We caught up with digital early-adopter, Max Tatton-Brown, to find out how much he likes his new Apple Watch.
Max is founding director of Augur, a communications agency that believes if you can articulate your true strength accurately, success will follow. He also writes for places like The Guardian, Wired and Econsultancy about what’s next in tech, startups and marketing.
Hi Max. So what is the best thing about the Apple Watch?
I've come to hate walking around staring at my phone. Or holding my phone. And how much time I spend on my phone. It's a great device but it doesn't need to be all-consuming. The Watch changes that. I've started putting my phone in my bag, not even my pocket. And I'm not tempted to take it out anymore.
Which apps work well and which don't?
Getting directions from Maps as taps on your wrist means you don't even have to look at the screen - which is brilliant. Generally, the concept of notifications is great - you really do only see stuff that you need to. Timers are effortless and the fitness stuff seems pretty much perfect. Replying to Messages is brilliant when it works too. A couple of taps or a quick Siri chat and you're away.
Worth mentioning Siri is brilliant for tying everything together too. At first, you think you have to wait for the buzz when you activate it but in reality you literally can hold your watch up, say "Hey Siri, set a timer for five minutes" and forget about it. It has worked 90% of the times I've tried it.
With third party apps, 1password has a great implementation for two-factor authentication, Evernote is handy for ticking things off shopping lists, Citymapper has really nice simple step-by-step directions. Also, something like IFTTT Do comes into its own - I have "recipes" set up to add a task to my Asana, send a message to Slack that tells the team I'm in transit or add something to my shopping list. You just tap the big round button, say a little text and it fires it away.
Re. not working so well, you could argue every app is disappointing at the moment because they are slow to load. They all have the same baggage of a little waiting time, a fair few crashes. Then there's the question as to why on Earth Apple continues to put a Stocks app on its devices and not let you delete it...
Do you think smart watches will become as popular as smart phones?
I don't think that's conceivable for 3-5 years. Smartphones are more important than just about any device in your life - they are ubiquitous personal computing. This form factor will take at least 2-3 years to reach its stride and after that, it's still not everyone that will want to make the leap. In the meantime, smartphones will only be moving from strength to strength.
How should businesses and organisations respond to adoption of smart watches?
As they should to all technology. Be aware of it, apply it to their challenges (internally and externally) and consider the opportunity - not just any threats.
How successful do you think the product will be for Apple?
The beauty of Apple's position is it only needs to sell these to a fraction of its audience and it will still make billions of dollars. They are also pitching this not as a separate product but very much as an extension of your iPhone - so if they are creating a dynamic that keeps people buying iPhones, that's a strategic win for them too.
There's no downside, just some interesting quirks along the way which will determine how this sits in society as a whole.