If you have been reading this site for any particular amount of time, then you know that we often talk about the intersection of technology and style. A lot of this discussion often comes in the form of our fascination over smartwatches. The landscape of smartwatches has evolved over the years from one that featured a multitude of styles, options, and manufactures to one that boils down to Apple versus everyone else. In just three short years, the Apple watch has come from nothing to command over 50% of the smartwatch/wearable market, shipping over 3.5 million in just the second quarter of 2018 alone. While this has been a boon for the visibility of connected devices, the ripple effect of this dominance is why we hate the Apple Watch.
Functionality over style?
The Apple Watch (and many other wearables) are designed to be functional wrist-bound information hubs first and stylish accessories second. In contrast no one will ever say that the stylishness of a standard watch is a secondary thought compared to its functionality; its very design is its function. Thus while sleek in that Apple design language, the Apple watch’s standard design clashes (most of the time) with many average looks, especially professional and formal ones.
For example at a recent meeting, more than half of those that were wearing a watch were sporting an Apple watch. All but one of those individuals had made any alterations to change the appearance of the watch to make it fit more in line with both their dress and environment. As a result, in many cases both the design and chosen color of said Apple watches severely clashed with their outward professional attire. Only one of these individuals had done anything to upgrade the looks of their Apple watch to make it better suited with their professional exterior. When asked about the look and appeal of her watch, she stated that the Apple watch was actually quite ugly.
That very statement from an Apple watch user had me very perplexed. Why purchase a device that is as much about style as it is functionality if it is ugly? This is where the problem lies with the Apple watch; its homogeneity. Each one looks the same with only variations in color being an option. While the design of the Apple watch is not horrible, it is not suited for all occasions.
The Apple watch is an excellent device to supplement your phone usage, to track your health and fitness activities, and to replace you sport watch. However the style that comes with wearing a watch totally goes out of the window. This value in the style of a watch is something that many other smartwatch makers have tried to preserve in their own designs and offering. Yet they have not made the dent in the connected devices market like Apple has.
This is why I hate the Apple watch. Not because it is a horrible device, but because its dominance it dulling our sensibilities of how (when & what type) a watch should be worn. By changing the narrative of a watch’s purpose to becoming a window to your phone from the that of an elegant timepiece, the Apple watch is slowly diminishing the timeless of what a watch is supposed to be.
Is an Apple Watch appropriate in professional settings?