I’ve been quiet about my Apple Watch since it arrived in mid-May.
I was trying to honor one of blogdom’s most important rules: never be the last of a thousand reviews.
Fortunately, I’ve found a loophole. This isn’t a review — it’s an observation.
Of all the opinions I’ve read, positive or negative, one comment pops up more than any other: Apple Watch doesn’t yet have a “killer app.”
The latest came just three days ago, when CNBC posed the question Is interest in the Apple Watch dissipating?. The article offers not a shred of evidence that indicates a lack of interest, but it does offer one quote from an analyst, “It’s not clear what the killer app is. It’s nice to get notifications, but it’s a nonessential product.”
Well, here’s the stark reality: The Apple Watch has no killer app. And it will never have a killer app.
But anyone who hinges the success of the device on the idea of a killer app is living far, far in the past.
If you need any proof, just look at the iPhone. We can all agree it started one of the biggest technology revolutions of our time. So … what’s the killer app?
Music? Banking? Fitness? Games? Email? Messaging? Camera?
That depends on who you are. Any one of those things, or a combination thereof, might be worth the price of admission. But what’s killer to one person is boringly insignificant to another.
Further, what you consider to be killer probably existed previously on your laptop or camera. Which means that the killer part of iPhone really isn’t an app — it’s the concept of the phone itself. One device that does all that stuff, and fits neatly into your pocket.
The same can be said of iPad. The things you do on iPad can be done elsewhere, but the tablet’s form factor and interface make it far more portable and usable than the desktops and laptops that came before.
Honestly, when I hear the phrase “killer app,” I think of ancient times. I mean like Apple II times.
VisiCalc was the earliest recorded killer app. However, it appeared at a time when people hadn’t a clue why they’d ever want a computer. VisiCalc sold a ton of Apple II computers, but even more important, it sold the idea of having a computer.
We’re a littler smarter than that now. We don’t need to be convinced that we need a computing device, and we’d never settle for a device that doesn’t do thousands of things.
So, as my personal expression of protest, I refuse to use the term killer app. I prefer the word amazing. I apply that descriptor to any app, functionality, hardware or software design element that delivers some serious delight.
I find a lot about the Apple Watch to be interesting and useful, but I already find three things that live up to the amazing word.
First, it’s incredibly convenient. I now look at my iPhone less than half as often as I did previously. My phone can buzz away in my pocket, but if the Watch isn’t tapping, I know I can look later. It has literally changed my everyday behavior when it comes to information.
Second is Apple Pay. Have you ever used the Magic Band at Disney World? It blew me away the last time I visited. Just a wave of my hand allowed me to get into the parks, buy virtually anything, reserve ride times, and get into parking lots and hotel rooms. Apple Pay turns the Watch into a Magic Band for everyday life. You can so easily see where this is going.
Third is Maps. I travel incessantly, so I’m forever walking around cities I don’t know. When I want to visit a particular site or restaurant, I do the “Hey Siri” thing with my Watch. Then I walk to my destination — past people laboring over their phones to figure out where they are — without ever looking at my Watch again. That’s because it taps a different pattern for left and right turns. Big, big smile on that one.
Gotcha! Now you’re just talking about killer apps anyway. You’re contradicting yourself!
Not really. In 2015, I just wouldn’t be moved to buy a computing device because of a single app. It needs to do many things — to make me feel more mobile, more connected and more powerful.
In a sense, every one of Apple’s revolutions has been an evolution. Our links to the world have moved from desktop to briefcase to pocket, and now to the wrist.
There’s a lot of killer in that. Even without a killer app.
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