Apple Watch: Mixed Response from First Customer Deliveries

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Friday marked the beginning of the Apple Watch era, as worldwide pre-order customers received their first official deliveries.

Many who ordered on the April 10th launch date expected the Watch would expand those cool little human interface experiences Apple mastered for laptops and phones. But some are complaining that this evolutionary device is just a complicated and annoying wrist-mounted iPhone notification display.

According to Wired Magazine, The Apple watch design team claim they decided to build the watch because “Your phone is ruining your life” as we become “subject to the tyranny of the buzz—the constant checking, the long list of nagging notifications.” The designers say they are rebelling against the fact that people “bury themselves in their phones at the dinner table and then absentmindedly thrust hands into their own pockets at every ding or buzz” and have lost human engagement. Apple being mostly responsible for creating our predicament, they “designed [a] square slab of metal and a Milanese loop strap” to solve it.

Here are some of the very mixed reviews by first day Apple Watchers:

USA Today’s Jefferson Graham complained that in his ”first seven hours with a review unit of the watch” he found himself “incredibly frustrated with endless nags to type in a passcode, a screen that constantly went dark and confusion about simple navigation. And oh, the battery was 100% dead within seven hours.” He believes Apple made the watch only available online because if it was in stores the public would know the product is still a frustrating work in progress.

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern reported, “If you allow it, the Apple Watch will constantly pull you out of the real world and suck you into your digital one. With constant chimes, vibrations and pop up alerts it can become a high-tech shackle, chaining you by the wrist to your email and text messages, your Facebook and Twitter feed.” Stern comments that it is hard to “tame” the watch.

T.C. Sottek and Adi Robertson at The Verge reported that it is a beautiful day when you wake up wearing an Apple Watch. “You stretch and yawn. You take a shower, wearing your Apple Watch — water drops splash against its scratch-resistant sapphire display. You think about visiting the pool later. But first, you want to buy some coffee, so you go to the coffee shop next door, and pay for your coffee with Apple Pay on your Apple Watch. Wow, that was neat.”

London’s popular 9TO5Mac suggested, “Wearing a watch again felt very strange: I haven’t worn one for around a decade. But, as I say, the elastomer strap is extremely comfortable, and I’m expecting to quickly get used to it. It looks fine on my wrist. So, overall first impressions: it’s pretty, it’s too thick, I don’t think I’m going to keep it – but the convenience of wrist notifications may sell it to me.”

Re/code interviewed Timothy Arcuri at Cowen and Co., who predicted weekend pre-order sales could easily reach another million-unit range with Apple selling as many as three million watches by the end of its June quarter. A survey Cowen conducted of some 3,000 adults revealed strong consumer intentions to purchase the device. But Arcuri cautioned, “We still view Apple Watch v1.0 as a category creator that won’t ultimately wow consumers until v2.0 version later this year.”

A Blog to Watch, the world’s premier online authority on watches, commented that the “Buildup to the Apple Watch has been totally unprecedented, as it has proven both a polarizing product, as well as one that has brought distinct demographics together in ways that I’ve never seen before. When else has a product been discussed so heavily by the tech industry, fashion industry, celebrity news industry, and watch industry all at the same time?” Blog to Watch is confident that the “Apple Watch will act as major evolutionary steps in what is a future of everyone wearing – as opposed to carrying – communication and information technology.”

The roll-out for the Watch has been a very different roll out than for any other Apple product, which had always featured a festival scene with store campouts and long lines for Apple product launches. According to the Washington Post, Apple’s retail chief, former Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts, made it very clear in leaked memos to retail staff that she wanted this launch to appeal to more of a jewelry “sort of clientele.” So far the Watch seems to have won as a fashion statement, but not so much as a revolutionary tech gadget.


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