Nine Months with Apple Watch

Well, it's been nine months with Apple Watch and I still don't have a use for it.  After the release of watchOS 2.0 I thought that it would be a more functional device. Alas that belief was missplaced.  While there is still potential in the device category, Watch is the closest thing to a dud Apple has ever released.

I want to love the Apple Watch. I really do.  But it just doesn't do enough to justify the price. At $400 for the entry level model it is a pile of buggy software that has to be charged every day. I got mine for free and I still don't put it on every day.  I still can't recommend anyone else buy it.


Even after nine months I use only one third party app, the companion app to Things, a popular todo manager. And syncing breaks every few weeks. When that happens there appears to be no way to recover. You have to uninstall the app from the watch and re-install via Apple Watch's special management app.

App Launching

The cloud of icons launcher is still a joke. The app icons are too small to visually distinguish. I regularly launch the wrong one. This isn't helped by the fact that Apple split a few iOS apps into multiple watchOS ones.  Ex: The clock on iOS contains the timer, stopwatch, and alarms. These are separate ones on Watch which further clutters the launch screen. 

When Apple Watch was first announced I honestly thought the launcher screen was a red herring to distract the competition. How wrong I was. It's still a joke, but sadly the joke is on the buyers.


Siri is fine for what she does, and is often a better way to launch apps than with the icons, but she's far too slow. I don't know if this is a battery saving issue or bugs in the BLE stack, but it still takes far too long for her to start recording my questions.


Honestly, notifications are the only place where the Watch shines. The ability to have phone notifications on my wrist really is the killer app. However, you don't need local apps to have notifications. In the few cases where there are local apps they are next to useless at processing the notifications. Twitter, for example, usually directs me to load the iPhone app anyway.

Where to go from here.

I think the answer is clear. Double down on what makes Apple Watch great and dump the rest. Much like they did with the iPod Shuffle, I think Apple should make a cheaper version that just does notifications with canned responses. This should enable a longer battery life and fewer bugs.  It's a companion to the iPhone. Accept it and make it good.

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Posted March 6th, 2016

Tagged: apple ux