Update: I've been using the Apple Watch for almost three weeks now and while I knew the killer feature was always going to be convenience, that it would let me quickly handle those brief yet frequent and important interactions without having to go back to my iPhone, but it's turned out to be even more true than I imagine. Instead of reaching for my phone, and potentially getting lost in everything it allows and enables, I glance at my wrist, and then know if I can keep going or if I have to stop and act. Now that I'm learning the tap patterns, I can even understand what something is and know its there and not have to even think about it further.
Not only is all of that better aligned with social norms — my friends and family aren't staring at my phone anymore where my face is supposed to be; they're barely even noticing me glance at my watch — but it's better aligned with the life I want to live. And that's invaluable.
I wasn't alone, and the gentleman I was having lunch with was telling me a story involving Heineken and Goldfish crackers, so I didn't want to be rude and reach into my pocket and find out why. Because of my job and my settings, however, I know that if my iPhone buzzes, it's probably important. So then I had to decide what I was going to do — ignore the person in front of me or ignore the notification. Then, as I was deciding, his iPhone buzzed too. We looked at each other and laughed — he far louder than I — and both noted that if we had Apple Watches, we wouldn't have this problem.
We imagined the same lunch two months from now, when we both have Apple Watches. If a notification came in, I wouldn't get a buzz that he could hear and he wouldn't get a buzz that I could hear. We'd each get a discreet tap alerting us — and us alone — to the notification. A turn of the wrist and a causal glimpse, and we could see what the notification was for, and either who it was from or what it was about. With that information, we could choose to ignore the notification or, if it was urgent, we could excuse ourselves to handle it.
By moving alerts and information from our pockets to our wrists, the Apple Watch is also removing stress and burden from our lives.
The difference can be seen in something as simple as checking the time. Neither of us had watches because the iPhone has become our watch. Yet when either of us wanted to check and see if we needed to start wrapping up, we again had to make the visually loud and obnoxious gesture of reaching into our pockets.
Again, with the Apple Watch, either of us could handle that with a subtle wrist turn and glimpse. Less fuss, less anxiety for everyone.
Earlier this month Serenity Caldwell wrote about why she's betting big on the Apple Watch. As I've gotten to spend more time with the Apple Watch and talk to more people who have spent considerable time with it, it's clearer to me that she was exactly right.
It's also clearer to me that my initial impressions after both the first event back in September and the second event this week — that the Apple Watch's killer feature is convenience and that people who worry about the interface should keep calm and Apple Watch on — might also be how my long term impressions play out as well.
And that's only one aspect of the Apple Watch. It's also going to let us track our activities without us ourselves being tracked. It's going to let us control our homes and environments instead of being controlled by multiple different devices and interfaces. It's going to let us pay for things with the double-push of a button. It's also going to let people with accessibility issues do more than ever before.
I've only had the chance to use an Apple Watch for a short amount of time so far, but it was enough to sense the potential. What will it feel like when I've used it for a week? A month? A year? I don't know, but I'm eager to find out.
I know the gentleman I had lunch with is eager to find out as well, so I'll leave you with his words, published earlier today on The Loop:
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.