Apple Watch Reviews: It's Not For Everyone - InformationWeek

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IoT
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Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
4/8/2015
05:10 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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Apple Watch Reviews: It's Not For Everyone

Early testers of the Apple Watch suggest it is the best smartwatch yet, but they admit that people don't necessarily need smartwatches. That is, at least not yet.

10 Apple Watch Apps: Which Ones Will You Use?
10 Apple Watch Apps: Which Ones Will You Use?
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Reviewers like the Apple Watch and offered generally positive reviews ahead of its release later this month. They lauded the wearable's hardware and features, but point out a number of flaws that keep it from being perfect.

Put simply, the Apple Watch is a 1.0 product that will surely improve over time.

Perhaps the biggest take-away from all the early reviews is that the Apple Watch jumps straight to the top of the smartwatch mountain. It's leagues better in terms of design, materials, and construction when compared to the mostly plastic offerings with Android on board. Further, the operating system is more refined and useful over the course of the day with notifications and other tools. Here are some pros and cons as pointed out by those with early access to Apple's latest gadget.

Pros:

It sure is purty, according to The Verge's Nilay Patel, who writes: "It is unbelievably high tech and a little bit silly, a masterpiece of engineering with a Mickey Mouse face. It is quintessentially Apple." The Watch is elegant and attention-grabbing, though most reviews remarked on its large size. It's bigger and heavier than most other smartwatches, but not as heavy as some high-quality timepieces.

The Apple Watch is easy to use, says Re/Code's Lauren Goode.

"Remember the first time you used an iPhone? That's what Apple Watch is like," Goode writes in her review. "After you first set-up your Apple Watch and pair it with your iPhone using Bluetooth, you'll think, 'What the heck is going on, where do I swipe to see things, how do I get rid of this notification that just popped up?' And so on. With some other smartwatches, that feeling never fully evaporates. With Apple Watch, it does."

In other words, Apple gets right what Android Wear does not.

Crucially, the Wall Street Journal's Geoffrey Fowler says the Apple Watch excels at saving time.

"What's valuable is your time," Fowler writes. "The Apple Watch is a computer built to spend it better. It's the right screen for many important things. I only look at it in blips, for rarely more than five seconds." Smart notifications that go away on their own let you keep your iPhone in your pocket.

USA Today's Ed Baig appreciated how easily the watch can be customized with the three basic designs and wide assortment of straps: "Apple has introduced enough lovely band options to satisfy most everyone's idea of taste. You can easily dress the watch up or dress it down, and the functionality of the watch is the same no matter how much you pay for it."

The Apple Watch ranges in price from $349 to $17,000.

The Apple Watch is a fine workout partner and will probably replace dedicated fitness bands like those made by FitBit and others. The Apple Watch doesn't have GPS, but works with the iPhone to accurately track workouts. The Watch is also good at nudging users who've remained still too long, and tracking a range of activities -- including heartbeat -- throughout the day.

The other killer feature is Apple Pay. Wearers can pay for goods anywhere Apple Pay is accepted by tapping their wrist to the payment terminal. The feature works even when the owner's iPhone is home. Those reviewing the Apple Watch noted that adding mobile payments to a wearable made sense.

Next Page: Apple Watch has some drawbacks.

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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Mitch1939
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Mitch1939,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/5/2015 | 10:03:52 AM
Apple and watches
Desperate to sell their overpdrices watch, Apple has deliberately refused to approve the newest bug fix for the Pebble, and any app at all for the new Pebble Time, rendering it useless. I just might buy an android so I can use my watch.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
4/10/2015 | 5:02:38 AM
Whine, whine, whine
From all the silly complains this was the silliest: "All the reviewers complained that it's [the charger] yet something else to pack in your briefcase when hitting the road."

Unless you are going to hit the road for at least two days I see no point why you should carry the charger if you plan to get back home in the same day. The same you do with any other Apple charger, don't you? At least, I am not carrying my chargers around if I know I'll be back home within the same day. All the batteries last just fine and I use the devices continuously. 

So, how come carrying a tiny charger that weights close to nothing can be such a big problem? 

Thinking about how the Apple Watch could be useful for me I remembered that when I am in cities like Barcelona, where I don't want to take my iPhone or iPad out from my bag for anything, the Apple Watch Sport at $349 could be a good thing to have to use maps, get notifications, send messages, etc. without exposing devices too much. 

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
4/10/2015 | 1:25:43 AM
Re: Par for the course
Whoopty, 

Did you test one? :) 

The Apple Watch is mainly a product to add to the iOS ecosystem and it will work great just as any other Apple device do. It will serve those who are happy with their other Apple devices because they know the value of what the products deliver and the experience they bring. 

What I consider overpriced are those devices that you can buy for much less money but break down after two years or less of use, and that after having been malfunctioning right after a few months of purchasing. They end of in the trash. You can't even sell them to anyone because they are trash. After you years you have to go and buy a new one. That never happens with an Apple product. They work. Always. They are hard to die. That counts in the price and makes them worth the money/investment. 

-Susan 
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
4/9/2015 | 9:46:40 AM
Par for the course
As expected, this is an Apple product. It's over priced, under powered and more focused on stlye than substance but it will sell and it will find an audience and may even help propel wearables into more of mainstream marketplace. 

But there's going to be much better alternatives out there if you buy a wearable based on your needs and its abilities. The Watch seems like a catchall smartwatch with naff battery life which isn't exactly exciting. 
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
4/8/2015 | 8:17:16 PM
Re: Apple Watch
Can you think of an Apple disaster? Well, a long time ago, the LISA computer didn't sell. The Newton was a pipe dream then, but lately, I can't think of any hardware devices that bombed in the marketplace -- can you? Doesn't mean the Watch won't, but that will be a departure for them, at least in this century.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
4/8/2015 | 5:59:09 PM
Apple Watch
Do you think it's possible the Apple Watch could be a major flop? I'm guessing it will be a modest success, but I wonder what would happen if it were to total disaster...
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