I didn’t actually see Apple’s big reveal of the iWatch (or whatever they’re calling it), but I’ve caught a lot of the commentary afterwards and I’m not too enthused. I have a Pebble currently, which I’ve very happy with, but even if that broke, I probably wouldn’t get an iWatch and here’s why.
Ok, before I get too far, there’s ultimately one main reason I won’t get an iWatch, which is that I don’t have an iPhone. I’m not an Apple hater – when my iPad breaks, I will absolutely get another one – but when it comes to phones, Android has a couple of things that I really like, so I’ll probably never switch.
With that out of the way, there are still three reasons that I would not be buying an iWatch, even if I did have an iPhone.
1. Battery life
Now, admittedly nothing was mentioned on the subject of battery life in the announcement, but you’ve got to assume that if it was good, they’d have said that. I get about 4 or 5 days out of my Pebble and I’m pretty happy with that; there is no way I would switch to something that had to be charged every night. If nothing else, I like to wear my watch over night, as the vibrating alarm doesn’t wake my wife in the morning. Maybe we’re not giving Apple enough credit on this one, but I suspect this is a big sticking point.
2. It’s trying to do too much
Kudos to Apple for trying to take the smartwatch to the next level, with the ability to respond to texts and such like, but actually that’s not really something I want in a smartwatch. I want my watch to be an unobtrusive presence in my life, alerting me to stuff or allowing me to perform actions with a couple of button presses. If I want to do anything more, I will use my actual phone; I’m sure I can type quicker using two hands than just one.
To me, the acid test is, “Can I do a particular task more easily on my wrist or my phone?” Receiving notifications? Easier on my wrist; I just have to glance down. Send a text? Easier on my phone; two hands vs one, as mentioned above. Music controls? Easier on my wrist; pretty much the same amount of messing, but no need to get phone out. Browsing the internet? Easier on my phone; bigger screen and faster typing.
3. There are a lot of gimmicks that rely on other users.
Some of the things that were touted as features – the ability to send a little picture to someone (as Facebook friends and celebrities alike have pointed out, mainly penises at the start), use it as a walkie talkie, send your heartbeat to someone (creepy or romantic… you decide) – rely on someone else being on the receiving end. I know maybe one or two people who will get an iWatch immediately… maybe. I know perhaps half a dozen that will get one in the long run if the price comes down a bit. I certainly won’t know enough people with iWatches for these gimmicky features to be anything more than that.
In conclusion… I’m sure that smartwatches will become pretty mainstream over the next few years; not as ubiquitous as mobile phones, but not uncommon. I’m also sure that Apple will be a major competitor in the market, as they are with phons and tablets. I’m just not sure that the iWatch is going to be the breakout device that the iPod, iPhone and iPad were.