I don’t love my Apple Watch, and that’s okay.
You don’t have to love something to use it every day.
You don’t love your toothbrush. You don’t love your microwave. You don’t love your keychain. But you use each of these and more on a daily basis. Same goes for my Apple Watch. I have used it almost every day for the past 6 months, but the novelty has worn off.
I was excited when Apple announced the watch, really, genuinely excited. And while I thought the base price of $400 was steep, I still wanted one. The marketing worked on me. The struggle of trying to justify purchasing one was real, but I couldn’t bring myself up to do it. I mean, the thing costs as much as an iPad mini 4, which would provide most of the same functions, albeit on a much larger and inconvenient size. Finally, my wife bought me one for my birthday.
When I was first unboxing it, I made a snapchat story with 2001: A Space Odyssey’s main theme song. I finally got the thing I thought would make my life easier, another gadget I could fiddle with on a daily basis for my entertainment. And while that was true for the first few weeks, I came to realize that maybe I don’t need a smartwatch after all.
The watch has a few core features:
- Text/call notifications (you can pick up a call and speak into your watch like something out of the Jetson’s or Star Trek)
- Telling time (apparently really accurately)
- Providing navigation (via a series of taps on your wrist for when to turn)
- Fitness (basic steps, workout, and standing which is apparently also important)
- Apple Pay (something I’ve yet to do on the watch)
- Drawing pictures and sending your heartbeat to send to other Apple Watch users, which I also haven’t done since virtually no-one in my circle of contacts has an Apple Watch
- Other notifications (Snapchat, Twitter, Weather, etc)
- Other features you’ll rarely use (timer, stopwatch, mail, controlling your phone’s music, photos for some reason)
Any time I get a new gadget of any kind, I truly try to put it through it’s paces (I’m one of those geeks that goes through my iPhone’s entire Settings options to see what’s where), and the same was true for the Apple Watch. I played around with voice dictation for messages, making/receiving phone calls, getting navigation, and more. But that was about it. The watch doesn’t do anything outside of what my iPhone can do, and beyond fitness tracking and notifications, I seldom use it for anything else.
I mean sure, it’s nice to see your texts pop up on the watch without having to pull your phone out of your pocket, but as soon as you start receiving multiple messages from multiple people, it’s easier to just pull out your phone and go from there.
And that’s why I don’t love my Apple Watch.
I could say I love my phone, obviously not in the same way I love my wife or a home cooked meal, but it brings massive amounts of utility into my life. The Apple Watch doesn’t add anything to that experience, and instead simply makes me aware that I need to check my phone when someone sends me a text or snapchat.
I don’t hate it, I put it on every morning.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the Apple Watch either. I’ve used a Samsung Gear and a Moto 360, both of which just felt like a cheap thing on my wrist that was clunky and inelegant. In the case of the first Samsung Gear (which came out before the Apple Watch), it felt a bit creepy knowing there was a small camera strapped to my wrist that could take photos of unsuspecting passers-by. The Apple Watch is a beautiful piece of hardware, one that even some use as a type of status symbol (in a pretentious, “I’m better than you” kind of way).
I still have to take it off every night and charge it, which makes it feel like it should be at least equivalent to my phone, and put it on every morning. There have been a few days when I forgot my watch at home, and my day was just fine. If I forget to grab my phone in the morning, it’s a whole different story. I leave work and go home to get my phone, but not my watch. Since I’ve been constantly wearing it for the past six months, it still feels like something is missing, and I still glance at my empty wrist from time to time, but it’s no big deal.
If the Apple Watch was waterproof, or had a battery that lasted more than a day or two, I might not take it off my wrist at all, but that’s not the case.
Do we really need smartwatches?
And the past six months have made me wonder. As a whole subset of tech, do we really need a smartwatch? After much searching online and looking at concept images, I’m not thoroughly convinced we’ve found a reason to need another gadget strapped to our wrist. I spend enough time as it is with my phone, and I still haven’t been able to find a use-case where a smartwatch is absolutely necessary to add to my life. Maybe it’s still a market or tech that’s still in it’s infancy, maybe it’s a thing we thought we needed from watching too many futuristic movies and shows, but we don’t really want it.
So for those of you who would ask “Should I buy a smartwatch?”, I would say the answer is “No, you shouldn’t”. If you have nothing else to spend at least $400 on (and I really don’t understand people who would spend more than that on the higher-end models which go up to $17,000) then yeah, go for it. But don’t expect a smartwatch to change your life.