Steve Jobs wouldn't have approved that

So Apple finally releases their watch, huh?

It was probably a device with so much hype, rumours, and expectations — especially with Android Wear gaining traction lately. But after it was announced in the Keynote, I wasn't very impressed. Just like others, I had expectations for the iWatch (or Apple Watch as it’s called now). I was expecting it to do new stuff, change the way smartwatches are (like what the iPhone did to phones), or perhaps look more like the concept designs available online.

External Looks

Based on external looks, it’s not that bad. Initially it looked pretty plastic-y to me. However, there are nicer designs with different materials and watch straps, which is a good plus point. 18-karat gold or stainless steel + classic buckles, link bracelet, or leather loop. I personally like the Watch Edition version.

The Apple Watch uses a Digital Crown (the tiny button on normal watches that are used to set the time) to navigate in addition to touch interaction. That’s new for a smartwatch but I'm not sure how good a choice that is. It may be natural for a watch, but I wouldn't want to navigate with some external button on my homescreen when I can just touch it.

Interface Design

We have seen the iOS6 design. We have seen the iOS7 design. Now, what on earth is this?

It’s probably one of the most uninspiring, unimpressive, and unappealing designs I have seen from Apple. As a UI designer who likes Apple’s interface design, I’m really disappointed. I’m failing to understand why they didn’t use the design patterns from iOS7 and OSX Yosemite for the Apple Watch.

Using design patterns from iOS7 would have made Apple users feel at home with the watch. That this is a product that they’ve always been interacting with. It’s part of ‘the collection’. But, the UI is real disappointing and not something I would have expected from Apple.

Having too much on one screen

Imagine this: You’re driving to work and you’re in a rush. You glance at your watch to see what meetings you have today. And you get a whole bunch of text to read on a small screen (and you’re driving!).

People don’t have the time to read everything on their watch, that’s what phones and computers are for. A wearable needs to give you the right information and the right time — not so much text on a small screen. Google did this really well with Android Wear — limited amount of text, contextual information, and easy to read.

Watchfaces, watchfaces

There are loads of watchfaces, but there’s nothing visually attractive (at least to me). I hope Apple allows custom watchfaces or create more attractive watchfaces. There are some watchfaces with so much information on it (date, time, weather, appointments, etc). There’s no real reason to fit everything into a small screen, or at least if they should have designed it well.

Having a background photo may make it look nicer but it also makes it obvious that there is so much extra space between the screen and the edge of the watch. An edge-to-edge display like the Moto 360 would have made the watch look nicer. To be honest, it looks like the Galaxy Gear to me.

Final thoughts

It’s hard to have a good review of a product without actually using it, especially for Apple products (you need to feel it because images are failing to make us go ‘wow!’ anymore).

The entire product looked pretty rushed and unfinished. Like Apple just launched a product for the sake of it because their competitors have all gone into the wearable scene and they wouldn’t want to lose out by launching theirs too late. Since it’s only releasing early next year, I hope they do something about the unattractive and uninspiring interface design.

Signing off with the actual first words that came into my mind when I saw the watch:

Steve Jobs wouldn’t have approved that.
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