What I Learned About Apple Watch's Limitations By Using A Pebble

Added on by Daniel Kuney.

I'm pretty bullish about Apple Watch. Back in November, when I started to contemplate the added conveniences and value of a wrist worn wearable, I bought the lower-end Pebble with a Black Friday discount. I figured it was worth $80 to start testing some of these conveniences in the real world.

As I anticipated, the Pebble made some interactions with my phone more pleasant or more easily accessible. But there were a couple of instances in which the experience did not live up to my expectations in ways that I hadn't considered.

One, I anticipated that reading incoming messages on my Pebble would be more polite than pulling my phone from my pocket when in the company of others. While it's certainly more convenient, it's really no more polite. Both gestures send a message to anyone I'm with that I am pulling my focus from them, no matter how briefly.

And two, the value proposition of wrist worn wearables goes down in colder months. Glancing at incoming messages while walking down the street or commuting will be effortless in warmer weather, but if you're wearing a jacket, gloves or multiple top layers, your watch is perhaps even harder to access than a phone in your pocket. 

These are by no means deal breakers, but they are worth mentioning as there tends to be a gap between how we imagine new technologies will solve problems, and how they actually perform when faced with real world challenges. I had imagined a dozen different use cases for the iPad in the three months between its announcement and actual ship date. Today my iPad largely sits at home. I still like having it in my life, but it's essentially a very expensive newspaper.  

I think Apple Watch is going to stick around longer than calculator watches, but, as an early adopter, I'll need to temper some of the magical powers I have imagined for it.