Reality Distortion Field has never been so strong

The following quotes from from Daring Fireball. Emphasis is mine.

It’s best to think of Apple Watch as having two modes: watch mode, and app mode.

You do not need to understand this to use the watch. Most Apple Watch owners will never really think about this. But this idea of two modes is central to understanding the design of the overall interaction model.

Then, further on in the piece:

Watch mode is where you take quick glances at information and notifications; app mode is where you go to “do something”.

Watch mode is where most people will spend the majority — perhaps the overwhelming majority — of their time using Apple Watch. App mode is a simple one-level hierarchy for “everything else”.

It’s so simple, he needs to dedicated a 1,500 word post to explaining how simple it is, and (apparently, possibly) more than 12 hours of cumulative podcast:

I have no idea what’s going on, but I don’t like it. Especially when you compare it to past commentary.

An unnecessary product

The Apple Watch deeply confuses me. On the one hand, I love the idea of a tiny wrist-mounted computer that I can write software for. It’s the sort of thing I’ve wanted since I was a child. On the other hand, Apple’s explanatory and marketing copy for the Apple Watch are unconvincing at best (e.g. “They let you do familiar things more quickly and conveniently. As well as some things that simply weren’t possible before.“), and completely bizarre at worst (“Apple Watch represents a new chapter in the relationship people have with technology“), and the product itself is not what I expect from Apple.

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It’s complex to set up, it’s slow and unresponsive a lot of the time, and the learning curve is substantial. I’ve had the opportunity to play with a few watches. The good bits are:

  • it’s beautifully made
  • the strap (the plastic one) feels amazing
  • the digital crown is beautifully engineered and implemented in software
  • it has a nice weight (the sport model)
  • the development environment and frameworks are great and powerful; I really love WatchKit, and I think that over the next few months we’ll see some beautiful Apple Watch apps (even more once it can do native apps) – coding for it is like building something for a science-fiction gadget

Some of the bad bits are:

  • it’s ugly
  • the strap (the plastic one) is hard to put on (and gave me a rash, but I’m not sure what the deal is there – I don’t have a nickel allergy)
  • the digital crown is superfluous, and I’m using it as a button and nothing more; scrolling with the screen is easier
  • the battery life is abysmal (I got to 40% after ~5 hours of almost no usage)
  • the “wrist raise”, where it turns on the screen to show the time when you lift it does not work for me at all
  • third-party apps take forever to launch, and forever to do anything; it would be quicker to take the phone out of my pocket and use that in almost every single case
  • apps are mostly pointless and confusing
  • the UX is confusing and unintuitive

When Tim Cook announced the Apple Watch, he described it as the next chapter in Apple’s story. If this is the next chapter in Apple’s story, then it’s probably time to stop reading since the book just got clunky to use, hard to understand, and really unnecessary. I’m disappointed, because I’ve spent years telling people that Apple products are better because, well, they were better, and I’ve always been convinced that Apple users didn’t just buy things because they were trendy. The flaws in the watch product, and the outpouring of gibberish from Apple fans and commentators has done a lot to convince me that fanboys are pretty awful.

I’ll post more about the watch in a few days, once I’ve had a chance to think more. I’m looking forward to my Pebble Time arriving next month.

Into the bin, Apple Watch!

Mahs5e1_Bin