It’s well after lunch. I’ve had this thing on my wrist for something like six hours now, and the truth is that I’ve barely used it. That’s by design: again, you’re only supposed to interact with the Apple Watch for 10–15 seconds at a time and then get back to your life. On one level, that all makes perfect sense: my regular watch has had a dead battery for over a year. I don’t exactly use it for anything except looking cool. How much am I really supposed to use the Apple Watch to make it worth whatever price I’ve paid for it?
On another level, everything about the watch is designed to reinforce the idea that you have some sort of real life to return to once you’re done using technology — that you’re not just sitting at a desk in your office with your laptop and your phone, getting work done.
That’s the situation I’m in most afternoons — meetings have wrapped up, decisions have been made, and I’m catching up on email, editing, reading the site, and generally setting up the next set of things I have to do. I’m as plugged into the internet as I can possibly be, using my phone and my laptop for slightly different variations of the same task: communicating with people.
This is where the Watch’s lack of speed comes to the forefront — there’s virtually nothing I can’t do faster or better with access to a laptop or a phone except perhaps check the time. It’s not just the small screen or the quick in-and-out interaction design, it’s actual slowness, particularly when it comes to loading data off the phone.
Third-party apps are the main issue: Apple says it’s still working on making them faster ahead of the April 24th launch, but it’s clear that loading an app requires the watch to pull a tremendous amount of data from the phone, and there’s nothing fast about it. I sat through a number of interminable loading screens for apps like CNN, Twitter, The New York Times, and others. Apps that need to pull location data fare even worse: the Uber app takes so long to figure out where you are that you’re better off walking home before someone notices you staring at your $700 watch and makes a move.
Fantastic detailed review from Nilay from a day-in-the-life point of view. As expected from a 1.0 version release, there will be issues relating to bugs they haven’t had time to squash or that extra amount of polish to be applied to the software. I would expect the 1.xx version of the software to fix any lag and stuttering issues.
This however, will take some getting use to make sure an acceptable etiquette is handled – perhaps with the adjustment to the amount of notifications:
After the gym, I head to Betony for drinks with Eater managing editor Sonia Chopra so we can talk about a future of food series for later in the year. So far I’ve mostly used the watch either alone or in an office environment, but it’s really different to have a smartwatch in a bar: here, even small distractions make you seem like a jerk. Sonia’s trying to describe the project to me and find ways to work together, but I keep glancing at my wrist to see extremely unimportant emails fly by.
It turns out that checking your watch over and over again is a gesture that carries a lot of cultural weight. Eventually, Sonia asks me if I need to be somewhere else. We’re both embarrassed, and I’ve mostly just ignored everyone. This is a little too much future all at once.