It’s Time: An Apple Watch (Mini) Review

Let me preface this with a question: Can Apple really sell anything as long as it has its logo affixed to it?

The Apple Watch, in a sense, is the first new product launch since Steve Jobs. There has been a lot of doubt surrounding Tim Cook and whether or not he can lead Apple to a future just as bright (or maybe even brighter) than if Steve was still with on this earth. Though Steve Jobs is depicted as a self-centered, egotistical, control freak, he had a knack for being a brilliant businessman, having a keen sense of good versus bad design, and the ability to stretch the limits of current capabilities. Given all those qualities that made him into a unique human being, the world was given the iMac, the iPod, and the iPhone – three consumer electronic devices that changed the very history of technology for the better (or to some, for the worse).

Tim Cook is stuck bearing such a heavy legacy to follow (and, ultimately, to surpass).

The Apple Watch is described by Tim Cook as “the most personal device [they’ve] ever made”, and the hardware and software melody they both create is proof that Apple still has the magic within them. The “Taptic Engine” (somewhat referred to a haptic feedback motor, but the designs and implementation are fairly different) creates gentle vibrations on the wrist, alerting the user of notifications, turn-by-turn directions via the Maps App, and other assorted goodies that connect the person with their device. Ranging from basic vibrations a GroupMe message from college buddies to the feeling of an elastic band when the “Digital Crown” (as Jony Ive calls it) reaches the end of a scrolling motion, the Taptic Engine breathes life into an otherwise seemingly lifeless device.

On my wrist.

On my wrist.

The Digital Crown is by far the most impressive piece of design on the Apple Watch. I used to own a Pebble and after using the Digital Crown the buttons that I had used before seem out of place. The scrolling motion is smooth and slick, and the responsiveness is top notch. After using it to interface with all the nuances of the Apple Watch, it’s a wonder why no one ever thought about this kind of implementation before.

More "professional" photographs.

More “professional” photographs.

The fit and finish of the Stainless Steel Apple Watch (mine is the 42mm version) is, as expected, Apple-like quality. Manufacturing defects are non-existent and the polish of the stainless steel casing is both mesmerizing and astonishing. My only complaint is that the Classic Buckle, while the actual buckle portion is nice since it is stainless steel, leaves much to be desired. On the back of the band reads “Natural Leather”, but it feels thin and flimsy, with no stitching (which my Swatch Sistem 41 had). The feel of the band is cheap and thin, which makes me wonder which part of the Classic Buckle warrants the $149 price tag.

Watch OS 1.0 is fairly responsive and doesn’t feel like a 1.0 product. The scrolling is smooth and the panning through the home screen is fluid and dynamic.

As many other reviewers have mentioned, the one part that is the only obvious downside to Watch OS is the third-party software. Granted, the software developers had no access to actual Apple Watch devices (short of the limited viewing and debugging offered by Apple to exclusive developers), so I can’t really blame them entirely for slowdowns. Also, the App has to ping and grab information from the paired iPhone, which further adds to the unresponsiveness of third-party Apps. I expect, however, given enough time and exposure to the full Watch SDK that is to be released later this year, third-party Apps are going to only go upwards in terms of responsiveness and functionality.

I’ve only spent a few hours with my Apple Watch so this concludes my mini review. I honestly only wanted to share my pictures, but I figured I should practice some writing.

Until we meet again!