Katie Floyd on the intentional lack of Apple Watch features
Personally, I find the lack of Facebook, Snapchat and most of Google’s apps on the Apple Watch fantastic. Our phones are with us all the time. No one want’s to miss that urgent call or message. But having these devices with us all the time means that any time we have a few extra seconds we can check email, browse the web, see what’s happening on Facebook, catch up on Twitter or any of a number of other things. Have 30 seconds in the checkout line, pull out the iPhone. That’s fine, but it’s also a little mind-numbing.
This is a different spin on the theory that the Watch is pretty limited in what it can do. In fact, that is specifically the sentiment Floyd is trying to combat. And what she is saying is not completely wrong, there is a niceness to knowing the only notifications I see are important ones, but of course this is how a person’s iPhone could be setup as well. The Watch is a great a companion device, and when used in the manor Floyd describes, it’s just fine, except not for a starting price of $350.
That is where the limitations burst through. Whenever people see my Watch they almost immediately start asking questions about it. My summarized response is always the same, “the things it does, it does well, but there are too many things it doesn’t do.” In order to do most of what it can do at it needs an iPhone to pair with. The entry level iPhone 6, or 6 Plus has a (subsidized) price at least $50 cheaper than the cheapest Apple watch. It’s nearly impossible to think of another scenario where an optional add-on device, that can’t function without the original cost almost as much, or more than the original device.
When people ask me if they should get an Watch I tell them there are three questions to answer. (1) Do you have an iPhone? If not, it’s completely useless. (2) Do you wear a watch everyday currently? If yes, then this is probably an improvement. (3) Do you have cash to burn? If you don’t, save your money for a future revision.
It’s a well designed device. It’s surprisingly comfortable, and the fitness tracker is great. Being able to send text messages from it, or read text messages from it is sometimes convenient. But the times where you really want to take advantage of Siri, like while driving, it fails miserably. More powerful third party apps should make a big difference down the road, but for now the lack of functionality is a bug, not a feature.
I can see the Watch (or a similar device) being the future of tech, it’s just not the present, at least in it’s existing form.