Apple have finally done it. They released watchOS 3 for Apple Watch a few weeks ago, an OS which allows Apps to run on the Watch itself and not as an add on to the iPhone App.
And this really saddens me, but a thousand times. . . NO.
With watchOS 3, Apple have made some improvements, but in doing so, they have completely changed the UI interface and experience, taking the carefully thought out interactions and quick accesses to for example, Friends (a single press of the side button) or Glances (a customised quick view of your favourite Apps, accessed by sliding up from the bottom of the screen) away. Replaced instead by a Dock which displays your most used Apps and the one glance screen nobody really used, the Control Centre Screen. All other Glances functionality is GONE. I’ve been using it since launch and in the weeks since then, I have found myself using my Watch less and less.
As someone who bought the Sport Edition 42mm (£349) on pre-order day, my Watch Sport arrived on the official launch date, along with the 4 additional Sport Band straps of different colours (£39 each) I purchased to customise the ‘look’and then I upgraded to the stainless steel Watch 42mm with Milanese Loop (£599), I was ‘in’ to the whole Apple Watch thing and absolutely loved it. I sang its praises on here twice. I’d spent over £1,000 on Apple Watch(s) and accessories and absolutely loved my Apple Watch. It really did feel ‘special’ to me.
There are some great ‘ideas’ implemented, like unlocking your compatible Mac whilst wearing your Watch. Yeah it sounds cool, but in reality it’s a pain in the. . . well, wrist!
I open up my MacBook Air, the log in screen shows me it’s unlocking with Apple Watch, a few seconds later, it’s unlocked and I’m looking at my desktop screen and then “PING’ my Watch notifies me I’ve unlocked my Mac with the Watch, which I then have to physically dismiss to clear the notification.
It’s actually quicker to just type the password in to unlock the Mac, no notification needed on the Watch, minimal interaction from me.
Why does the Watch have to notify me it’s unlocked my Mac? It should know it’s me since my fingerprint was used to unlock the Watch via the iPhone in the first place, it should just unlock my Mac.
Scribble, a new feature which allows you to write your messages by hand, sounds cool and it is, but on such a small screen, it takes ages to write a reasonable reply. It’s easier and quicker to just get your iPhone out and type properly or select a preset reply from the watchOS list.
Both great features, at least in theory, but poorly integrated.
Want to send a quick ‘touch’ message to a friend or loved one? Good luck with that.
With Messages, in previous versions of watchOS, I could press the side button and quick access my friends and family to send a quick message. It took a couple of seconds and it was done. It was easy and had a certain ‘intimacy’ about those messages. This alone made the Watch feel ‘special’.
But with watchOS 3? Apple can stick it. They have completely ruined my Watch experience. They’ve made changes to the Watch U.I , which make absolutely no sense (some do, but most don’t). It has become an infuriating experience where most interactions are frankly awful.
As mentioned previously, Glances and quick access to friends allowed the Watch to be a quick access point for heart rate monitoring, weather updates, music, replying to or sending loved ones ‘special’ messages. Now replaced with a ‘Dock’, removes the ‘intimacy’ the Watch previously had.
Whatever made watchOS 1 and watchOS 2 make the Watch feel special, Apple have managed to make evaporate and turn it into a clinical thing, instead delivering what is essentially a more complicated fitness tracker. A very expensive fitness tracker at that.
So Apple, that day has come. My Apple Watch is now listed on eBay. You may have brought out a new improved Series 2 version, but with the monstrosity of an OS you call watchOS 3, I most certainly won’t be buying one.
A Watch is a personal thing, it’s an intimate relationship wearers have with the device they choose to keep closest to them. Apple’s watchOS versions 1 and 2 exemplified that relationship in new ways, creating a bond between device and wearer. Apple really got this when the Watch first launched and then later updated to watchOS 2, but with watchOS 3, Apple have successfully removed that feeling and have turned my Watch into nothing but a small, cold, harder to use computer on my wrist.
Talk about screwing the pooch Apple. Two steps forward (in some respects) 5 steps back.