Apple Watch – early adopters are now UX testers

Apple Watch – early adopters are now UX testers


As a member of the ever evolving technology scene, it’s not without a certain sense of obligation that I feel compelled to continuously buy ‘product’. Specifically Apple product.

One part of me feels that as a supplier of digital services, it falls within my remit to ensure that the entire team are riding the continuously changing wave of relentless technology in not only hardware, but also social integration and how specifically new hardware could potentially change the way we live our lives. But the other part of me genuinely feels (ever so slightly decreasingly though) excitement at experiencing new tech – it’s the very reason I’m in this business as it drives me passionately into this love of my craft. 

The Apple Watch is probably Apple’s most important experiment. I say experiment as nobody really knows how to expect public reaction. Apple have been cryptic around the success of the Watch with no actual sales figures yet announced, claiming:

“The response to Apple Watch has surpassed our expectations in every way, and we are thrilled to bring it to more customers around the world”

This could be typical Apple hyperbole, marketing themselves ever into a sales frenzy, but some industry experts such as Slice have claimed that orders have fallen flat since their launch. Where the truth sits is irrelevant to the concept of the watch itself and the impact it’s having on consumers. 

The 2015 Apple WWDC from yesterday was illuminating to those in the know. The fact that Watch OS2.0 has been released mere weeks after the hardware launch is telling. I pre-ordered our developer version of the Apple Watch on the day of the pre-order. Approximately 2 hours after the launch gun was fired. Our watch turned up 6 weeks after it was promised, suggesting either Apple had seriously got their order process wrong, or the watch had been a sell out success. 

Having used our watch for a couple of weeks now, one thing was certain. It had been seriously sandbagged – Apple had blatantly held back the feature list and functional competency intentionally in order to 

  1. Garner sufficient user feedback on launch and amend issues accordingly
  2. Provide reasons for current users to upgrade to the next versions, creating a release schedule for future watches

It may come across as a cynical overview of the most important lifestyle component Apple have released, but having used it intensively, I’m absolutely positive of its commercial benefits, but not of its social and lifestyle. 

Most applications that are essential on the iPhone haven’t yet been given their proper wings to fly on the Watch. Either Apple has them clipped, or development hasn’t yet matured.

Battery life is poor, requiring a recharge every night. As a passive, lifestyle item, this is a significant hindrance to the user experience of something that is supposed to be hidden from any effort. This absolute dependency is so crucially disruptive to the concept of a passive life coach to the extent that I can’t help but feel it’s not ready yet. 

Apple have the largest UX team in the world. Their 10s of Millions of early adopters, the fan boy elite (myself included) give Apple the most valuable, instant, user feedback any company can only dream of. 

It may make the product infinitely better and this evident, agile approach that Apple seem to have employed by way of frequent OS changes has only meant that as an early adopter, we’re not getting the best of the product. Not yet anyway. 

This absolute dependency is so crucially disruptive to the concept of a passive life coach to the extent that I can’t help but feel it’s not ready yet. 

We’re working hard to develop our existing know how into watch technology. Eventogy is a product that seems likely to benefit hugely from wearable devices, with thoughts towards guest notifications and travel updates for Event managers. 

If we can get aside the social faux-pas of wearing an iPhone for a watch (been subject to much ridicule and criticism, Apple you owe me one!), then the future holds some unknowns. Will the watch go down the same path as Glasses? Android Wear has shown their watches were fraught with quality and social acceptance issues, so Apple no doubt has a tough time ahead. It’s up to us developers now to give users good enough reasons to wear them.

One thing’s for certain though, Apple’s packaging is STILL world class!



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