Has the Apple Watch lived up to the hype?

{ 11 comments }

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First, let me get this out of the way.  I am an admitted Apple fanboy.  Although I held off on an iPhone until last December when I finally made the Android to iOS switch with an iPhone 6+ (128 GB).  My main computer now is a 2013 MacBook Pro, and I also have a 2008 24″ iMac, an original iPad and an iPad Air.  When news first broke that Apple was coming out with a smart watch, I was excited and anxious for it to come out.  I read every rumor that came out on the numerous different technology blogs and Apple specific Web sites.  When Apple’s Tim Cook finally unveiled it, I swooned.  As usual, Apple created a beautifully designed, and innovative product that seemed to raise the bar for all the other smart watches on the market.  Then I saw the price…

It wasn’t simply that the Watch was priced way out of the range of the average consumer (from $349.00 to $10,000.00), I struggled to find a use case where it would make sense to anyone that I could imagine.  As usual for Apple when they release a new product, initial demand was off the charts, and they quickly sold out of their supply, and the delivery dates kept slipping further back.  Once the Watches started being delivered, I scoured the Internet for reviews, and the biggest complaint coming out was the need to recharge much sooner than the advertised 18 hours of battery life.  Reports starting coming in that if you listen to music, the watch could run out of power in 6.5 hours.  Apple’s response of course was that the battery life will depend on the user, and what applications the user is using, which makes sense, but it also made me wonder.  This made me start to really question the value of a watch that could need recharging halfway through my day. I know I could always check my iPhone for the time (or have a backup “dumb” watch), and Apple claims that “reserve power” would let you see the time for 72 hours, but if a user is using all of the different applications that Apple wants you to buy and use for the Watch, you might find yourself relying on other devices (i.e., iPhone, iPod, portable charging solutions, regular watch) to accomplish the most common uses.  Remember, many of the Watch functions still require you to use your iPhone, so it doesn’t replace that, but might save you a few seconds.

This brings me back to my initial question. Has the Apple Watch lived up to its hype?  According to industry analysts, as recently as this month, sales of the Watch have declined 90% since its initial release in April 2015.  Apple has been silent on their sales figures, but some reports show that initially, Apple was selling 35,000 Watches a day and now, just over 3 months later, sales are down to approximately 5,000 Watches per day.  So what happened?

For months we were treated to a slew of slick commercials from Apple that made a lot us squirm with delight.  We saw ourselves wearing the latest and greatest Apple status symbols.  Then, the ads stopped.  Suddenly, in the past few weeks, Apple has restarted a new advertising blitz for the Watch.  Their latest commercials feature a pair of attractive young women traveling to Asia together, and use their Watch to happily convert currencies at a local vendor, send cute handwritten notes to each other to ask for help out of an awkward social situation. Then there is the one with the pregnant young woman making a call on her Watch, a hipster sending his heartbeat to someone else (who also has to have an Watch to receive it), and a child playing Tic-Tac-Toe on his father’s Watch on an airplane.  Are these functions and use cases really worth the money?

For me, I’ll stick to my water resistant Citizen, Eco-Drive watch that needs no batteries, keeps itself accurate by connecting to atomic clocks, and is always ready to check without worry, and of course, carry my iPhone in my pocket.

Posted in: Articles, Watches and Clocks
{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Sandee Cohen August 1, 2015, 10:05 am

    If you had asked me a month ago (late June), what I thought of the Apple Watch, I would have said it was the silliest, most extravagant, unnecessary gadget I had ever seen. I won’t go into all the reasons, but there were many.

    Then, July 19, for my birthday, I got an Apple Watch.

    It’s the coolest, neatest thing I have ever worn on my wrist. And considering I stopped wearing a watch to wear my Fitbit, I no longer flip my wrist trying to tell the time from an object that doesn’t tell time. (55 year old habits are hard to break.)

    I won’t go into all the reasons I love my Apple Watch, but the convenience is definitely there.

    If Apple Watch sales are slumping, it’s because Apple hasn’t done a good enough job of explaining the experience of using the watch. It’s not that it’s cool. It’s not that it lets you send handwritten notes. (That benefit has got to be the worst.) But it is that my phone stays in my pocket.

    Apple has also made it almost impossible to experience the watch in their stores. You have to make an appointment to actually try the watch on in a store. That takes a lot of the impulse to get more information away.

    And those commercials (especially the one in Asia) is very hard to understand.

    They need print ads, or 5 minute (or longer) infomercials that explain and show the benefits.

    Also, many of the limitations of the watch will be fixed in OS, coming out this fall.

  • Alan Claver August 1, 2015, 10:28 am

    According to “Industry analysts” has already been debunked by numerous tech sources as being without merit. I realize this is just a gadget blog but it should stick to what it knows best – reviewing gadget.

    You are at your least competent when you are commenting on industry or company performance. This blog entry should be retracted.

    • Kathleen Chapman August 3, 2015, 8:01 pm

      The definition of blog (dictionary.com):
      “blog [blawg, blog]
      noun
      1.a website containing A WRITER’S or group of writers’ OWN EXPERIENCES, OBSERVATIONS, OPINIONS, ETC., and often having images and links to other websites.”

      This post fits this definition, so in my opinion, you’re request to retract the post is irrelevant and inappropriate.

  • Thomas Wolf August 1, 2015, 10:47 am

    I concur with everything Sandee said: until my wife and I bought the Apple Watch, we would have been hard pressed to give a reason for why it’s so cool. But both of us wanted to become a little more active and decided an activity tracker might help us. Being Apple fans and having read about its other features, it was a no brainer to get the Apple Watch. And we are both so happy we did. Not only have the gentle reminders and activity tracking helped us lose weight, but the on-wrist notifications and call taking capabilities have allowed us to keep our phones in our pockets more often – and phone batteries that used to be down to 5-10% by end of day are now always above 20%. Not using that big ole LCD on the phone to check things makes a big difference!

    Which brings me to the author bringing up the battery life of the watch – what he says about listening to music for “only” 6 hours depleting the battery! Who the he11 does that??? Reviews have NOT dinged the Apple Watch for short battery life – in fact, most have commented about being pleasantly surprised by it. And my wife and I – who actually have used it in real life – agree. On the *average* our watches have about 50% charge left when we put it on the charger at bed time. Only once did one of them run out of charge – and that appeared to be a software bug – my wife wasn’t even using the watch much that day.

    How do I use my watch: I look at it dozens of times a day to check incoming notifications and emails; twice a day I turn on a “workout” (once for lunchtime walk and once for ping pong at night). Workouts work out the battery too – since during those times, the heart rate monitor is constantly on); every now and then I get a phone call on it (e.g. When I’m driving and don’t want to fish my phone out of my pocket)….and, like I said, by the end of the day I usually have 50% charge left.

  • Daniel McNutt August 1, 2015, 11:07 am

    Even if that number 5,000 number is accurate that almost two million watches a year for a company that sold “0” watches last year. Pull it from the shelves, what a failure. I would love to get one and I think once the watch settles into retail outlets and the masses can spend time looking at them they will do fine. There is Apple-hype and then there is Hype people place upon Apple. I think this lives up to what they presented to the masses and has some interesting features for those inclined to wear a fitness tracker.

  • Sandee Cohen August 1, 2015, 11:30 am

    @Thomas How do you set the ping pong workout? What setting? Other? That seems to use one of the walking rates.

    Also, what exactly do they mean by listening to music through the watch? I always use the iPhone because that’s where the music lives. I do use the Remote control on the watch to stop, skip, or repeat songs. Does that mean I’m using the watch? I use Bluetooth headset. But it’s paired with the iPhone. Are you saying I could pair the headset with the watch? Seems wasteful.

    Meanwhile, do use the watch to ask Siri to give me an alarm in 30 minutes or an appointment tomorrow. She’s very helpful that way.

    BTW, funny story. I always listen to audio books on my walks around NYC. So I have a headset always stuck in my right ear. I often would ask Siri the time. Last fall I pressed the button. Me: “Siri, what time is it?” Siri: “The time is 5:06. Happy Hannuka.” Who knew? Siri’s Jewish!

    • Mike August 7, 2015, 4:36 pm

      @Sandee you can sync music from your iphone to the apple watch. The watch can act like an ipod shuffle. I have 2 gigs of music on my watch and use a wireless Bluetooth earbuds to connect to the apple watch and listen to music. This feature and not checking my iphone screen all the time saves my iPhone battery 10-20 percent everyday.

      Tip to the music syncing is the apple watch needs to be connected to the charger before it will start the syncing process from the iphone.

  • Rob Whitaker August 2, 2015, 8:10 am

    I was concerned that the price would not deliver the rewards that my high expectations held. Since I began wearing the watch, I have become more attached each day. Instant access to weather (an important part of my work & leisure), fast, convenient setting of timers, as it happens email, text, and phone, all without pulling the phone out of my pocket, and with plenty of battery left each day, while my phone has more charge & less wear and tear. Yes, my expectations have been exceeded.

  • SurlyWill August 4, 2015, 8:48 am

    Garmin, Pebble, Fitbit ….

    Those are the big names in practical smartwatches.

  • Channel 2012 August 6, 2015, 4:40 pm

    I don’t care how awesome the product is, $350 for a watch is simply ludicrous.

    • Mike August 7, 2015, 4:42 pm

      @channel I am disappointed you would discount any product because of a price point on a first generation device. The watch this author says he is going to stick with ( Citizen, Eco-Drive ) cost anywhere from $150-$400 and does nothing but tell the time.

      Easy and quick access to: Music, Phone calls, Emails, Texts, Notifications, Social networks, Apple pay, and the list could go on and on are worth the money compared to the competition for me and many people like me.

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