Apple has supplied selected members of the media with Apple Watch review units, and now the review embargo has been lifted, and the reviews are rolling in. The reviews tend to indicate that the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch made so far, but it isn’t yet a must-have.
Nilay Patel, The Verge:
“There’s no question that the Apple Watch is the most capable smartwatch available today. It is one of the most ambitious products I’ve ever seen; it wants to do and change so much about how we interact with technology. But that ambition robs it of focus: it can do tiny bits of everything, instead of a few things extraordinarily well. For all of its technological marvel, the Apple Watch is still a smartwatch, and it’s not clear that anyone’s yet figured out what smartwatches are actually for.”
“… Notifications are the most important part of any smartwatch experience, but on the Apple Watch you can only swipe down to see your notifications when you’re on the watch face. Once you click the Digital Crown and open the app launcher, the notification drawer goes away entirely and swiping down does nothing. Same with Glances, which are essentially single-screen status updates from various apps you access by swiping up from the Watch app. They’re a major piece of the Watch experience, but they disappear everywhere else in the operating system. These are radically different interface patterns than iOS, where you can access the notification center and control center from virtually everywhere, and it makes navigating the Watch interface more confusing until you get it.”
Edward C. Baig, USA Today:
“Now that I’ve spent more than a week wearing the Apple Watch, I’m reserving a prominent spot on my wrist. Apple Watch is an elegant combination of style and purpose, even if it indeed often serves as a stand-in for the iPhone tucked away in your pocket or purse.”
“… It may take you a couple of days to get reasonably comfortable using the watch, especially getting the pressure sensitivity thing down. I sometimes needed to tap more than once or more precisely. You sometimes get tactile feedback.”
Joshua Topolsky, Bloomberg:
“The watch is not life-changing. It is, however, excellent. Apple will sell millions of these devices, and many people will love and obsess over them. It is a wonderful component of a big ecosystem that the company has carefully built over many years. It is more seamless and simple than any of its counterparts in the marketplace. It is, without question, the best smartwatch in the world.”
“Perhaps one of the most difficult things to wrap your head around is the way the watch extends—and often replicates—the functions of your phone. You can receive and send text messages on the device, for instance, but doing so on the small screen with your hand cocked in the appropriate position isn’t ideal if you’re working on something longer than a one-line reply.”
Lauren Goode, Re/code:
“Not everyone has an iPhone 5 or later, which is required for the watch to work. Not everyone wants her wrist pulsing with notifications, finds animated emojis thrilling or needs to control an Apple TV with her wrist. Smartwatches can sometimes feel like a solution in search of a problem.”
David Pogue, Yahoo Tech:
On the Apple Watch’s need to charge every night:
“This means, however, that you won’t be wearing the watch at night. That’s a much bigger problem than anybody seems to be acknowledging.
For one thing, that fact makes the Apple Watch the only fitness tracker on the market that can’t track your sleep. One of the great joys of the Up band, Fitbit, and other bands is that they track not just your steps, but also your cycles of deep and light sleep. Not the Watch. For a device so thoroughly designed to help monitor your physical well-being, that omission is a heart-breaker.
And if the watch is on your nightstand, you can’t exploit its brilliant wrist-tapping feature as a silent alarm that won’t wake your partner.”
Scott Stein, CNET:
“The Apple Watch is the most ambitious, well-constructed smartwatch ever seen, but first-gen shortfalls make it feel more like a fashionable toy than a necessary tool.
The watch is beautiful and promising — the most ambitious wearable that exists. But in an attempt to do everything in the first generation, the Apple Watch still leaves plenty to be desired. Short battery life compared with other watches and higher prices are the biggest flags for now. But Apple is just setting sail, and it has a long journey ahead.”
Pre-orders for the Apple Watch will begin at 12:01AM Pacific Time on Friday, April 10. Try-on appointments for the Watch will also be available that same day, with the Watch officially launching on April 24.