First I'd like to talk about what I expect to get from a smart watch. Primarily it should tell time of course. For me I like options and customization, so fully customizable watchfaces are a great feature, both pebble and android wear have those bases covered well, with novelty watchfaces and more professional versions with options like weather, phone battery percent, just to name a few.
So along with telling the time this accessory to your phone is connected to your phone via Bluetooth and its main focus should be to provide NOTIFICATIONS, this is my favorite feature of any smart watch I've tried so far. For some reason I've never really made use of custom tones on my various phones, as I prefer to always have my phone on silent or vibrate only. It is typically in my pocket so I tend to feel it before I would hear it anyway. What notifications allow me to do is triage all the vibrations. With a quick glance and swipe or tap, I can dismiss or acknowledge a notification from my phone, with little interruption. For me this is simply all I want in a smart watch. I want to be able to decide quickly if this notification is something I can ignore or should I excuse myself and attend to the notification, by pulling out my phone to reply to an email, sms or phone call from the phone which is designed for those purposes.
My Pebble watch handled that very well, there were some growing pains as with any 1st gen product, the firmware was constantly updated to work out the kinks, and I believe they now have a great platform that actually works well across iOS and Android. A few months ago I finally got bored with the closed iOS ecosystem and switched from an iPhone 5 to a Galaxy S4, even trade on Kijiji. This opened up the smartwatch gates. I began reading reviews of all the android wear watches on the market, and simply loved the style of the Moto360. So again I lucked out on Kijiji and grabbed a gently used 360. I have to say this watch meets every expectation I had for it. With a few bonuses. Being able to quickly reply to a text by voice command is convenient. The battery life doesn't bother me, it lasts more than a day (almost 2 full days), but I already charge my phone at my bedside every night, so I just drop the watch right next to it. All wireless charging. This isn't a review of android wear or of a moto360 I may do that at a later date, this just provides a background on what my expectations were for the Apple Watch.
So here we are, my thoughts on the Apple Watch. I feel the innovation teams at apple were too focused on making differences in their product, so it will stand out from other seasoned players in the existing market, and justify the apple premium we expect (more on price point later). They were so focused on trying to find the "wow factor" that I feel they missed the core functionality of a phone accessory like a smart watch. You will notice I continue to refer to the Apple Watch (any smart watch really) as a phone accessory, that's because it has no features beyond a basic Timex watch, without being paired with your phone. As I have had no hands on time with the Apple Watch, I cannot comment confidently, but I assume notifications will work well on the phone, but from what I have seen in each of Apple's Keynotes showcasing the Watch, they continue to stress the very gimmicky, share a "drawing" or "heartbeat" with a friend, which is a complete novelty that will be used once or twice, but it doesn't really help you communicate well enough to have a conversation so why bother. Then there is the tiny home screen with all the tiny apps. Their navigation might work well, but why would you need a photos app on a watch, when will it be more convenient to scroll through your photos on your wrist vs. pulling out your 4.7 or 5.5" iPhone's. To me it seems they are trying to do too much on the watch, It shouldn't try to replace your phone, it needs to compliment it.
That brings me to the elephant in the room, the Apple Watch price range. I won't go on this too much, as it as been covered in length all across the internet. But I just want to say that I usually expect to pay the Apple premium when looking at their laptops and iPhones, They have an art in their design and although their specs aren't always comparable with an equivalent PC laptop or Android phone, their able to fine tune the OS and hardware unlike the competition. BUT.... the prices they have listed the Apple Watch are pure robbery. To have the entry level Sport, not be capable to use for any sports (not scratch proof, dust proof, water proof, etc.) simply called sport because of the plastic strap. Then each prince increase jumps based on case material and strap style. For fun I picked the one I would enjoy wearing to work, stainless steel with a metal strap. The Canadian $$ price was almost $1200. So I'd be strapping a macbook pro to my wrist right? No I wouldn't even get a fraction of the value for dollar that a macbook pro can offer. Its a hard pill to swallow when the accessory meant to compliment your phone if more expensive than the phone, and that's off contract price. Normally people only have these $1000 iPhones because they can get them subsidized on a 2 year contract for $250.
So all in all, my expectation (hope) is that this product launch will be a flop, and it will force Apple to actually realize they need to focus on what the customer wants/needs, not just tell them what they need, and slap an Apple logo, hefty price tag and expect lineups and record breaking sales. Who knows, maybe the public will surprise me, but if they do I'll not only ask every person I see with an Apple Watch how they like it. I will also ask them what they do for a living, because I know I sure don't have that kind of disposable income.
Let me know if you agree or disagree, I'm interested in discussing the topic. These days there are just so many options, consumers should not just blindly buy products just because their favorite brand says its what they "need".