by Cesare Rocchi

On why I am not gonna buy any smartwatch

by Cesare Rocchi

Tags: design

There are many rumors that Apple is designing a smartwatch, while Motorola has already announced moto 360. I work on a Mac, I have a few iPhones and also an Apple display. I am already hearing you screaming “fanboy”. According to your cliché I should line up as soon as Apple announces the alleged iWatch. Wrong!

Even if Apple is really going to ship an Smartwatch I am not gonna buy it. I quit wearing a wristwatch twenty years ago, when cell phones became popular and I am not gonna go back. For the record I don’t wear anything ornamental like bracelets, necklaces, earrings and even though I am married I don’t wear a ring (my wife knew that before we got married). Why? I am mimimalist and I like to “feel free”. A precious bracelet would require me to worry about it, like paying attention to not loose it, remember to take it off before the shower, etc. I solve the “problem” by now wearing it. The same holds for a wrist watch: I don’t need it. I always have an iPhone with me to check the time when I need, plus asking people around you is not a bad thing.

Are you gonna build a smartwatch? Are you gonna put in it a feature that simplifies my life? Like what? Let’s see:

  • mail notifications. I don’t care. They are turned off on every device I own.
  • tweet notifications. I don’t care. While I have push notifications turned on my iPhone I don’t let them distract me. I check them when I want/can.
  • payment system? I don’t care much. The time to swipe a card and put a signature is around 30 seconds most of the time. Are you sure you wanna optimize on that?
  • Fitbit-like tracker. I don’t own a Fitbit or the like. I walk enough and I burn enough calories every day. I “designed” my days to include walking or biking. If, in the future, I am gonna use one of those trackers I’d use one specific for the job, not one that tells you also time/weather/tweets/etc, thus not a watch.
  • I could go on …

When the iPhone was released I bought one because it solved a pain that I had. Browsing content on a mobile device was a PITA. I remember I used to take a break to smoke a cigarette and check RSS feeds. That was supposed to be a pause to stress out but when I was done I was more stressed than before. Authentication via WEP was a mess, font rendering was horrible and I don’t wanna mention how painful it was to select an item from a list. I had a problem, I presume many others were more or less on the same boat, and we all welcomed the iPhone.

Which pain point is a smartwatch trying to solve? I don’t see one. Do you? Tog has a long list. Every item listed in that post doesn’t look like a problem to me. That’s why I feel the iWatch might end up like the Apple TV (which I don’t own), a hobby.

I think it’s fair to say that Apple’s design process has been “pain driven” lately. Mp3 players sucked before the iPod. Smartphones were horrible before the iPhone.

Which pain is a smartwatch gonna solve? I don’t see any.

As usual I’d like to discuss it on Twitter or