Seventy-two hours ago, I was among the 22 percent of lucky customers whose orders were fulfilled for the Apple Watch. Many have asked I summarize my thoughts about what I like, what I think needs work, and what marketers should consider when creating an Apple Watch experience.
What do you like about the Apple Watch?
From Apple’s first announcement last September to receiving it on launch day, I have consumed a significant amount of information about what to expect from Apple’s latest technology. Yet, all of my research did not prepare me for the full experience.
The watch is beautifully designed and the 42mm face is just the right size. The interface is very smooth and responsive, and I am getting a good feel for which elements add the most value for me and how I want to extend my iPhone experience.
Setup was incredibly easy and primarily facilitated through the Apple Watch app on my iPhone. After language selection and visually pairing the Apple Watch and iPhone, I dove into setting up my application preferences.
The key thing to consider if you are looking to invest in an Apple Watch is to understand that it is NOT an iPhone on your wrist, but it is an extension of the iPhone experience. It WILL streamline lightweight tasks such as messages, notifications, and quickly reviewing email.
I like the flexibility of the interchangeable watch bands; it literally takes seconds to completely change the look of the watch. Third-party band options are already appearing on eBay, and I have ordered a second Apple Watch band myself.
What needs work?
Outside of the passcode keypad, there is not a consistent input mechanism beyond voice. Responding to messages either consists of predetermined phrases, emoji, or voice response. This is fine 90 percent of the time, but for those times when it is not convenient to speak your response it will require you to pull out your iPhone. #FirstWorldProblems
The same goes for making and taking calls on the Apple Watch. Be prepared to look like Dick Tracy when you are speaking into your wrist. Calls are better meant for taking on your actual iPhone.
One surprise was Facebook was noticeably missing from the Apple Watch app store on launch day. You still receive notifications from the app, but there is not a native Facebook Apple Watch experience as of yet.
One additional missing element is a browser experience. There are third-party apps that provide an abbreviated browsing experience, but there is not an official Apple Watch browser. Siri is voice-based, and any search query that is not tied to an existing app function is handed off to the iPhone.
I have experienced accelerated battery drain on both my Apple Watch and paired iPhone. Also, Handoffs between the watch and app can be awkward in some third-party apps. Upon initial setup, a number of applications have to be preconfigured via the iPhone prior to working with the paired Apple Watch.
How can marketers benefit from the Apple Watch?
For brands that have a native app in market, the Apple Watch can provide a way to extend the value of the application if marketers focus on creating utility. From a shopper marketing standpoint, Target’s focus on list creation is a good example of taking a single element of the app experience and using the Apple Watch to drive a specific user behavior.
Target’s Apple Watch app initial user experience
Target app example of highlighting item location via Apple Watch
I have used the Starbucks app extensively over the past 48 hours. The “glance” tells me how close I am to a Starbucks location as well as extends their loyalty program, and I can leverage Passbook for quick payment for my morning Americano. I have been impressed by the ease of use and the value the app is bringing me through a simple experience.
The key areas of focus for marketers are understanding how to leverage both short and long notifications to influence certain behaviors while also leveraging the most relevant data to visualize – via a glance – to sustain ongoing wrist engagement.
American Airlines is simplifying the boarding experience
By focusing on extending apps through the lens of consumer value and lightweight interaction, marketers can capitalize on staying at the top of mind through a user’s wrist.
Uber’s Apple Watch experience
Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360