The Apple Watch is almost here - you can preorder it on April 10, and it'll start shipping on April 24 - so naturally people are getting all up in a tizzy about it. And the thing is, it might just be worth the tizzy.
Sure the Apple Watch is about as much of an extravagance as an iPhone or iPad, but it sports a fair number of cool features. Many of which may in fact become a requisite for future smart devices (tablets, phones, and now wearables) once we get used to them.
Pretty much everybody loves to personalize their stuff. This includes iOS devices, computer desktops, playlists, and now fancy electronic wearables. I'll admit I've probably spent a little too much time creating a custom iPhone case and then switching around the wallpapers and ringtones to match a particular theme, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat because customizing stuff is cool. So really it makes sense that people would be all over the Apple Watch's digital faces and various straps. And of course you just know that once it officially releases we'll be seeing plenty of third party options and custom watch face design apps in short order.
Despite the obvious limitations of such a tiny screen, the Apple Watch's interface is actually pretty impressive. Being able to drag a finger to "look around" your collection of apps looks easy and natural, and having the ability to call up the information you tend to use the most (i.e. weather, email, etc) will help to avoid unnecessary interaction. And that's just the touch screen on the face. The button and dial long the side add even more interface possibilities that Apple is already touting, and I'm sure we'll see even more clever stuff once more people start to develop for it.
Health & Fitness Stuff
The Apple Watch certainly isn't the first wearable designed to promote and assist with personal fitness, but it could just be the most accessible device yet since you'll be able to view and interact with all the information you need directly on its face. Apple has shown off a few cool apps already, like Activity and Workout, and Six to Start confirmed last year that they're bringing Zombies, Run! to the Apple Watch. I mean, this is kind of the device's primary focus. It seems like they've got a good idea of how to make it stand out.
Apple Pay was already a pretty slick way to get around dragging out your wallet when making a purchase, but using it with the Apple Watch goes one better. Now you won't even have to wrestle with your phone, but rather just wave your wrist over the appropriate retail hardware to the appropriate reader. It's so simple it's bound to make people a little uncomfortable. But that's also why it's so cool. Everybody's been in a situation where pulling out a wallet was an exercise in frustration at least a few times in their life, right?
Reasonable Battery Life
This probably shouldn't be as big a deal as it's been made out to be, but it kind of is. Most wearables have an admirable amount of battery life, and the Apple Watch needed to be able to keep up at least a little in order to avoid being written off as a pointless peripheral. So the fact that the Apple Watch can last for up to 18 hours is pretty significant. Whether or not that ends up being just enough for the average user or not quite what we need remains to be seen, but it's definitely a good start.
A Very Easy to Use Charger
When the Apple Watch does run out of juice, the last thing anyone will want to do is fiddle with tiny connectors or (heaven forbid) even tinier port covers. That's why the Apple Watch's magnetic snap-on-snap-off charging connector is something to be thankful for. It means that you'll be able to touch the charger to the back of the watch and let magnets do the rest, rather than wasting time trying to pry open tiny rubber flaps.
As someone who gets a surprising amount of use from the map app (at least when traveling outside of NYC) this one is kind of a given. Having to constantly pull out and unlock my iPhone to check on directions can be something of a pain in crowded areas, to say the least. Glancing at my wrist, on the other hand (no pun intended), seems to be a lot more convenient. There's also far less chance of me dropping it, which is a huge plus.
Some folks might use Siri fairly often, but I tend to find myself going straight to Safari when I'm looking for information. That and I keep forgetting Siri is an option in the first place. On the Apple Watch, however, it makes a lot more sense. You can simply voice your inquiries directly into the watch's microphone. Then the results can be viewed, sent, saved, or whatever - all without having to pull out your phone. Plus it just looks cool. Like a combination of Dick Tracy and Star Trek.