Apple Watch has been in the wild almost two years, and the much improved watchOS is up to version 3.x. Watch itself has improved with the newer version with more power, brighter screen, and longer battery life hitting the streets last year. Despite the naysayers predicting doom and gloom, and a lack of actual sales numbers, Apple says Watch is doing fine, just finished the best sales quarter ever, and industry estimates indicate the company owns the industry segment in marketshare and profitshare.
What’s the Watch value proposition? A fashion gadget? Or, a health and exercise gadget?
Actually, it’s not either or, or even both. Like iPhone, Watch is many things but it starts off as an iPhone accessory, so there’s a good reason why Apple does not release sales numbers. As an accessory, they would pale by comparison, so Apple is wise to the let the Watch makes its own market. So far, it has.
I have Watch Series 2. My wife, who would hardly ever wear one of the dozen or so watches I bought her as anniversary gifts through the years, wears it daily. It’s something of a fashion statement, thanks to a dozen different watchband styles and colors, but it’s not a health gadget for her. It’s convenience. She can make and receive calls and texts without having to fish around for the iPhone. Only recently has she begun to use it as a health and exercise tracker.
On the other hand, I care little about the fashion statement a Watch makes, though I scoured Amazon to come up with a Milanese Loop clone watchband for about $12. Best. Band. Ever. And roughly $138 less than Apple’s own Milanese Loop Watch band.
Do I use it as a health and exercise gadget? Yes, of course. But there are numerous other uses. I track steps with a Pedometer app, track heart rate and sleep with a few other apps, so I’m more conscious of overall exercise and sleep quality than ever before. That alone makes Watch a worthwhile purchase, but convenience enters into the equation, too.
Here’s what I have found out about Watch during my usage.
First, it takes more trial and error to get set up properly than an iPhone. Why? iPhones have been around about 10 years so we know what to do. The Watch value proposition is new. It’s an accessory. It’s also a fashion item, a utility, and highly customizable. That means a Watch user can set it up instantly and forget about it, but never know what else can be done, so some trial and error is a requirement.
Second, everyone’s needs, experiences, and requirements vary, so again, some experimentation helps. Apple’s Watch interface has improved but still has some crazy-assed weaknesses. Launching apps with those little unidentifiable icons is an exercise in futility. The Dock is not an improvement over Glances (from earlier watchOS versions) and still requires multiple taps and swipes to open an app. That’s nuts.
Third, there’s a secret to better navigation and usage, and it has to do with Complications and Watchfaces. I use the Modular face because it holds more Complications; five, beyond the time. A single swipe brings up another Watchface, which means different Complications. Each Complication opens an app, so while the Dock holds only 10 app icons, multiple Watchfaces can hold as many as five apps each, and only a single swipe is required to get five more.
For now, I use five Modular Watchfaces, each with five Complications. That means a single swipe gets instant access to five more applications, and four swipes gets access to 25 applications (as Complications). The Dock, meanwhile, is limited to 10 apps, and access to each one requires a tap, a swipe, a tap to open, then repeat to get another.
My way is better.
Your mileage may vary depending upon which Watchface you choose, and which Complications you prefer to use, but mine is packed and fully useful. Later this week I’ll publish an article with which apps and Complications I use. Just like the iPhone, the Watch use case and value proposition is growing and varied.