Today, Apple unveiled its long awaited smartwatch product dubbed “Apple Watch”. The entire tech industry was looking to see how Apple would bring this new product category to the mainstream with ingenious design and out-of-this-world thinking. I can’t wait till I lay hands on one, but from what I have read so far, it is a big disappointment.
My first reaction to the Apple Watch is that it is ugly. In a world where there are already a couple of Android Wear watches with round dial (e.g. Moto 360), it’s surprising that Apple released a rectangular faced watch that looks more like a walkie talkie from Dick Tracy. I give Apple credit for trying to make its new wearable seemingly all fashion conscious with its various editions and selection of watch bands. But none of those things will hide the fact that the watch itself is still hideous. If Apple really wants people to compare its new gadget with luxury watches, they really need to design the watch based on a round dial.
The second shock for me is that it won’t be shipping until 2015. Seriously? Watches based on Android Wear has been shipping for a while now, and a few more models from various OEMs will roll out before the year’s end. Lucky for Apple, none of those watches work with iPhones, so iPhone users will just have to wait.
The third shocker is the price. At $349 (for the basic edition?), it’s hardly a bargain. Of course, Apple has never been in the cheap hardware business and is used to selling everything at a premium. But the poor aesthetics combined with the late shipping date makes the price premium hard to justify.
The last shocker is the battery life. Apple didn’t talk about battery life at all today, which leads me to believe that it will not have any significant battery advantages over its competition. I believe battery life is one thing that the industry has got to break through before this can really become mainstream. I wore an Samsung Galaxy Live for a couple of weeks and it was extremely painful to have to charge it every night. I wanted to use the silent alarm feature to wake me up in the morning, but it was completely useless I had to take it off every night to recharge.
I do give Apple credit for the crown as an input mechanism. I think that’s quite clever.
The above are just my rants for the time-being. As always, I reserve my final judgment until I have actually tried the product. But I guess I will have to wait till 2015 for that…