Apple Watch – consumers have lost that lovin’ feeling

The Apple Watch arrived on the scene in April this year, greeting with typical levels of Apple-related hype both from the company itself and its masses of fans.

And given that this was an entirely new product for Apple, following the iPod, iPhone and iPad, expectations were high.

High, cynics might suggest, in that again the company may yet be introducing a device that initially very few people think they really need.

Inevitably, countless travel brands reworked their existing Apple applications to so that they can be used on the Apple Watch, or created entirely new apps specifically so that wearers could have specific functions that might be useful on a wrist-held device.

Apple, marketers, app developers, brands and users predictably talked up how the very idea of having another device could only but enhance a digital lifestyle – in short, Apple Watch was the next step in the wearable technology evolution (it is nowhere becoming a revolution).

So, how has that idea played out in the intervening six months?

Branding agency MBLM has spent the time asking owners (once they have stopped showing their Apple Watch to anyone who cares) how the device has changed how they use and consume information, or how they incorporate it into their existing tech-driven lives.

The results will not surprise many who initially raised their eyebrows at the latest Apple product, especially those who consider wearable technology to be no more than just a nice-to-have.

MBLM found five main issues in the findings it obtained from 1,500 interviews with Apple Watch owners:

1. From Love to Like

The panel continues to like the watch. A few are happy with it, but most have “lost the loving feeling”. Whilst the watch has found a “meaningful place” in the ecosystem of a user’s devices, it is seen as non-essential.

2. Sour notes continue

The watch’s limitations have become clearer and gripes are beginning to be voiced, especially amongst millennials. Tethering (to the iPhone) is a major complaint, as is considered a significant “feature gap” of the watch.

MBLM says that “users are constantly and perhaps unfairly comparing the watch to the more than six generations of the iPhone evolution”. Primarily, that many of the watch’s functions available are more complicated to access than those on a phone, and therefore many users simply head back to the iPhone in frustration.

3. Limitations

Most users tend to rely on it mainly for one specific function, such as notifications or monitoring an activity (such as fitness). It is also being worn less frequently. The company reckons this may be a “situational issue until updates are made”.

4. Siri Who?

Most users say they do not use Siri – the voice recognition service already available for other Apple devices but talked up (no pun intended) as a key function – regularly. MBLM says this the “clearest example of many issues around general responsiveness that frustrate users and create unnecessary friction”. Core functions such as Siri and third party apps must perform better to gain back traction and usage, MBLM says.

5. Still Sweet on Apple

Even among those who are underwhelmed by the watch today, feelings toward the watch and especially the Apple brand remain positive and optimistic. MBLM says it finds it “surprising” that Apple has done very little in following up to early adopters and has “seemingly moved onto other products when more attention could have made a difference”.

MBLM managing partner Mario Natarelli says:

“We have seen our panel change its behaviors and attitudes over the past six months and identified a clear sense of the limitations, barriers and opportunities wearable technology is creating.”

Despite the relative lukewarm feelings towards Apple Watch, six months on, brand is everything and Apple can presumably look forward to owners not entirely abandoning their (expensive) devices just yet.

But if the device had come from any other technology company (such as Blackberry, or even Google), would users have been so forgiving?

Probably not.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.

 

Comments

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  1. Jason

    It is no brainer that a watch will still be a watch, just to watch time mostly. What else can you fit into that small screen. Moreover, Apple may be good at making a great phone, as physical design elements are not the key factor that motivated iPhone users but the seemless integration of great software and hardware. Watches are the opposite, it is the physical design that first attract the user to buy this watch from that watch. Software if it is great will be the added bonus but may not be the main reason for owning that watch. The key point here is why user not wearing it everyday as it is still a watch? Today what I am wearing doesn’t match, to most lady user watch is a accessory, guys will wear the same watch for almost any occasion, but cosmopolitan guys are also changing accessories according to what they wear. Battery life need no further explanation. Apple watch started to wear out under intensive used, which regular watch don’t. Any sign of wearing out is a concern to the user, if image is of concern to her and how she prefer to portray herself, she will wear a suitable one. All Apple watches basically look the same, the only changes are material, colour and band designs. This is subjective to individual. Tag Hauer smart watch was over booked, Tag Hauer got by surprise and they have to ram up production to meet demand. Can you go wrong with Tag Hauer? The brand and design, established & trusted, status symbol and android wear what else come close, btw future updates will push the latest features and functions to the same watch. IOS will never be available in any other brand of watches. That’s the reason that interest up market guys to invest US$1500 for a Tag Hauer smart watch. If android wear doesn’t deliver it is still a Tag Hauer, where customers enjoy associating with.

     
  2. Mick Sparrow

    I have to agree, I purchased mine in July thinking it would change the way I use my iPhone but sadly the Apple Watch is too slow even with Watch OS2 is laggy. My main use is for fitness. The best app I use is Runtastic and Strava both record my heart rate when I’m running or cycling. Some noticfications are good but can be frustrating at times especially Twitter. If someone sends me a text I get the same feedback as a tweet so I often miss the message.
    Battery life is very good lasts all day and could last longer on some days.
    Overall though I won’t stop using it because it’s still cool to have and most importantly to me it tells the time correctly.

     
 
 

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