Apple Watch isn't That Useful; Also Needs Major Design Change

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by booksbooks, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. booksbooks macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2013
    I am a first time Apple Watch owner with the Series 3. I didn't want to dump money on the earlier versions of the Watch that were slow with poor battery life. And I just wasn't sold on the Watch anyway or smartwatches in general, because I know they have one major fatal flaw: screen size. There are other issues as well that cause problems for a watch form factor to be a computing device, but screen size is the most notable one. This results in the functionality and usability of the device to be significantly constrained and limited to the point where it's hard to make a case for a watch form factor to be a meaningful computing device.

    I bought the Series 3 Watch and have had it since it became available. It's largely a forgettable device for me. There are very few things that it does that are good, and particularly in relation to a smartphone. I'm keeping it and using it basically for the health stuff, Apple Pay, and a few other nice to haves. The heart rate monitoring is good.

    Here are the issues with the Watch:

    • Any kind of productivity stuff is horrible. For instance, reading and responding to Emails; taking notes; writing text messages...
    • Other Apps, like news Apps, Chipotle, Parking, etc. are so hamstrung as to be in many cases close to useless, and especially when you have to fiddle with your phone for logins.
    • The design is terrible. It's too thick and the Crown and second button complicate the design and use. I hardly ever use the Crown to scroll; the other button is jarring and I only really use it for Apple Pay. The screen is also too small.
    • Battery life is terrible. It's nice that a User can get through a day, but this is a watch. It's good that it can be charged relatively quickly, but it's annoying to have to deal with charging it so often, particularly in the context of having other electronic devices that a person has to deal with. This has really started to wear a bit on me.
    • Overall, it hardly does anything better than a smartphone, and for that reason, barely has a reason to live. When I go to my MacBook Pro over my iPhone 6 Plus, it's like a calming feeling because I know I get the full Web, full Apps, and productivity is at a relative max. But the 6 Plus is capable. With the Watch, it's like a third "distraction". I'm better off skipping things like Email, etc. on it and just using my smartphone. In other words, the Watch is so hamstrung and so much worse at several things compared to a smartphone, it's just not worth spending time and energy doing those things on the Watch; I just go for the smartphone. The Watch comes in handy sometimes when I'm really on the go, but it's few and far between.
    • LTE: Terrible. 1 hour of talk time, and $10 per month. I'm no longer using it, and it really isn't necessary either, because of how much I have my phone on me. In other words, the LTE functionality does nothing for me and if it did, it's flawed because of how quickly it drains the battery and the expense of it.

    So I will keep the Watch for health stuff like heart rate monitoring, Apple Pay, and the convenience of having some smartphone functionality in an extremely portable, wearable form factor. But it's not an essential device and quite a flawed computing form factor.

    If Apple dumped the Crown and second button, and offset the screen to make it larger, and thinned out the device with better battery life, it would help. But it still wouldn't change this into anything more than it is: a bit of a gimmick computing category with some nice to haves.
  2. hlfway2anywhere macrumors 65816

    Jul 15, 2006
    I don't understand why people think the apple watch is too thick. When I got my first apple watch I began observing what other people's watches looked like and realized that at least men's watches are all within the same thickness.

    Most of your other complaints sound like you were expecting an iPhone strapped to your wrist and that isn't and was never going to be the case. Screen is to small? Ditch the crown? Come on. It's a watch... not a wrist PC.
  3. ImBuz macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2014
    Return it--I wouldn't keep anything I found so many faults with !
  4. charlyee macrumors 6502


    Mar 9, 2011
    To the OP, this is also my first AW but my feelings are totally opposite of yours. I love the convince and the ease of use, the screen even at 38 is not too small for me.

    For what you are using the AW for, I highly recommend you sell the AW and get a Fitbit, you will make some money and still have the functionality that you are using on the watch.

    As a bonus you will much longer battery life.
  5. Nell macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2012
    While I’d agree that the watch isn’t an essential device the ‘nice to haves’ make it worth it for me:

    • It’s really useful to be able to use Apple Pay without fishing my phone out.
    • My watch is a much more reliable fitness tracker than the Fitbits I’ve had before (and will last longer than a few months) and I find the rings really motivating.
    • If I forget my phone or the battery dies having cellular connectivity is a useful lifeline (I carry a watch charging cable just in case; external batteries for my phone get daily use) as I look after my elderly mother and need to be contactable in case she presses her alarm; well worth the fiver a month it’ll cost after the six free months.
    • Having walking directions on my wrist makes me feel safer in a city I don’t know (I really don’t want to walk around with an iPhone in my hand).
    • Using Bring on my watch for my shopping list is better than trying to juggle my shopping and my phone.
    • Departure Board is great for checking my platform on the way up the escalators at the station in the morning.
    Essential, no; useful, yes. That’s enough for me. I see it as a watch that does a lot more than tell the time rather than as an inadequate computing platform.
  6. matthew.ochs.90 macrumors newbie


    Aug 31, 2015
    Broomfield, CO
    Maybe this is your solution.
    I love my AWS3. If your complaints are that many, get your money back(unless there is a gun to your head). Why keep it? Battery life is a relative thing, you use it, it will lose charge. Anything with a battery does. The size is smaller than most regular watches are. Just seems unfortunate for you, to be so displeased with your purchase, and keeping it.

  7. Relentless Power, Oct 22, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017

    Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    I think it's evident Apple Watch is not necessarily for you in general based off reading your post. However, below are my thoughts in rebuttal to your points made:

    1. The Apple Watch serves as a primary device for being in between your iPhone. It's meant as a simple communication device to allow you to see notifications and emails. That executes this well and is intended to be primary source of productivity, as it is merely a convenience factor.

    2. You state the design is horrible, that's merely A subjective opinion. Others like it and others want to see changes. I like it. To each their own on that. But yet you complain of the screen being too small? What are you expecting, a 48 or 50 MM display? Let's remember, it's a smart watch meant to be One on your wrist, not a laptop size dislay.

    3. The battery life is not horrible. Battery life is also subjective to how you're using the watch and what for. 18 hours is more than enough for most on a daily basis and then some. It's no different if you have to charge your Apple Watch daily, similarly to how you would with your iPhone.

    4. @booksbooks quotes-

    "It hardly does anything better than a smart phone and for that reason it barely has a reason to live."

    Why do you keep comparing the Watch to your iPhone? It's not meant to be compared to the iPhone, it's meant to be reflection of your iPhone and a fitness device. Those two features along with communication and fitness is executed perfectly. Fortunately, the Apple Watch being the best selling smart watch in the world doesn't need your opinion for a reason to "Not live." I'm sure Apple and millions of others disagree with you here on this.

    5. You state the LTE functionally does nothing for you, what about for the others that it does serve functionally for?. The LTE function at least allows the Apple Watch to not be tethered to the iPhone for a simple quick call or message. The Watch doesn't need to be a stand-alone device when compared to the iPhone, it's meant to leave your iPhone stationary for fitness or times when you don't want to carry your iPhone with you.
  8. madeirabhoy macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2012

    thats how it is for me as a new first time user who's happy with his series 3.

    does it do anything absolutely outstanding? no. but it does lots of things that are useful.

    contrary to the OP i love it for text messages. walking through a car park the other day i got a message from a friend asking me something. instead of getting my phone out and walking and typing badly or stopping to type, i simply hit dictate and said 'im out at the minute ill check when i get in' and it types that and sends it. genius.

    similarly, in a sales job its rude and distracting when you get a text or a call, but i can deal with it without looking rude.

    checking my bank balance is great and i can see all my recent transactions.

    in can control my samsung tv.

    quickly checking my todo list or calendar without getting my phone out, much easier.

    for me, when you are somewhere and the wife says when we get home can you remind me this and you say 'hey siri, when i get home, remind me...' i never used location or time based reminders before but with the watch its great.

    agree with what you said about maps, much safer.

    like the sleep measuring.

    itranslate is in theory great but too slow.

    and i know its simple, but i love being able to change the face of the watch.

    one thing i completely agree with the OP on, news apps and only getting a paragraph of basic info and being told to read the rest on the phone. its only text so why not give me the whole article.
  9. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    I will touch on LTE.
    Obviously the OP neglected to review the watch forums where far more people stated LTE isn’t needed and it will kill battery life. These comments surfaced as early as the first rumors of series 2 made their way around.

    It definitely isn’t needed and based on my data usage it doesn’t seem I am getting my $16 worth.

    However, not being new to the watch the OPs comments pretty much parrot comments with the release of the first Apple Watch.

    Yet today, Apple is selling millions of them to new and repeat customers.

    Apps have surely gotten better over the years and I suspect they will continue to do so.

    Sure the watch isn’t for everyone but for manybit appears to be.

    In the OPs case it doesn’t appear to be a good fit.
  10. Allyance macrumors regular


    Sep 29, 2017
    East Bay, CA
    I have had my AW since it was first introduced, and love it for what it is. Either learn more about it or return it, don't pretend that it is a iPhone replacement. It tells me the time, day & date, temp outside, activities (which I don't do enough of), watch battery status, and most of all, Apple's stock price!, all at a glance, without doing anything else. If I want to dig deeper I can on each item. I could go on about everything else it does, but obviously you haven't bothered to learn that yet.
  11. tonoboon macrumors regular


    Apr 18, 2015
    I quite agree with you , even I own 8 Apple Watch .
    It's hard to read/reply email and not much 3rd party app useful.
    But the battery very good I can return home with more than 50% battery.
    For the crown and side button ,it's very convenient and smart .
    I've to tell you if you expect the watch can replace the phone , it's not for this Apple Watch .
    But maybe after couple year from now , maybe new gen and new name . it could be more useful.
    Now I've to say It's watch . What's you other watch can do ? I do agree , I just use it for time-telling and track my health.
    If you consider the handcrafted , Apple do the excellent job for the new babe in watch industry, and the price is acceptable ..
  12. booksbooks thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2013
    I will be spending time with the Watch and likely use some more Apps, etc. However, my point was that I never, ever thought of it as an iPhone replacement. That's not my point. My point is that a device has to have a reason to live. If it doesn't, it's useless and a distraction.

    When Jobs launched the iPad, he pointed out the reasons it had to live. And that it had to be better at a set of things compared to a smartphone to justify its existence as a new computing device category. Or else, the smartphone competes for your time and attention in a such a way where you don't use the tablet much or at all, making it useless. We've now seen over time that "Jumbo" smartphones have been, in some respects, tablet killers, as the screens have gotten to such a size where we have pocket tablets now. And because they are so portable, tablets just don't get the massive use that smartphones do.

    It's about technology convergence, and the smartphone is the most used device today with such a wide gamut of technology convergence.

    With the Watch, there are very few things it does better than a smartphone. Almost all Apps are worse on it because of how limiting the form factor is. There is no point in spending time doing a set of tasks of a mobile device like a Watch when you can do them better and faster on another device. I'm not saying that the Watch isn't better at some things, but so far in my experience, that better category is quite thin.

    I understand the Watch and what it's capable of. I'm in software development and UX/UI and know how these things work. I ask hard questions and am realistic.

    Is it really better... faster... to do things like:

    • Check your bank balance on the Watch?
    • Check and respond to Email?
    • Check and respond to text messages?
    • Use Apple Pay?
    • Digital Flight Passes?
    • Shopping lists?
    • Weather?
    • Checking your calendar?
  13. gigaguy, Oct 22, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017

    gigaguy macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2010
    Wow, you say you aren't comparing it to a smart phone, yet you just did again. Sometimes when mobile I do not want a cell phone in my hand. Watch keeps me connected and notified, plus all the other health features. I'm not looking at it to be a phone, why?

    I love the wireless iPod feature for exercise, no Phone to lug around..
  14. hlfway2anywhere macrumors 65816

    Jul 15, 2006
    Let me add:

    - turn my lights on and off with Siri
    - lock/unlock/start my car with Viper Smartstart
    - turn by turn directions while walking
    - Shazam a song you're enjoying
    - set timers

    All easier to do on my wrist rather than get my phone out. But again it sounds like you want a PC on your wrist. What do you want to do on your watch that you can't?
  15. Relentless Power, Oct 22, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017

    Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    Stop comparing the Apple Watch the iPhone. That's not even how Apple intended it and that's where you continually keep conflating two different things.

    Your above Post is extremely myopic. The average consumer that purchases the Apple Watch doesn't frequent a tech forum and nor do they take in the consideration the things you do. They purchase the Apple Watch as a convenience factor and for its simplicity. They're not considering the fact that it doesn't run every application perfectly, they're not trying to have it intervene or compete with the iPhone. It's meant as an in between device to assist them in fitness and communication.

    You need to look at the Apple Watch as a whole. And how it's changed others lives for fitness and how it's benefited for those who use it as device that not tether us for iPhone all the time. You really think the Apple Watch is a device that doesn't need to "live" based on its the number one selling smart watch in the world? I'm not being dismissive of your opinions, but nor do you do speak for the majority either.
  16. nightcap965 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2004
    Cape Cod
    Bank balance: Yes!
    Check and respond to Email? Check, yes. Respond? Only if it's a very short reply.
    Check and respond to text messages? Yes!
    Use Apple Pay? Big Yes! It's the only way I use Apple Pay.
    Digital Flight Passes? Pass - I haven't flown in a while.
    Shopping Lists? Yes! (I use AnyList, but other programs also have Watch capability)
    Weather? Sure!
    Checking your Calendar? Absolutely!

    There's no accounting for taste and all that, but my Apple Watch is absolutely the easiest way to do most of what you list, with the proviso that longer-form things (like this entry) really don't work well on the Watch --- or on the iPhone. I'm using my MacBook Pro for this.
  17. deadworlds macrumors 65816


    Jun 15, 2007
    Citrus Heights,CA
    I think you need to realize that the watch was made first with the intended purpose of telling time, you know, how a typical watch works. Everything else is secondary and to expect your watch to do any kind of productivity workflow efficiently is unrealistic, it’s a watch.
  18. jbachandouris macrumors 601


    Aug 18, 2009
    Upstate NY
    I'm not sure why you posted this. The watch has been out for a few years now and everyone here knows it's limitations and have either decided to buy (keep it) or not buy it (return it). So, it doesn't have a reason to live? Then RETURN it. No one is forcing you to keep it.

    And with the risk of sounding rude, no one really cares. If this were a review of a new product, that would be a different story, but it's not.

    For the record, I agree with many of your points and decided to keep it regardless. Your money. Your choice.
  19. bodonnell202 macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2016
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    I have never used it for that. No comment.
    No, I don't think trying to respond to email on my Watch is a good use of my time, however it is useful to see who an email is from and the subject while on the go (or in a meeting) so I can decide if I need to pull out my phone and respond right away or it can wait until later.
    Like above I can glance and see who texted me and what about. If all that is needed is a quick OK or Thanks then I can do that immediately and mission accomplished. Anything else warrants pulling out my phone which it may or may not be the appropriate time for it.
    Definitely a perk of the Watch and yes it is faster than using an iPhone
    I have never used it for that. No comment.
    I have never used it for that. No comment.
    Yes, as someone who lives in a city with some crazy weather I always include weather as a complication on my watch face and love being able to check the weather at a glance, as well as receive weather alerts on my watch
    Meeting notifications at a glance, another very useful feature of the Watch

    In addition I find the health tracking features very useful (and using an iPhone on it's own doesn't even come close) and then there is the primary reason why I purchased the Apple Watch in the first place. I love going to the gym with only my Watch and bluetooth headphones and having access to Apple music playlists as well as workout tracking - that alone was worth the price of admission to me.

    It sounds to me like you want an iPhone strapped to your wrist? I'm happy with a compact wearable device that does a few things well and for everything else I still have my iPhone...
  20. edhchoe macrumors 6502a


    Oct 28, 2011
    I agree with the OP's observations.

    When I used to wear a mechanical watch, I was madly in love with the mechanics of it and the state of the art workmanship. It is a marvel when only the spring powered mechanical parts can keep accurate time to +/- 1 seconds per day. But they only tell time.

    When I used to wear a Casio wave/solar, I loved how it kept accurate time by syncing with the radio signal autonomously and it never needed the battery replaced or charged manually. I loved the 5 alarms; I used to use all 5 alarms everyday.

    So I have been wearing watches for decades.
    My Apple Watch keeps accurate time, has infinite number of alarms (silent and discrete is how I like them), it alerts me of new emails, messages, card transactions, and it is also a fitness tracker. And Siri takes my voice commands for timers, weather info, wiki search and more.

    I don't expect the AW to replace my smartphone entirely. But it makes my life 200% more convenient.
  21. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    Apple Watch should come in a 50 or 60mm version. Its too small at 42mm.
  22. rols macrumors 6502a

    Jan 18, 2008
    I skipped the S0, S1 and S2 and finally got tempted at S3. The watch is an electronic marvel, and I think at S3 finally seems to be powerful enough.

    However .. it was fun for a day and then the novelty wore off, didn't wear it 3rd day, didn't miss it. So back it went.

    I really wish there was a use case for the watch for me but it really added nothing except a band around my wrist. Perhaps I'm far too used not to wearing a watch, perhaps the LTE model (not available here) would have had that little extra to be useful, but in the end, I just didn't really get the whole watch thing, for me it was a solution in search of a problem.

    Happy other people love them, it's not for everyone.
  23. madeirabhoy macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2012
    Is it really better... faster... to do things like:

    • Check your bank balance on the Watch?
    Much faster.

    • Check and respond to Email?
    Dont do it
    • Check and respond to text messages?
    Much faster.
    • Use Apple Pay?
    Dont have it here but when we do it will be much faster.
    • Digital Flight Passes?
    Much faster.
    • Shopping lists?
    Much faster.
    • Weather?
    Much faster.
    • Checking your calendar?
    Much faster.
  24. naturalstar macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2012
    The Apple Watch is not a productivity device. It’s a device of convenience with useful features in the form of a watch. It’s clear that you thought you were purchasing a device with iPhone capabilities on your wrist. I personally would have laughed if Apple had even thought to sell this device with the promotion of reading websites and other functions and apps best for a larger screen on it. I wouldn’t have ever bought it for the insult to my intelligence. Plus, I’m sure that Apple is not looking to replace their iPhone with the Watch anytime soon, if ever.

    It’s also kind of extreme to say that the Apple Watch “barely has a reason to live” given that it’s the best selling smartwatch in the world and recent reports say the number 1 watch - period. It’s not for you, but many others have found it very useful for their own reasons.

    I wouldn’t keep any device that I wasn’t satisfied with, especially in this price range. It’s okay to not have an Apple product. I went without the Watch until this series because of features added that I’d been waiting for to make it a more complete device for me. It finally made more sense over other similar devices I either had before or had been considering. If it didn’t, I would have went one more year/release cycle without it and been just fine. I love tech, but not to the point of blind spending for half satisfaction.
  25. fischersd, Oct 22, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017

    fischersd macrumors 601


    Oct 23, 2014
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    I don't know why people start threads like this. All you're going to do is kick off a pointless debate. The people that love it will grab their torches and pitchforks and leap into the fray. The "me too's" will pile on, as they're always up for an entertaining fight.

    It's useful to some, others not so much. (most people just don't give it a chance). A friend of mine bought and returned an S0 4 times before he finally decided to give it more than a week. Now he couldn't go a day without it.

    I use mine all of the time for Apple Pay and my grocery list (handy as hell doing that with Siri as you're peering into the fridge). Always checking the temperature outside before I head out to make sure I'm appropriately dressed (tricky time of year up here). I have used the flight pass thing a couple of times. I'll read text messages and notifications on it if they're short....more than a screen (unless they catch my attention with something important), I'll wait to read it on my iPhone. When I get to the gym, recording my workouts is motivational...helps prod me to keep going to close my rings.

    Edit: Oh...and I forgot...I also use it to play music during the workouts at the gym - leaving my iPhone safely locked in my car. :)

    Looking forward to my carrier getting their head out of their ass and enabling eSIM provisioning so I can also have the cellular convenience when I forget my phone (which I'm notorious for doing) - but I may have to leave the AirPods in the car so that works for me. :)

    I thoroughly enjoyed my S0 for a bit over two years. Hoping I get as much or more use out of my S3.

    Again, to each their own. Not everyone gets enough out of what the watch can do to make it valuable to them.

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