The reviews are coming in – after much media interest building up to the launch of the new Apple Watch, tech aficionados and critics are weighing in on the high-tech timekeepers. The general consensus seems to be that Apple’s sleek wearable is cool, but not necessary.
Bloomberg Business’s Joshua Topolsky wrote that the watch’s launch marks “an epic product release” due to the fact that it’s “the company’s first new product category” since the iPad. It also is the tech giant’s first new product since the death of Steve Jobs. Topolsky found the elegant Jony Ive-designed product to be beautiful, but “not life-changing.” He wrote that he believes Apple will sell millions of watches, and that “many people will love and obsess over them.”
For Topolsky, Apple succeeded in creating the world’s “best” smartwatch, but did not yet convince the writer that “I need this thing on my wrist every day.”
The New York Times’s Farhad Manjoo wrote that it took him “three days – three long, often confusing and frustrating days” to fall for the device. It might not have been love at first sight, but once he fell, he “fell hard.” Manjoo viewed the watch as something of an efficient, informative assistant. He learned about “digital events” as soon as they happened, and wrote that the device felt like “a natural extension of my body” in a way unlike any other device. Some negatives – Manjoo said that the product’s “software requires a learning curve that may deter some people.”
Manjoo, who describes himself as having been addicted to his smartphone, said that the Watch is for “those who care to think about, and want to try to manage, the way the digital world intrudes on their lives.”
Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff approached the product from a slightly different perspective in his review. Ulanoff is already a smartwatch user – he wears a Pebble Steel watch on an almost daily basis. Ulanoff wore his Pebble on his left wrist while wearing his Apple Watch on his right for a point of comparison. He was a quick convert. “A few days in,” he wrote, “I realized I was no longer glancing at the Pebble.”
Ulanoff’s review is very positive. He applauded the device’s “craftsmanship” and its various features from monitoring the user’s health vitals to the easy-to-use Apple Pay feature. The big negative for Ulanoff centered on the device’s apps.
He wrote that the apps mark “the area that needs (and will see) the most improvement.”
The Verge’s Nilay Patel pinpoints many of the same pros and cons that others have written about. For his review, he documents an entire day of using all of the Apple Watch’s features. From workplace meetings to working at the gym, Patel details how the watch is most useful in these various settings.
Tellingly, he wrote about the watch’s function of giving users another source of distraction in their easily distracting days. Patel described a meeting with Eater Managing Editor Sonia Chopra, and found that the watch is not necessarily the best device to have when it comes to business meetings.
“So far I’ve mostly used the Watch either alone or in an office environment, but it’s really different to have a smartwatch in a bar,” Patel wrote. “Here, even small distractions make you seem like a jerk. Sonia’s trying to describe the project to me … but I keep glancing at my wrist to see extremely unimportant emails fly by.”
In the Wall Street Journal, Geoffrey A. Fowler wrote that the device’s hype finally made sense once he got to test it out. He said that the flashy bling attached to the device – the opportunity to have it come in $10,000 gold alloy – is not what makes the product the “first smartwatch worth buying.” Instead, he found that the watch’s ability to help the user spend and manage time is what makes it a useful wearable.
“If you can tolerate single-day battery life, half-baked apps and inevitable obsolescence, you can now wear the future on your wrist,” Fowler wrote.
Fowler wrote that the Apple Watch is perfect for little glances – it’s not an object like an iPhone that users will look at for long and extended periods of time. Instead, it is something one will glance at quickly, for short bursts of information. It’s perfect for the person on the go.
With this product, “smartwatches finally make sense,” Fowler added. “The measure of their success shouldn’t be how well they suck you in, but how efficiently they help you get things done.”
Apple will take online orders for the watch starting April 10 and will start shipping the device April 24. While consumers can try on the watch in Apple Stores before they buy, the tech giant is encouraging customers to schedule appointments.