It’s easy to get caught up thinking of what might be with the Apple Watch, since there’s so much future potential. On Monday though, we will be given the first generation, and it’s tough to see much utility from it at this point. It’s easy to compare the Apple Watch of today to the iPhone in 2007. The first generation Apple Watch isn’t going to be able to do much at all, similar to the first iPhone. By the third generation, it will probably be a whole other story, but that doesn’t give any more value to the Apple Watch this year.
Apple previewed the Apple Watch last September, and since then it hasn’t gotten any better in terms of the main limitations. First off, you have to charge your Apple Watch every night, which isn’t different than an iPhone, iPad, MacBook, or even electric car. The difference is that we have seen wearable technology that delivers sleep tracking, which is a valuable utility. When you’re charging your watch every night, you’re obviously not wearing it for sleep tracking, so that’s a feature Apple is foregoing. The Apple Watch is set to be water resistant to prevent against sweat, or splashes of water, but it won’t be water proof so keep it out of the pool, ocean, and probably even the shower.
One of the biggest limitations is that the Apple Watch requires a connection to your iPhone. That’s not the biggest problem, since you’ll likely carry your iPhone with you at all times, but it does mean you could always use your phone instead of your watch for the utility the watch provides. The Apple Watch is positioned as a fitness utility, but when many are exercising, they know it’s a hassle to bring an iPhone along with gym shorts and yoga pants. Also, since the Apple Watch needs to connect to your iPhone, how much battery drain is there for both devices because of that constant connection?
The biggest complaint of the Apple Watch is that it seems redundant, since everything it does can be accessed by simply pulling your iPhone out of your pocket. The idea is that you would need to pull your iPhone out less, and stare at the iPhone screen less. Is it really worth spending at least $350 on an Apple Watch to not pull out your $650+ iPhone? To further the limitations of the Apple Watch, Apple has severely crippled the WatckKit SDK for developers. If you’re hoping for killer third party apps, you’re going to have to wait, because at the moment developers can’t do much beyond offering notifications and glances. The WatchKit SDK is so hamstrung, that developers can only use the digital crown to scroll information, and can’t access haptic feedback. The first watch apps won’t be anything more than text based displays and static images.
The first generation Apple Watch looks like it won’t be able to do much beyond tracking steps, showing time, and presenting your iPhone notifications.