On the Apple Watch

I’ve worn the Apple Watch for three months now. It’s an amazing piece of technology. Sleek. Comfortable. It even tells time! Critics focus on the battery life, the price, and the lack of a true need for the device. What holds the device back is none of those things, though. Rather, the watch’s inability to independently access the Internet is its Achilles heel, and that weakness will prevent it from becoming the next must have, mega-hit product.

Smart phones, tablets, and laptops open new worlds for users, or, at least make the known frontiers of the Internet portable and easily accessible.  With the ability to surf the web, one’s phone, tablet, or laptop is ever-changing and always holds the promise of being more than it already is. The Apple Watch doesn’t enjoy that same promise. At least not yet. The small screen and resulting lack of a keyboard limit a user to Siri and widget-like information retrieval. Nice. Helpful. Impressive, even. But you’re still constrained. The Apple Watch brings the world to us, but only in predetermined packets. How Apples solves this riddle is unclear, but, until it does so, any expectations that the Apple Watch will operate on the same tier as products like the iPhone and iPad are misplaced.

More important than any shortcoming, though, the Apple Watch’s weakness may be more a statement about our changing expectations of technology since the arrival of the mobile Internet. The upper limit is no longer to make tasks more convenient; rather, the new goalpost is to give the user easy access to the whole of human knowledge. That’s a tall order. Maybe we need to content ourselves with the humbling fact that, for now, it’s just a great watch. To get the whole of human knowledge in an easy accessible form, I guess I’ll just have to reach into my pocket.

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