Well, the Apple Watch is here. You could have been forgiven for not noticing. Official sales figures haven’t been released yet, and won’t be for some time because Apple will bundle the Watch sales numbers with other devices in its next quarterly report.
Since its first announcement last year, I’d pretty much forgotten about the Watch being released. I thought the press announcement was smart – an announcement without a timescale and sent the share price even higher. So when I was with my son on the Tube recently and he whispered to me that the teenager sitting opposite us had “THE WATCH!” it served as a timely reminder (pun intended).
That teenager on the carriage falls into the main sales target. Young, early adopters who love the Apple brand and will ignore all its limitations because of the snazzy packaging. Don’t get me wrong… I have no issue whatsoever with early launches and limitations – I am writing this article on my work laptop which is running Windows 10 preview. So I know limitations and technology frustrations more than most.
But the Apple Watch doesn’t quite do it for me. Mainly because of the poor battery. Apple claims the battery lasts all day – 18 hours. One could be facetious and remind Apple, a global watch manufacturer no less, that there are 24 hours in a day. Compare this to my everyday digital watch which is also a heart rate monitor for my exercise routines to and from work each day, and I’ve replaced the battery once in four years.
Charging the Watch, albeit with a lovely (for a charger cable) magnetic charger every day will become a chore even for the most ardent Apple devotee.
I have spoken to colleagues and friends who own either Pebble watches or Samsung Gear watches, and it seems to be a Marmite technology. Some of them love the watch despite early gripes. Some of them have reverted back to traditional watches and the smartwatch sits at home as an expensive dust collector.
The ones who love it say that once they learnt that notifications “arrive” on their wrist, they stopped checking their phone like the rest of us do – and far too often.
The ones who stopped using it said they couldn’t see any added benefit after a short novelty period. And that novelty period was short-lived because it caused the battery to run out quicker.
In the future, will the Watch be consigned to the bucket of failed technologies? I don’t think so. The future of technology will certainly be wearables, but it’s clearly going to take some long-term investment to teach consumers – perhaps a whole generation. And the battery life needs to be improved. Watch this space (pun intended).