The Apple Watch Review – Business Time – Apps And Performance

It’s well after lunch. I’ve had this thing on my wrist for

something like six hours now, and the truth is that I’ve barely used it.

That’s by design: again, you’re only supposed to interact with the

Apple Watch for 10 to 15 seconds at a time and then get back to your

life. On one level, that all makes perfect domain names sense: my regular watch has

had a dead battery for over a year. I don’t exactly use it for anything

except looking cool. How much am I really supposed to use the Apple

Watch to make it worth whatever price I’ve paid for it?

On another level, everything about the Watch is designed to

reinforce the idea that you have some sort of real life to return to

once you’re done using technology — that you’re not just sitting at a

desk in your office with your laptop and your phone, getting work done.

That’s the situation I’m in most afternoons — meetings have

wrapped up, decisions have been made, and I’m catching up on email,

editing, reading the site, and generally setting up the web hosting next set of

things I have to do. I’m as plugged into the internet as I can possibly

be, using my phone and my laptop for slightly different variations of

the same task: communicating with people.

This is where the Watch’s lack of speed comes to the forefront —

there’s virtually nothing I can’t do faster or better with access to a

laptop or a phone except perhaps check the time. It’s not just the

small screen or the quick in-and-out interaction design, it’s actual

slowness, particularly when it comes to loading data off the phone.

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Third-party apps are the main issue: hosting Apple says it’s still

working on making them faster ahead of the April 24th launch, but it’s

clear that loading an app requires the Watch to pull a tremendous amount

of data from the phone, and there’s nothing fast about it. I sat

through a number of wordpress interminable loading screens for apps like CNN,

Twitter, The New York Times, and others. Apps that need to pull

location data fare even worse: the Uber app takes so long to figure out

where you are that you’re better off walking home before someone

notices you staring at your $700 Watch and makes a move.

What good is a Watch that makes you wait?

This first set of Watch apps is really just loading additional

screens from the apps on your phone; you might think of all of them as

remote controls for your phone apps. True native apps are coming to the

Watch later on, and I assume domains they’ll be faster. That’s a big deal:

without a rich set of apps that extend the phone, it really is just

another smartwatch.

But right now, it’s disappointing to see the Watch struggle

with performance. What good is a watch that makes you wait? Rendering

notifications can slow everything down to a crawl. Buttons can take a

couple taps to register. It feels like the Apple Watch has been

deliberately pulled back in order to guarantee a full day of battery

life. Improving performance is Apple’s biggest website hosting challenge with the Watch,

and it’s clear that the company knows it.

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