Please Don't Rush Out To Buy An Apple iWatch...
...or why wearables aren't yet ready for primetime.
Last November I took the overnight flight from San Francisco to London. I was, ahem, towards the front of the plane. But further in front of me were two Apple execs returning from Cupertino to London. And in the lounge I overheard one of them crowing about the iWatch he was bringing back with him. The only thing that stood out of that conversation though: he'd got it that afternoon, and it was already running low on battery.
Sadly this squared with my own experiences with Android Wear. I bought an LG GWatch pretty much as soon as it came out, to try it out. Karly has a Moto 360 which I've also played with. And I've seen lots of Googlers using various devices. The truth is for smart watches to succeed they need to be both: (1) truly beautiful jewelry that you would want to wear on your wrist at all times; and (2) sufficiently long lasting that you don't have to charge them for more than a few hours once or twice every week.
I'm sorry to say that currently no smartwatch ticks both of these boxes.
The various Android Wear watch designs have proven, fairly conclusively for me at least, that only round watches are truly beautiful enough that you would want to wear them as jewelry. I'm sure plenty of folks will buy an iWatch at first because it's hip - but I doubt many of them will still be wearing them in 6 months when they are ubiquitous, and they are actually looking for something that looks nice on their wrist. My own experience with Android Wear devices suggests that even the prettiest watch band in the world can't fix an ugly face.
And secondly, I just don't think most people are interested in charging two devices every day. Certainly my experience is that - as much as an Android Wear device is convenient - it's not essential enough to remember to charge it every day, and put it on every day, and hope it lasts the day. Ultimately, a device has to be significantly
adding to my life over and above what the smartphone is already doing to justify the additional "mothering" time I spend on it. And for me, smartwatches aren't there yet.
Also, I quite like having my wrists free http://xkcd.com/1420/
So for all of you with iPhones, who will watch the iWatch announcement this week, and feel the urge to rush out and buy one: take heed from someone who has tread that path before you... and think seriously whether you really need the latest shiny shiny...