The Three Worst Gimmicky Features on the Apple Watch

The Three Worst Gimmicky Features on the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch features some cool stuff. Here's a list of the stuff that don't make the cut.

Given my Android nature, when Apple first spoke on the Apple Watch towards the end of 2014, I decided to keep my mouth shut in order to avoid sounding bias. I wanted to take some time, sit back and take all the features Apple jammed into their Apple Watch in. I also wanted to make sure I read up on other tech websites opinions and views on the watch. Now, with Apple releasing even more details regarding the Apple Watch at their Spring Forward event, it’s time that I’ve shared everything I feel about Apple’s first attempt into the wearable market. To start off, here’s the top three features that I consider gimmicks on the Apple Watch.

1. Heartbeat

Apple says: “When you press two fingers on the screen, the built-in heart rate sensor records and sends your heartbeat. It’s a simple and intimate way to tell someone how you feel.”

Apple Watch Heartbeat
Apple Watch Heartbeat

I can understand how the Heartbeat feature can catch someone off guard. I can see a multitude of scenarios where this is the first thing people would want to try after getting themselves and their spouse an Apple Watch. However, beyond that, I doubt there will be much use for this “feature”. Moving beyond the obscene advertising language that Apple is so use to throwing out, there’s no way that this feature actually represents an intimate way to tell someone how you feel about them. Though, it’s quite possible that Apple is simply utilizing this feature (gimmick) in order to advertise the fact that the Apple Watch has a heart rate monitor. Whether or not that is their intent, I think it would have been more powerful to showcase a more practical use of the heart rate monitor than showing off the impracticalities of sending a heartbeat using the Apple Watch.

2. Tap

Apple says: “Let friends or loved ones know you’re thinking of them with silent, gentle tap patterns they’ll feel on the wrist. You can even customize taps for different people.”

Remember the poke, anyone? For those of you who don’t, allow me to remind you. Poking was a feature on Facebook that wasn’t very useful. A user would simply go to someone’s profile, click on “Poke [insert user’s name]” and then the user would receive a notification saying “[insert user’s name] has poked you!” Often times, this would give birth to a “poke war” in which the two users would simply return pokes until one of them was gutsy enough to actually send a message.

The reason why this didn’t work out too well was because it was a very lazy method of interaction. If a person wasn’t going to put much effort into interacting with me on a platform that makes acceptable interaction, such as instant messaging, very easy, why would I go above and beyond in response to a poke? The same principle should be applied to the Apple Watch’s tap feature. This is simply a quick sell feature in my honest opinion. Apple is probably aware that this has no long term viability but believe that it can be used to convince people that they need to get an Apple Watch. Somehow, Apple will convince people that tapping is what’s been missing from the wearable market and that this is the face of innovation that no one else could (more like wanted to) provide.

3. Digital Crown

Apple Watch Digital Crown
Apple Watch Digital Crown

I was extremely hesitant to put this one on the list. The reality here is that this is the item I hate the most on the Apple Watch. The reason it almost didn’t make the list is because it gave users more ways to interact with the Apple Watch, which is something I personally enjoy. The reason why the Digital Crown did end up on the list is because it was tooted as a groundbreaking innovation by both Tim Cook and Apple bloggers alike.

During the first Apple Watch keynote in 2014, Tim cook said that the Digital Crown is “a very simple and amazing and elegant input and navigation device” before going off into a dedicated section in using the Digital Crown.

During the Spring Forward event, here’s what Tim Cook had to say about the Digital Crown: nothing.

Therefore, I concluded that Tim Cook and Apple overstated the Digital Crown as a feature during the first keynote. The Digital Crown is a consolation prize for the lack of pinch to zoom and a horrible UI that wasn’t thought through too well for a smartwatch formfactor. We are in a digital age in which the touch screen is the superior method of input for small form factors. Scrolling with your fingers on the Apple Watch shouldn’t be a problem. Furthermore, that digital crown, if we are to only consider the hardware, is the only ugly element on an otherwise beautiful watch that could have easily been avoided and would not have been missed.

To conclude this banter, I don’t want you guys thinking that I have it out for the Apple Watch. There’s something that I really enjoy about the watch that I will get around to writing in a few days. This article was simply dedicated to the top “features” that come off more like Samsung Galaxy S4 gimmicks.


Leave a Reply