Gruber: Apple Watch is not an iPhone on your wrist; it’s different, new, and surprisingly expansive

“My watches as a teenager were digitals made by Casio, pretty much like this one that you can still buy today for $10: black plastic watch, resin strap, two buttons on each side,” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball. “The interfaces were complex, inscrutable at first. I always knew the interfaces were bad, but I accepted them because I wanted the features. I liked having a stopwatch and countdown timer. And of course the interface was complicated: all these features were packed into a tiny little watch.”

“During the past four weeks, I’m surprised how much I’ve been reminded of those Casios. In the way it felt cool in 1987 to have all those features on my wrist, it feels cool today to have these features on my wrist,” Gruber writes. “This is the watch my teenage 1987 self would have expected my 2015 self to own. Apple Watch’s interaction model is complicated. That doesn’t mean it’s too complicated — and I don’t think it is. There’s simply no way to avoid complexity with the number of features — which, borrowing from the terminology of the horological world, Apple is calling ‘complications’ — Apple Watch encompasses.”

“Do not expect to strap on Apple Watch for the first time and feel entirely at home,” Gruber writes. “It’s different, new, and surprisingly expansive. Apple Watch demands exploration. Those old Casios were arbitrary. Apple Watch has a logic behind its interaction design — but it needs to be used to be fully understood. The basics are obvious — initial setup and pairing with your iPhone remarkably so — but not everything. It’s a tool you have to learn to use. It is not an iPhone on your wrist.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Give yourself two days. Two days, tops, and you’ll be fine. There’s more to learn after that initial acclimation, but you’ll get it and have the basics nailed rather quickly for such a “different, new, and surprisingly expansive” device.


  1. Anyone remember being an early iPhone adopter? It took a while to get the interface to feel comfy and homey. Not long, but a few days. I think everyone is so used to iPhones/clones now that we have forgotten that it was a pretty alien–and cool–interface a mere 8 years ago!

    I already can tell that in a month interacting with this watch will seem like second nature. Bravo Apple for making something so complex really very easy to use.

  2. Not necessarily. As I wrote to 9to5mac on “A Skeptic’s Apple Watch Diary”, I returned my Apple Watch Sport to the Apple Store so I could specifically tell them my disappointment with the Apple Watch. You can read my full assessment in the comments on that blog but bottom line, my feeling is Apple should be ashamed for releasing such a hyped up product that really is nothing more than a slow relay of iPhone data on your wrist. I found the Apple Watch to be a ridiculously anemic tool that in no way improved my life.

  3. I got mine today, and have been playing with it this afternoon and evening. It’s a beautiful thing, but I am not sure my SS w/Classic Buckle was worth $700. That said, what I have set up so far has been awesome. I wonder if I would have been happy with the Watch Sport, for $400. I think so, because the interface doesn’t change, just the look and feel.

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