Carlos de Spinola, head of strategy at creative technology agency Orchard, has been the proud owner of an Apple Watch for the past few weeks. However, this self-confessed “tech whore” explains he’s been all a bit underwhelmed by his latest tech wizardry…
I’m a tech whore. I chalk it up to an occupational hazard. So, after a couple of weeks with the Apple Watch here is what the tech geek in me has to say about it.
First things first. I can’t say that the Apple Watch has filled a gaping hole in my life. Often feels like a solution in search of a problem, and an eye watering $500 solution at that. The user experience feels mediocre at certain junctures and its one real job – to tell the time – arguably fails, given I have to touch the screen to get the time, more often than not.
But then it is a beautiful looking piece of kit, and one can’t help but be impressed with how Apple was able to fit so much tech into such a small and lightweight wearable.
There have been a few times when the watch has proven to be quite useful – chatting to my mum with cumin laden hands while cooking (answered the phone with my nose!), covertly reviewing messages on my wrist during a marathon 4 hour client meeting, and using the turn-by-turn navigation while on my scooter coming back from a client. So the watch does have a few upsides.
But, being so new you’d expect that the use ceases to be slightly limited and we can expect them only to increase as time goes by. Going forward I see the Apple Watch having great potential in two broad eventualities: increased health monitoring potential when it incorporates more sensors (skin temperature, ambient temperature, respiration, galvanic skin response etc.) and the ability to connect with the world around us the more the world around us gets connected (changing the temperature on your Nest thermostat, unlocking your front door with Touch ID…or your car for that matter).
Alas, it is not quite at that stage just yet. Simply put, the overriding benefit of the watch is that it makes accessibility somewhat easier. If you think that taking your phone out of your pocket is too burdensome you might just have a need for it. It is this need that drives my professional thinking. If you were thinking of creating any branded utilities for the watch, I would start by looking at how the watch can be used to remove friction with any digital interactions you might have with your customers. Friction-less utility is therefore the operative thought.
It is in scenarios like this where the importance of Siri starts to manifest (with Siri being one of the core interfaces of the watch). But then I still feel awkward shouting at my watch like a demanding dilettante, even though this is unquestionably the future of human-to-tech interactions.
What would excite me though, is the potential this watch would have if it were to be unlocked and operating not only paired with, but in isolation of, your iPhone (integrated 4G and wi-fi). Specifically for those times when you just need a pared back version of the big boy (calling ability and Apple Pay on the watch when I am out walking the dog for example) which is why I am becoming further entrenched in the idea that ’second generation anything’ from Apple is the time when things really start ramping up and becoming useful. Maybe even third generation in this case.
But then the price of admission for a very good ‘second generation anything’ is the $500 ‘first generation’ of anything; progress and innovation starts with the first product. So even though I am struggling to find a core need for the current watch in my life I think it is something that all of us should ascribe to now in order to get the real (useful) prize later on in life.
As for walking the dog with my current Apple Watch, well, I have used this opportune time to leave the watch on charge while the puppy is out chasing balls.