind and build resentment.
“Please come back when you’ve grown up.”
Bottom line? The Apple Watch in its current state isn’t very good at anything. It’s not a reliable substitute for my phone, it’s not a good health tracker, and it’s not even a very good watch. When Apple first announced the device, they frequently referred to it as “intimate” and “customizable”, but it fails on both of those counts as well. If I’m going to be wearing a device, I better damn well be able to control it completely. That means removing any and all apps that I don’t use, making the device sensitive to my wants and needs, and being able to communicate through it without being tethered to a larger screen.
All that being said, I still think there’s something to the idea of a smart watch and I’m sure these initial problems will eventually be solved. Underneath all of the annoyances and half-baked features, I still think that a device like the Apple Watch could some day make a decent replacement for a cellphone. Unfortunately, this version has demonstrated to me that we’re probably not even close.