We’ve spent a couple of weeks with the Apple Watch, and while there’s lots to like - it’s pretty, the engineering is beautiful, there are options to suit everybody and it’s about the only fully featured smartwatch that looks OK on a slender wrist - there are plenty of things we don’t like either.
1. It costs too much
The cheapest one is $349, rising to $399 for the slightly larger 42 mm model. Want a steel one with sapphire glass? $549 and up. Stainless steel bracelet? $1,099. And that’s before you look at the Edition, which is aimed at the kind of people who’ll be first against the wall when the revolution comes.
2. It’s slow
Third party apps run on the iPhone, not on the Watch, and that means they’re often painfully slow. That coupled with very aggressive battery management means all too often you tap, the display goes off, you tap, the display goes off, you tap, and then you give up and pull out the iPhone.
3. The apps are crap
All the ones we’ve tried so far are, anyway. Developers clearly made the apps without having used the Watch for very long, if they used it at all. Android Wear’s been out for ages, and as a result apps should benefit from real-world use. In the longer term this won’t be a problem, but for once Android is ahead in the app stakes.
4. It has too few faces
Android Wear is miles ahead here. The reason’s obvious: Apple wants its watch faces to be mainly black to eke out every last bit of battery life, and third party faces packed with details will have an awful effect on the Watch’s longevity. Not what you want immediately after launching your exciting new product. More faces will no doubt come but the standard selection, while good, is hardly plentiful.
5. It isn’t waterproof
It’s water resistant, but you probably shouldn’t use it to record your swims.
6. It can’t track your sleeping patterns
You need to charge it every day, so sleep monitoring is out. So is silently waking you in the morning.
7. The Health app is a bit sexist
The Watch ties in with Apple’s Health, which tracks all kinds of health information. But not menstrual cycles, because…well, there’s no good reason why.
8. Battery life is going to be a problem
Apps don’t currently run on the Watch, but the next iteration of the developer kit will change that. If you think battery life isn’t great now…
9. You can’t wear it on your inner wrist
Bad news for those of us who prefer the face on our inner wrist. Raise To Activate doesn’t work, the digital crown is hard to access and the screen is hard to read if you wear the Watch as an innie.
10. The straps are stupidly expensive
That’ll change - there’s a Made for Apple Watch program coming - but right now a simple leather strap is $149 and a stainless steel one $449. Sure, they’re handmade by angels or whatever, but that’s still silly money for straps.
11. It’s so fashionable, dahling
Apple’s been doing a very non-Apple thing and sucking up to celebrities to get the Watch in the fashion pages. Do you want to have the same kind of watch as Karl Lagerfeld and Kanye West?
12. Notifications aren’t quite right
The notifications system doesn’t work too well, especially if you just mirror your phone: apps such as Facebook expect you to look at something, so “Dave updated his status!” without the status and “Julie uploaded a photo!” without the photo are worse than useless. Notifications popping up when you’re doing something like tracking a cycle run is annoying too: they get in the way and stay there.
13. It doesn’t have GPS
The phone handles that. Any movement tracking the Watch does without it is guessing, and if you lose it you won’t be able to use Find My Phone-style apps to locate it.
14. It doesn’t work with Android
Not a surprise, we know, but Apple is no longer anti-Android: its refreshed Apple Music service is expected to get an Android app this summer. A big part of the iPod’s success was due to Apple making it work with Windows. Could the Apple Watch app end up on Android? Stranger things have happened.
What do you think? Has Apple changed the game, or has it just made a nice bauble for people with more money than sense?