No, it really doesn’t have one besides, presumably, its fashionable design.
After the Mar. 9 Apple Event, comments about Apple Watch are everywhere. Besides the positivity from Apple fans, another common tone is about doubt. Some people, especially those who actually touched and reviewed the real product, in one way or another, can’t seem to find a definite selling point. Besides the pricing concern, providing only “mundane / predictable” features which are not convincing enough for people to buy one is in concern.
As an Apple fan I read as much as I could about all those doubts and negative opinions, hoping to find out where they’ve got wrong.
But, being a Buddy of Very Little Brain, I thought for a long time and found that they’re actually right about Apple Watch –
Besides its visceral industrial design that some might find appealing, Apple Watch really doesn’t have an obvious or convincing selling point.
Because Apple Watch, it seems, and at least for now, is more about the long term or accumulative improvement of fluency, efficiency, and convenience. All those are in the details, not well-represented in a product feature in its conventional sense. And all those are in the vague, if not invisible, user-side presence of the User Experience, which is established and has its impact on users only over time, instead of through a first-impression advertisement.
The issues Apple Watch claim to address are mostly ones that are brought about by mobile phones. To people who commonly wear watches, checking the time is effortless; while those who don’t wear one actually make an effort of grabbing the mobile phone and activating it just to take a brief look of the time, every time. To people (like me) who used iPod Nano 6th generation as a watch alternative, even that one button push to activate it for displaying time may be too much compared to a traditional watch (we simply raise a hand). Adding to the complex is that, mobile phones are sometimes in rather frequent use, and those frequent users may not see why a watch is useful at all because their mobile phones are at hand frequent enough for them to check the time or whatever functionality when they want to. The mobile phone habit is strong and constant.
And as we all know, changing user habits is hard, behaviorally or psychologically. No wonder some people have a hard time taking Apple Watch seriously. In some cases it’s about not seeing the conventional selling point; in some other cases it’s old habit resisting; in most cases, I’d guess, it’s both.
Thus, depending on how you define or understand the concept of a smart watch and how addicted you’re to mobile phone, Apple Watch could be positively habit-changing or irrelevant.
To me the “smart” part of a smart watch should always be about improving the user experience of at least daily activities, and Apple Watch looks like something that can change the habit of constant mobile phone grabbing and gain the precious convenience (fluency and efficiency) over a relatively long period of time. Just by thinking about that, I desperately want an Apple Watch on my wrist, even though it has no selling point.
Maybe it’s just me being an Apple fan. But think about it: what we actually got from mobile phones (and all previous technologies)? Absolutely nothing other than the convenience of communicating. We always think in terms of utility – products and services, but it’s always the user experience in reflection. Human.