The exploding dud: Not liking the Apple Watch doesn’t make it a failure


Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by Macworld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

Another day, another Apple Watch review by someone who seemed destined to hate it. Well, who else are you going to get to review it, really?

This time it’s Inc.’s John Brandon who explains ”Why the Apple Watch is a ‘Newton-Like’ Failure” (tip o’ the antlers to Shawn King).

The Newton was a failure. Apple made the Newton. Apple makes the Watch. Brandon does not like the Watch. QED.

I've been waiting for this moment for a few weeks now.

Objectivity incarnate.

There are so many things to hate about the Apple Watch even before you buy one! Case in point:

The Sport model is too delicate for me…

So… get the stainless one? Or don’t get one at all?

Don’t wait for an explanation of why the Sport’s too delicate, you’ll grow old and die before it comes. You’ll miss your kids’ graduations, miss their weddings and the birth of your grandchildren. Your lovely wife, Margaret, will grow old alone and pass away quietly, mourning the husband who never returned… because he was waiting for Brandon to explain why the Watch is “too delicate”.

…and you can't swim with it…

Holy cow if only that were something that was fairly obvious about the Watch before you bought it. Oop, surprise! It does not, in fact, do that thing that no one said it would do. Although, as it turns out, it actually seems like it does, but it’s not warrantied for that so for most people it’s not a good idea.

I don't even like how it looks.

There is not a single thing that Brandon likes about the Apple Watch, making him the perfect person to review it.

Since its release on April 24, I've (ahem) watched and waited to see how the story unfolds. I didn't want to make any overly bold predictions, but I felt something in my gut that said this was going to be a fail.

It’s amazing how many faits you can accompli when you think about it!

Honestly, I just don't think people care about a watch.

Most people probably don’t, at least right now. But people don’t always know what they want. The Macalope didn’t want the little birds that crawl across his back and eat bugs at first but now he can’t live without them.

I had to give it the old college try.

Clown college is still a college.

I tested a few apps, squinted at the screen, and wondered why the early reviewers were so extremely positive.

I shook it, I yelled at it, I even tried putting it in my mouth!

And now, the other shoe has dropped. Last week, Vanessa Friedman wrote about her "break up" with the Watch.

Coup de foudre!

A research firm called UserTesting found that most people don't like it.

Say, how big a sample did that survey have, John?

Research firm UserTesting surveyed 52 Apple Watch users…

Fifty. Two. A number that’s barely representative of a weeknight Tampa Bay Rays game, let alone millions of Apple Watch owners. But what exactly did the survey results say?

People like it…

[spit take]

…but for most people, the device didn’t inspire them to go out and tell all their friends to buy one…

Which is not the same thing, of course, but when you’re making a preconceived omelette, you have to break a few eggs of logic on your head. Brandon has a loose affiliation with statistics as exhibited by what he thinks is a significant “report”:

Apple hasn't released data about unit sales or returns, but many reports are now suggesting people are returning the Watch within the 14-day return period.

That link goes to a piece by Philip Elmer-DeWitt listing seven (7) people — including the aforementioned Friedman, Business Insider’s Jay Yarrow and a writer for Tiger Beat in the Valley — who wrote posts saying they were returning their Watches. Brandon’s conclusion, which is based on exactly 59 people?

It's officially a dud.

Suddenly and for no apparent reason, the headquarters of the American Statistical Association burst into flames.

At least the Samsung Galaxy Gear had a funky camera on the wrist strap.

Which is super-awesome if you’re a creepy snowboarder who thinks taking videos of women he just met is a cool way to impress them.

At least the LG Urbane is an oval.

At least cats are quadrupeds.


Apparently the intimation here is that the LG Watch Urbane — please use the full name — is better looking than the Apple Watch because it’s oval instead of square. At 45.5 x 52.2 x 10.9mm, though, that’s a big oval.

The Macalope has read a lot of Watch reviews — some favorable, some written by John Brandon. Maybe he missed it, but he doesn’t recall seeing mention in any of them about how incredible it is that Apple was able to make a version that’s only 38mm on its longest side. Motorola and LG can ship their monstrowatches and all we hear is ah, yes, watches are supposed to be round because they’ve never ever been square before in the history of the world. Who cares if it’s the size of a serving platter and the interface is awkward? It’s a round screen!

Pretty much no matter what your wrist size, you can wear an Apple Watch. This is not the case with any Android Wear watch the Macalope’s seen. They have all the appeal of a home arrest bracelet.

My wife tried [the Apple Watch] and gave up after two minutes.

Well, he hates to ruin your statistically unstoppable sample of wives, but the Macalope’s wife tried his and immediately ordered one. So, we seem to be at a statistical impasse.

Actually, first she wouldn’t give it back at all. Then when she finally did she ordered one.

The one-day battery life is abysmal.

It’s not. It’s the same battery life as most smartphones and, yes, we all wish it was better, but we live with it. And the Macalope’s Watch always has a 50 percent charge left when he puts it on his night stand at night.

It's too much of a trend statement for those who want to earn some bragging rights at a meeting.

Is it the Apple Watch you have a problem with or is it Apple?

It doesn't really change how I work, how I stay on contact with others, or improve my day. It's a hindrance.

Not if you use it right. The Macalope is willing to accept the argument that Apple could be doing a better job of explaining what the Watch is really good at, because all of these rage quits seem to miss completely that the Watch works best as a filter for notifications. Turn on the same notifications you have on your iPhone on the Watch and, yeah, it’s going to be annoying. But filter it to just those you really need to see immediately and it’s brilliant.

And guess what? I was just describing the Newton.

I used this thing all wrong and it’s just like this other thing from twenty years ago! Easy comparisons are the best comparisons!

The Macalope had a Newton. No, actually, he still has it. It still works. The problem with the Newton was poor support from Apple, poor integration with existing platforms and the syncing, oh, God, so much syncing. Those aren’t really the Apple Watch’s problems.

Also, Apple sold 50,000 Newtons in the first 3 months. They sold a couple million Apple Watches in just days. If you hate the idea of smartwatches or Apple in general, yeah, the Apple Watch isn’t going to be for you. That doesn’t make it a “dud”.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon