A review by Daring Fireball on Apple Watch. Having spent a week with it, John Gruber shares his view – all 6000 words from his perspective.
When I’m on the lookout for things I want or need, I tend to do plenty of research. I read around, getting opinions from different perspective and usage patterns. Some reviews are so carefully research and written that I often find myself enticed to get the product. Beautiful imageries are a bonus, but I tend to lean towards reviews centred around how the product fit into the context of the author and how he is using it. Reading Daring Fireball’s review gives me an insight on how an average user goes about his everyday live with an Apple Watch. It’s certainly more helpful that sites that focuses on paper specs, technical details and comparison against other smartwatches. Contextual reviews are the most the most helpful, especially for a device the world has never (hardly) interacted with. For this, Daring Fireball nails almost every aspects, and I can supplement the ones he left out intentionally by reading other reviews.
With any new purchases, I dissect them into “necessary” and “nice-to-have”. Once I do that, I found there are few things that I can’t do without, and heaps of shiny items that could superficially enhance me. When Apple Watch was first announced, I was dead certain I’ve no need for a computing hybrid that’s constantly on my wrist. I didn’t even bother to catch up on the rumours and updates leading to the actual launch. I was mostly a non-watch wearer until my wife got me a steel Casio Edifice as a Christmas present a few years back. Another watch I subsequently own is by Uniform Wares, and that’s only because they’re on sale and I needed a subtle face and band to match my outfits.
Apple Watch was dismissed, because it’s one of those nice-to-have that doesn’t improve my life. In fact, it could be another unnecessary distraction as I seek to get away from the digital overload. Maybe because when it was first announced, I didn’t understand the use case. Under what scenario would I find them useful? I didn’t find any compelling feature that entices me to consider it as a replacement for my current watches. It’s a direct substitution for all watch wearers and that will take some doing, even for Apple fans and users. Watch is not something we change often. Moreover, wearing a Apple Watch is for the long haul. You don’t change the watch according to the outfit, you change the strap instead.
The best thing about mechanical and quartz watches is never worrying about battery life. Besides being an accessory (for some), its primarily function is to tell time. I don’t want to be away on a hiking trip with the fear that I wouldn’t be able to know what time it is. I don’t want to wake up with a surprise that I forgot to charge the watch overnight. These are genuine concerns that need to be addressed. And as much as Daring Fireball’s review shed a more positive light on Apple Watch, I know I won’t be an early adopter. Not until I discover more compelling reasons to use it.