I wear an Apple Watch every day and I can’t tell you how excited I am at the prospect of using watchOS 3. It’s truly Apple’s second take on how the Apple Watch should work, based on a year of real-world use by millions of people.
It’s tough to admit that you were wrong. With watchOS 3, that’s what Apple is doing on numerous fronts. I get why someone might have thought that using the watch’s side button as a gateway to a miniature contacts list was a good idea, but in practice it was readily apparent to be a misguided use of one of the device’s only physical controls. watchOS 3 admits the mistake and re-tasks that button for something far better: a dock of important apps, already loaded and ready to run.
Sometimes you’re wrong because you have an idea that you think will work, but it just doesn’t come together or mesh with the way people want to use your product. I think that’s what happened with the Friends button. Reality collided with that vision, and reality has won. (Full credit to Apple here: I thought it was distinctly possible that they’d double down and try to tweak the Friends view rather than kill it.)
But sometimes you make what is (in hindsight) the wrong move, not out of a creative vision that was lacking, but out of fear and a lack of information. That’s part of the explanation of what happened to the Apple Watch. As Apple’s Craig Federighi admitted on stage at John Gruber’s live edition of The Talk Show on Tuesday night, Apple was deeply concerned (almost to the level of panic) about running out of battery life on the watch.
You may not remember this, but before the Apple Watch came out, there were many rumors that it wasn’t able to get through a day without a charge. It’s clear that Apple made battery life a top priority, perhaps even the top priority: This thing better last all day. And so everyone was incredibly conservative with power and memory.
It’s interesting seeing the commentary on the latest version of the watchOS. Everyone seems to agree it’s going in a better direction. The question I have is will it be enough to get more people to actually buy an Apple Watch?
I’m looking forward to watchOS 3 myself, the changes being made make sense.