THREE partners Chad Hazen and Steve Pagan both purchased Apple Watches soon after the product launched. Several months later, only one of them is still wearing theirs.
What sparked your interest in the Apple Watch initially?
I’m what you might call a watch guy. I have 7 or 8 different watches, all of which I love. I’m also fairly tech savvy, so when the Apple Watch came out, it was pretty intriguing. I was giddy from the get go about this thing and the possibilities it might hold.
I shared the excitement of many early adopters but I’m not a fanboy – I didn’t wait in line or preorder. I already had an UP fitness band, and I’ve never stopped wearing an ‘old-school’ watch. But the idea of wearing only one thing on my wrist, along with the fact that my UP band was acting a bit buggy, made the timing for the Apple Watch good.
And now that you own it?
My Apple Watch adds a whole new layer of flexibility. At work, it’s my virtual assistant, gently nudging me on to my next meeting. On the road, my wrist is my boarding pass, my security documentation and the way I pay for a bottle of water or a tank of gas. Getting alerts on my wrist that I can manage when the time is right? Much less socially awkward than constantly checking my phone.
I’ve glanced down at my watch to read an incoming message – it was just as though I was looking at the time. So it’s not as obtrusive as pulling the phone from my pocket. I’ve found usefulness in one-touch responses, but forget about sending a full reply via voice command – it’s too laborious. On more than one occasion, my phone has been somewhere else in the house, and I’ve answered using the watch. From what I’ve gathered, the person on the other end could hear me just fine. A conversation has been had.
So does it meet expectations?
My expectations were high – I was anticipating some pretty drastic changes. The watch did quickly make my life easier, just as I’d hoped. But it’s been a pleasant surprise to also see it change me in ways I wasn’t expecting. For me, the best part isn’t any of the conveniences; it’s how the watch has made me more open to what’s to come. I’m now extremely bullish on the concept of a smart home, and I find myself looking for new ways to control my home and my life through my watch. It’s opened my eyes to new ideas and possibilities I might not have fully considered before.
The fundamental question for me is whether this is better than what came before it – in my case an UP band. Yes, I can still do fitness tracking, but I’ve lost the sleep monitoring ability my UP band offered. I still sleep, so it’s not as though it affected that. But I liked being able to wake up and inquire ‘how did I sleep last night?’ I miss being able to use the info to ‘cross reference’ it with what I did that previous day to see what might have impacted my sleep. So that’s a loss.
The Apple Watch makes so many small things easier; not revolutionary things, but notable improvements in everyday functions. So what else could we manage or control or improve this way? The possibilities really excite me; I see myself embracing more technology as a result of my watch.
At the end of the day, I’ve gained the ability to receive texts and answer my phone ‘remotely.’ And what that means is that I’m now enslaved to my phone even when I want to take a break from it. No thanks. While the watch hasn’t shaken my belief that technology makes our lives better, it has shown me the law of diminishing returns of economics also applies to tech benefits.
Our partners may not be in agreement about the value of an Apple Watch, but they are very aligned about its significance for the work that we do. The watch’s capabilities lead to a whole new understanding of a brand experience – not just for Apple but for the brands that create apps for it. Wearables, and by extension virtual assistants like Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, open up a whole new way of interaction. As researchers, THREE is committed to understanding not just whether we want this technology on our wrist, but what the implications will be for us and our partner brands at large.