After the initial Watch reviews came out I said I was bullish on the platform but probably wouldn't be buying one. Now that I've had the chance to demo it at the Apple Store and some of my favorite bloggers and podcasters have given their extended thoughts, I'm confident saying I won't be buying a gen-1 version. Here's why.
The hardware isn't quite ready
The Watch requires an iPhone that is either connected via bluetooth or over the same wifi network. This is constraining, and also puts a lot of pressure on the Watch to do things better or differently than the iPhone. Apps are reportedly very slow, taking as long as a minute or two to launch at times, and I experienced this myself during my demo. Other than checking notifications, the time, and the glances, I'd rather pull my phone out of my pocket than have a poor and frustrating experience. It does do some interesting things an phone doesn't, such as fitness tracking...
Fitness tracking is ok but not comparable to dedicated devices
I may be able to forgive the above if it functioned well as a fitness device. Its heart rate monitor is reportedly quite accurate, and it can be used with a chest strap if you prefer. It works as an mp3 player with bluetooth headphones. It also uses sensors to approximate activity. However, the exclusion of dedicated GPS means runners and cyclists won't be getting the most accurate results (unless they carry their iPhone also). Although it's water resistant, it shouldn't be submerged, meaning it's not a good option for swimmers, triathletes, surfers, etc. Personally, if I'm spending $400+ on a fitness watch I want it to have GPS and be water proof.
I can't buy it even if I wanted to
I didn't want to preorder the Watch without getting some hands-on time. It is only available online at the moment, and isn't shipping until June. So even if I wanted to, I can't get one yet. By the time it's available, I'll be looking forward to rumors about the next generation version that hopefully addresses some of the points above.
Too many compromises
I feel the Apple Watch isn't quite ready for primetime. I'd be very curious to know whether they expedited the development schedule due to Android Wear and Pebble. I like the idea of it, but it just doesn't make sense to spend $400 or more on a device with so many compromises. Any gen-2 rumors yet?