Two Months with Apple Watch

I’ve had my Apple Watch now for a few days shy of two months and I’m not giving it up. Back in March, I had thought,going to graduate school and working full-time, that the value proposition of Apple Watch was not worth the expense. Then, as an incredible surprise, my awesome wife contacted my family and friends and had them go together to get me an Apple Watch for my birthday. It has been life-changing.

Others have panned Apple Watch and “broken up” with it.1 In my assessment, most of those bad experiences were caused by wrong expectations. What are the right expectations? The ones that Apple told us at the very start: time-keeping, communication, and fitness. Though I’ve written about Apple Watch each week for the last two months, I purposefully haven’t written about those tentpoles as they’re not things you can assess in a week. Now that it’s been two months, it’s time. Continue reading

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The Future of Apple Watch (WWDC and beyond)

This is part 4 in ongoing series of reflections based on my experience with Apple Watch. Previous pieces are: Week 1: You Can’t Put Delight In a SpreadsheetWeeks 2-3: Its Form Is Its Function, Week 4: A Foundation for the Future.

It’s that time of year again, when Apple critics, analysts, and skeptics release their expectations, analysis, and wish lists for WWDC. In this piece, I hope to approach the pre-WWDC ramp-up somewhat differently. These other approaches are based, typically, off of rumors or personal frustrations with the software. I hope to present a more timeless list of strategic wrist-centric ways where Apple Watch should mature in order for its long-term potential to be reached. Continue reading

Apple Watch Week 4: A Foundation for the Future

This is part 3 in ongoing series of reflections on my experience with Apple Watch the first months its out. Other pieces are: Week 1: You Can’t Put Delight In a SpreadsheetWeeks 2-3: Its Form Is Its Function, & Week 5: The Future of Apple Watch (WWDC & beyond)

The expectations we have about a product immensely in shaping our evaluation of it, perhaps more than the quality of the actual product. If, we, as the Little Mermaid humorously did, think that the purpose of a fork is to brush one’s hair, then we will note that it frequently snags hair, has an uncomfortable handle, and is, on the whole, a failed product. If you expected Avengers to be a romantic comedy, you’d be sorely disappointed. And those who expected Apple Watch to replace their iPhone have been disappointed as well.

Can Apple Watch do everything now? No. Can it replace your phone? No. Is it bug-free? No. Is there room for improvement? Yes. Are any of those expectations appropriate for the first generation of any product? Of course not. Apple Watch is not a perfect product, but many people are forgetting that neither was the first iPod, the first iPhone, or the first iPad. Rather than evaluating whether the product is already mature, a better question is to ask whether Apple has laid a foundation on which Apple Watch can grow. The answer, I believe, is a resounding yes. Continue reading

Apple Watch Weeks 2-3: Its Form Is Its Function

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In my first piece in this series, I wrote that the value of Apple Watch can’t be explained monetarily, but I’ve found in these last weeks that the value is hard to explain in functional terms. Part of the reason is that its delight comes from tiny moments of joy that compound over time, a compounding that outside observers don’t experience.1 But another part of the reason is that what the watch does is so different than what many expect.

This last week, I was on vacation with my family (who gave the watch to me) and at a conference where my watch was noticed (a lot!).2 Amidst the oohs and ahs and  people calling it iWatch, I was repeatedly asked the question, “What does it do?” As I answered that question, I realized that the functions of Apple Watch are unique to its form. It’s an oft-quoted maxim that “form follows function,” but in the case of Apple Watch, I believe the exact opposite is true: the Apple Watch’s form is its function. It is Apple’s discipline to allow the form to dictate its function that has set up the Watch for success in a way only Apple could. Continue reading

Apple Watch Week 1: You Can’t Put Delight In a Spreadsheet

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I’ve had the privilege of being one of the first owners of Apple Watch and the last week has been a delightful one. This is the first of six weekly reviews in which I’m going to share my thoughts about Apple Watch. My goal is not to focus on whether you need Apple Watch, the limitations of the device, or how to use it. Instead, my goal is to write from the intersection of technology and liberal arts, that is, exploring how this technology impacts our lives in what it means to be human and to truly live.

I don’t think Apple Watch is a device you can evaluate in a week. It’s neither technology, nor fashion, nor both; it is something utterly different than we’ve experienced before. You won’t find a “pronouncement” about Apple Watch’s future in this piece and only as time goes by will I offer more of my opinion about Apple Watch and its strengths and weaknesses. For now, let me relate reflections on how Apple Watch has helped me be more fully human in the last week. Continue reading