Now that the shipment notices have made it out to the pre-order crowd and we’re all anxiously following the progress of our Apple Watches from Harrisburg, PA (or wherever…) it’s time to set some expectations. Based on past rollouts of new, groundbreaking Apple products, this is what we’ll probably hear a lot of this weekend on websites and social networks:
1) “The battery life on the Apple Watch is awful!”
Of course it is, when you’re trying to load every known Apple Watch app in existence and have been fiddling with the Force Touch screen and Digital Crown ever since you took it out of the box. Trust me; when I got my first Newton MessagePad back in 1993, I obsessed over trying to get it to understand my handwriting. I went through AAA batteries like they were peanut M&Ms. Later, when I began using the device like it was designed to be used — like a note-taking tool, calendar, and address book — my battery life seemed more reasonable.
The same thing happened with my first iPhone, which was so incredible that I had to show all of its features to everyone who wanted to see it. Doing that 20 times in quick succession quickly drained the original iPhone. Once again, when I began using the iPhone in a more appropriate (read: non-obsessive) manner, battery life didn’t seem so bad.
2) “My connection to the iPhone is broken/erratic/slow”
Of course it is. We’re talking wireless here, which in 2015 still isn’t perfect. If you’ve used any existing activity tracker or wearable, you know that things aren’t always going to connect first time, every time. As much as Apple has probably tested and optimized Apple Watch <–> iPhone communications, there are bound to be some issues.
Set your expectations a tiny bit lower than they probably are. This is a 1.0 device, and there are likely to be some issues that will crop up unexpectedly once millions of Watches are in the field. Apple usually does a good job of identifying and squashing the more serious bugs up front, but if you go into your Apple Watch experience with the expectation that the connection (Bluetooth or Wi-Fi) may not always work the way you want it to, you’re going to be much happier in the first few days. I hope Apple proves me wrong with this one.
3) “I’m getting a rash from my Apple Watch band”
Whether you’ve ordered one of the metal, leather, or silicone bands, it’s possible that your skin might get a little sensitive. I was an owner of the Fitbit Force, which was a very impressive activity tracker… until Fitbit recalled the devices because of widespread reports of allergic reactions to some component of the band. I had no issues with the band until one day I wore it just a bit too snugly on my wrist, at which point the skin underneath the device developed a nice itchy blister.
Make sure that your Watch band is snug, but not too tight. Also, be sure to let the skin underneath have a chance to breathe every night when you take the Watch off to charge it. If you do start feeling as if you’re getting an allergic reaction to the band, consider buying a band made of a different material to see if that resolves the issue.
I would not be surprised if this isn’t the most common complaint, because a lot of people no longer wear watches and aren’t used to the feel of a band on the wrist. Just use some common sense when wearing the Watch, and if things get a little itchy, consider moving it to the other arm for a bit… or just take it off for a while.
4) “My Watch got a scratch on it after two minutes!”
We’ve covered the ability of the Stainless Steel Watch and Gold Watch Edition to withstand scratches thanks to the extremely hard and durable sapphire material on the watch face, but the most popular Watch — the Sport — only uses a hardened Ion-X glass that is still susceptible to scratching. It’s very likely that a lot of people are going to scratch the Watch face after a few minutes and then publicly gripe about it.
Why? The first few days — particularly if you’re not used to wearing a watch — you’ll find yourself banging the Watch into tables, chairs, and anything else that your arm normally takes as normal wear and tear. Of course, you’ll want to show off the Watch, so you won’t be wearing long sleeves over it… and you may take it off to show someone and drop it as well.
Eventually, unless you encase your arm in cotton batting, you’re probably going to get a scratch on your Watch. Expect it, and deal with it. If it happens during the first few days, well, consider the Watch to be broken in and hope it doesn’t happen again.
This post might be a bit cynical, but I’ve lived through way too many Apple product launches and I can anticipate what kind of comments we’ll see through social media and websites. Just remember, although you spent a lot of money on this device and you want it to be perfect, it’s likely to have a few imperfections. Don’t let it get to you; just enjoy the technological marvel that you have strapped to your wrist, realize what an amazing thing it is, and enjoy yourself.