After waiting about 2 months for my new Apple Watch, I was excited to receive it on a Friday evening last month.
I had been traveling extensively working very hard in a rural community in Iowa getting my parents moved from the farm into Independent Living, so I needed to come back to the 21st century and a new gadget to play with. I devoted my weekend (or at least part of it) to really getting to know the new member of MY Apple family. (I have an iPhone, iPad, Macbook Pro, Thunderbolts, etc. – We are all Apple.)
My wife suggested that if I really wanted an Apple Watch, that the lower cost watches were really back ordered (this was two months ago), but the ones that were a little more expensive I could get sooner. So, I went that route.
I ordered the Apple Watch 42mm Stainless Steel Case with Milanese Loop for $699. By the time I ordered Apple Care and other accessories it came close to $850. (On top of the $600+ I paid for my iPhone.)
The watch was easy enough to pair to my iPhone and to get up and running without reading any directions / instructions (which is mandatory for me to use a new product – It’s just not in my DNA to read instructions in advance). I was able to get my American Express loaded into the Watch as well as my Starbucks Card, so I proceeded to put it on and go try it out.
The first thing that I noticed when going to Starbucks is that it wasn’t as simple as just touching the watch to their scanner.
I had to open the Passbook by double clicking and they had to scan the card. I was able to use the Tap and Pay portion of the watch at Walgreens without much hassle (well I had to tap it on their terminal about five times before it went – a delayed watch transaction at the Point of Sale is like someone writing a check in line these days – the looks you get). At Starbucks I have been using my iPhone for over a year, so I am comfortable paying via Passbook. I opened the Passbook for Starbucks (which is automatically refilled from my American Express), they scan it and the transaction is complete. The watch didn’t offer anything more than being maybe five feet closer to the Starbucks window (and an oooh and aaah for my Starbucks barista).
In order to really give the watch a chance, I decided to get my laptop, go up in a quiet part of the house and watch all of Apples instructional videos. As I watched the videos, I played with the watch to make sure I had the same experience. I learned that you could speak to the watch to send a text message. (Which was driving my wife nuts downstairs as I was playing with the watch.) My wife came up stairs and said, “You know you could do that on your iPhone already, right!”. So the instructional videos were not teaching me about the Apple Watch, but the Apple platform that I had already purchased.
During the week, I continued to wear the watch, but one of the biggest things that I noticed is that when I was getting dressed in the morning to go to the office, instead of me being able to put on my somewhat expensive watch (that I wore as a fashion accessory, not to tell time), I couldn’t now wear the watch and the Apple Watch (maybe that fashion statement hasn’t floated down to my level yet). It became a fight in my top door of accessories what was going on my wrist that day.
I decided to wear it religiously for at least the first week anywhere that I went.
One thing that I noticed is that I my iPhone and Apple Watch had to be together anyway. Items that I could do on my new Apple Watch, could be done on my iPhone anyway. (But were much more readable on the iPhone.) I often found myself straining to read the content or using an app on the Apple Watch, and that my iPhone was sitting underneath my wrist on the table anyway. Just as a side note, one of my professional colleagues (from a large fortune 100 company) was arguing with me that the Apple Watch is fully functional without the iPhone. He quickly realized after we took the iPhone away, that the Apple Watch stopped working. In brainstorming, although the platform was fantastic, we really had a challenge wrapping our heads around the cost to put the platform in the hands of Chronic Care patients (our area of speciality). I am accustomed to trying to get device and connectivity costs as low as possible to be used in the 20% of patients that consume 80% of healthcare costs (typically indigent and elderly). Thus, we are looking at devices that cost under $100 and connectivity per month as little as 25 cents. The thought that I am going to find a vast amount of patients in the 20% that have access to this technology is VERY few and far between and are willing to invest $1200-$1400 to put a watch on their wrist and $30-$40 per month, well that just isn’t happening. (But I digress – this isn’t about the business, this is about my personal experience).
The interesting thing is when a phone call came in on the watch. I actually was in a restaurant during the first call and decided to answer it. People are somewhat tolerant of seeing someone put a phone up to their head to answer a call and talk, but the reaction I got for talking to my wrist and people listening to me be on basically a speaker phone was VERY uncomfortable. I get upset when I see and HEAR people take a phone call on their smart phone using the speaker phone capability. It shows a lack of social decorum and manners. The Apple Watch made me violate that very principle.
After a few days in, I realized that I wasn’t really utilizing the watch any longer.
Although I think that the platform is FANTASTIC, I believe that the watch is back to where we started seeing geeks wearing Texas Instruments digital watches back in high school. Nobody with any fashion sense would be caught dead wearing that watch (and you certainly weren’t going to get any dates). I do believe that the wrist is a valuable piece of real estate for the body, but I believe the technology is not quite there yet, and the business model definitely is not. Although the Apple Watch garnered a lot of attention (curiosity) from people (and I did see guys getting dates), I think it is still way before its time. At least with me.
What are your thoughts?
Have you tried the Apple Watch or other connected wrist watches?