Boys with their toys: the Apple Watch

Boys with their toys: the Apple Watch

You can say that some boys never grow up if you look at their toys. The boys just get older, and the only thing that changes is that the toys get more expensive. Within our tech driven bubble some grown men are excessively mad about all kinds of (new) gadgets. The young kid in us comes back to live. On top of that we are constantly teased by the media about things that new technologies potentially have to offer us. Some brands of gadgets are more than able to find the right balance between creating the 'I-want-to-have-it feeling'. Even before they launch the product, people already want to have it. Talking about needing patience.... Sounds familiar, right? In our 'Boys with their toys' topic we regularly discuss new toys. You won't get a review, just a (potentially) biased interview with a user. This week's 'Boys with their toys' is about the Apple Watch. Obviously. What other shiny toy can we talk about at the moment? Although, this smartwatch has only become available in the Netherlands since last week, we have two boys at aFrogleap ('Hello, Bart and Hugo!'), who already got it on their wrists for a couple of weeks. Reason enough to ask them about their experience with this toy.

"Why did you buy this toy?"

Hugo: 'After wearing the Pebble Watch for a while, I think I was just curious to know what new and better functionalities the Apple Watch has to offer. And of course, it’s a beautiful gadget to have’.

Bart: 'Since we are developing smartwatch apps for some clients I wanted aFrogleap to have it. So I bought 2 Apple Watches (a 38mm Sport version and a 42mm steel version) in the Lafayette store in Paris. And on top of that I maybe just wanted to be the first ;).'

Unlike in other European countries, it took a while before the Apple Watch was available in the Netherlands. Hugo bought it online in the App Store. It had to come all the way from Zurich, this increased the cost extensively due to import taxes and shipping. He didn’t see that coming, which definitely made the watch a bit more ‘precious’ to him. A few weeks later it came out in the Netherlands. At last!

"About what feature or experience of the watch are you the most excited?"

Hugo: 'First of all, the smart use of notifications. And second, unlike the opinion of some people, the battery lasts quite some time. I didn't charge it last night and I still have 50 percent battery left. I think, I easily could spend 2 days without charging it. But that might be a different story for people who use their watch excessively during the day.'

Bart: 'Yes, of course the notifications. But I'm also amazed by the different kinds of vibrations and, especially, the nuances that can be made in those vibrations. For example, Google maps shows you exactly the way by letting you feel through different vibrations whether you go right or left. Also, every app has its own distinctive vibration, but in the sense that you can recognize from which app you get a notification. It's very subtle. In this way, you can be a bit more selective in which notification you want to view and give attention to and which you just let pass. The thing that I also like about having an Apple Watch in the office is that I can walk around and leave my phone on my desk, but at the same time, stay informed. On top of that the movement and sport tracking is actually more accurate (and fun!) than what I was used to from my fitbit.'

'Do you talk to your watch?' It's what Bart asked Hugo. At that moment, Hugo tells his watch that he ran out of coffee... We noticed that his spoken message did come through correctly on his watch. After a little while, Hugo's message was received on Bart's watch and he could give a reply by talking back...

Apple Watch with spoken messages

Nothing new, because with iPhone we can do the same, but still, it's a fun feature. The same goes for the heartbeat sensor. During the interview, Bart sends his heartbeat to Hugo. And that is not the first time. The boys constantly keep each other informed about their 'pressure moments', during sports, presentations or just for the fun of it. Since you need to have an Apple Watch to share it and just a few people in their circles have it, they can only share this 'intimacy' with each other.

Bart: 'The heartbeat sensor as a part of the watch is awesome. It only has to work a bit faster in detecting the heartbeat. Sometimes when I use the heartbeat censor, for example when I'm cycling, it takes some time (up to 25 seconds) to measure your heart rate. It loses a bit of its relevance. You basically want to measure it right at that moment and that's not always the case. The Apple Watch makes me more aware of moving and health. I use it a lot to track my sports activities. It's cool that a watch tells you to stand up after sitting too long, and detects the difference between regular movement and sport.'

"So, there are certain aspects that make you less enthusiastic?"

Bart: 'Well, it makes you look a bit anti-social. People think you are checking the time, while you are triggered by a vibration to check notifications. This can be a rude indication that you feel like leaving or that you don't have time. It's like you are constantly checking the time. Giving the feeling that you have limited time for the other person. In fact, you have to overdo your arm raising movement a bit to wake up the screen and be able to view the notifications. So, it's not very subtle (yet). The upside is that I'm checking my phone less now.'

Bart asks Hugo if he finds himself more anti-social since he uses the Apple Watch. For Hugo it means that he uses his iPhone to a lesser extent and that's a matter of how important a message is. The Apple Watch is quite useful to remind him of meetings during the day, which he experiences as coming more 'naturally' to him (feeling the vibration through notifications closer to his body).

"Will you recommend the Apple Watch to other people?"

Hugo: 'Definitely. It's a very cool gadget and it would be awesome if more of my friends have one. This way I can connect with them in the new and more personal ways the Apple Watch makes possible! I use the Apple Watch more for personal reasons.'

Bart: Probably not (yet). I think the added value is limited for regular use. It is by far the best smartwatch out there, but it isn't enough for me to convince non techies to jump aboard. For me this is still a test whether it is useful in and around my work. I think there can be made some improvements to make this work more flawless.'

"What is the relevance for aFrogleap?"

Bart: 'We are currently working on our first smartwatch app for the Red Cross First Aid application. We like to explore the possibilities with smartwatches and try to extent the experiences we create for mobile if it can add extra value. In the limited way the watches are working now we don't believe a digital experience will be created with a smart watch-first or only focus, like we believe in a mobile first focus. We see it as an extension of the experience you have on one of your core devices (smart phone, tablet or laptop). With this in mind I believe that more smart experiences can be created. If we think about the value-added to the experience, with smartphones at least 60 percent of what you can do on your laptop can also be done on your smartphone. But that's not nearly the case with smartwatches. This usage might be relevant for only 10% or less of your digital interactions. We call these interactions micro-interactions. And to think about your product and what the (extended) micro interaction is, that is what drives us to try out these devices.