Since purchasing my first iPhone in 2010, I’ve self-identified as an Apple fanatic. I’m the type of person who goes out and buys the newest iPhone model each and every year, because I like to have the latest and greatest Cupertino has to offer. After hearing Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ event on March 9, I was convinced that I wanted...no, needed...an Apple Watch. Now that the excitement of the Apple Watch launch has subsided, however, and now that I’ve had some time to think about the device and how I would use it...I’m not getting too excited about the Apple Watch—at least, not yet.
The Accessibility Unknown
A huge factor in my lack of excitement about the Apple Watch is that not much is known in terms of what accessibility features it will offer to blind and low vision users. While I am very aware that there is no shortage of leaked information about what accessibility features Apple Watch will supposedly have (a summary of the rumored accessibility features may be found here), the information is leaked and nothing has officially been said by Apple as of the time of this writing. While I expect that Apple Watch will contain some level of accessibility support based on Apple's track record, I’m not getting excited until Apple provides more concrete information or blind/low vision users get their hands’ on the watch.
The Whole Cost Thing
I consider myself very fortunate that if I wanted to buy a 42MM stainless steel Apple Watch with the matching steel link bracelet, I could afford to do so. However, that doesn’t mean I think it would be a wise investment because, at this time next year, there will likely be a new and improved Apple Watch on the market—quickly rendering this year’s model obsolete. While a year-old, well-cared-for iPhone will have high value both as a gift to friends/family or on services like Gazelle, I can’t imagine that a first-generation Apple Watch, with all of the customizations individual to my tastes, would have that same high appeal. And while I have the resources to buy the Apple Watch of my choosing (excluding the Edition models, of course), I simply cannot justify—even if it is just in my mind—spending in excess of $600 (assuming I went with something other than the $400+ link bracelet) on a device that will have very limited useful value at this time next year.
What Can Apple Watch Do That My iPhone Can’t?
When I consider the situation objectively, I struggle to find a task which Apple Watch can make easier than what my iPhone already does. Take, for example, communication. Apple Watch offers several new, innovative ways for people to connect with others—such as taps, heartbeats, and interactive emojis. While the above sounds really cool (I can especially picture this being appealing to younger users), I question how practical "heartbeats" and "taps" will be to mainstream users and business professionals. And while one can dictate text messages, my past experiences with dictation accuracy (and the resulting necessity to double-check the dictated text) leave me wondering how useful Apple Watch would actually be for efficient communication.
My Opinions Could All Change...in a Heartbeat
Despite the skepticism I’ve expressed thus far, I have no doubt that Apple Watch will revolutionize the way a lot of people do a lot of different things. Further, I fully expect that I will be proven wrong on many of the points I’ve stated above—and, for once, I would love that. I’d love to see an official announcement from Apple that the watch will have a comprehensive set of accessibility features, and I’d love to go try them out in-store for myself on April 10. I’d love to hear that key mainstream app developers have been incorporating VoiceOver support into their apps, so that blind and low vision Apple Watch customers can have the same great experience as sighted users—right out of the box on day one. I’d love to hear that developers are working on new and exciting Apple Watch apps especially for blind and low vision users (turn-by-turn GPS comes to mind), and I have no doubt that Apple Watch will become a groundbreaking assistive technology solution if developers embrace the platform. However, given the available information (or lack thereof), I’m not getting too excited about the Apple Watch...at least, not yet.
So, what do you think? Do you want to buy an Apple Watch? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!
Not just the VI community
I have, as I have stated in several earlier posts, not been enthusiastic about the launch of the Apple Watch. I, like Michael, could afford to go out and get one if I wanted it. However, for me, the impracticality of having to carry around and worry about another iDevice, not to mention the fact that everything can be done just as easily on the iPhone, makes it not worth it to me. However, the interesting thing is that every sighted friend of mine that I have asked about the Apple Watch say that no, they will not be getting one either, as many people have not worn a watch in ages. There is also the fact that the watch has to be charged, something that a lot of people don't like having to worry about in addition to everything else that has to be charged. I wonder how many peole will change their minds once the watch is available. I do not expect to be one of them. For those who do go out and get one, I really hope you enjoy it.
Agreeing with the above posters
Hi Michael and @Sockhopsinger. I agree completely. I'm curious to touch the watch, and trying ot keep my iPhone five as new as i can for as long as I can, is what i want. Sure, I'd like to try and enjoy Apple Pay. But, like with Amazon's one click, I don't ever want to be in the **** it category, click, buy, click, buy. in other words, I want that extra, hey are you sure you want to spend the fifty bucks on those items? As it is now, I'm looking at another Vr Stream, but only using a Mac and Audible i'm having some issues, but that's another story. When the buzz dies down, i'll probably go in and at least say I tried on the watch, but buying one, I don't think so.
I won't be buying an Apple Watch either
Hi! I have already decided that I am definitely not going to buy an Apple Watch when it is launched. Unlike a lot of people, I still wear a watch, but it's a braille one, more discreet than any watch with speech on it can ever be, assuming the Apple Watch has VoiceOver. I agree with points made above, namely that we don't yet know exactly how accessible the Apple Watch will be, plus there's very little the Apple Watch can do that the iPhone can't. I'm not interested in sending heartbeats to people, that sounds like a pointless gimmick to me. Anyway, I can't afford an Apple Watch, and don't feel the urge to save up for one. Having said that, if others want to get an Apple Watch, I won't say they're wasting their money, it's for them to decide if that's really the case when they get it.
I will be looking for a podcast. :)
Aw come on Claire, you and i both know the people who won't buy the watch will listen to podcasts right? :) Just kidding around with you, if you don't remember me, I was chocolab on twitter years ago, we followed one another for a bit before I changed.
Every one of my sighted friends including co-workers have at least one google wear device, and are all anxiously awaiting the shipment of the apple watch. Its definitely a toy for the techies
, but from the sounds of it, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense on the practical sound of things.
Still unlikely to buy it
You're probably right, Siobhan, if someone does a podcast on using the Apple Watch with VoiceOver I may well listen to it out of pure curiosity, but listening to a podcast doesn't necessarily make it more likely that I'll buy the watch, even if there comes a time when I can afford it. I hope the people who have already decided to buy it will enjoy using it! I've never been one of those who often wants the latest gadgets, but, whether people want it for that reason or because of what it can do, that's their choice and I respect that/
I will see
I am so disappointed from the battery life. I hoped Apple brings something new. Maybe soalr panel integrated in display, charging battery by movement. But Apple showed us only some little device with hardware from iphone 4s. But we will see how it will be in reality. One day on the battery is very weak to costs this device 500USD.
Why I am excited about the Apple Watch
First of all I think everyone has made very good points; the above comments questioning the utility and price of the watch reflect opinions that have been widely voice for over six months now. So without trying to question such opinions I will give my own.
I am excited for the functionality of the watch; I use siri hundreds of times a day and being able to do so hands free at the twist of a wrist sounds pretty sweet. I think sending texts, making reminders, checking the weather etc. will all be great from the convenience of my wrist. There are other mainstream functions that I am excited about, (tracking health, tactile based alerts and so on) but everyone already knows about such features.
Another reason that I am very excited that Apple is in the smart watch business has to do with the broader accessibility implications.
I have been interested in smart watches for years. As far as I know, there is currently no accessible smart watch on the market. Many people believe that wearable technology is the next stage in the personal computer evolution. if this is the case, I believe that it is very important that we see accessible options in the wearable space. We can not be left behind as blind people, and so far popular smart watches, such as the Pebble and devices running android wear have excluded us.
having a mainstream, popular, accessible smart watch could really jumpstart the accessibility of the wearable landscape, just as the accessibility of the iPhone has helped create our current situation were most major mobile platforms offer accessible options. of course, we don't yet know if the Apple watch is going to be accessible, but I do believe that it will be the first truly accessible smart watch, sooner or later.
Another reason that I am excited about the Apple watch is because my broader love of watches.
I have a very nice braille watch, and I like reading about nice mainstream watches. however, it is a little hard to be a watch lover as a blind person, since are options are limited. If the Apple watch is accessible, it will not only be the first ever accessible smart watch, it will be the first ever accessible mainstream watch, smart or dumb. For the first time ever we will be able to walk into a store, along with our sited equals, and by a luxury watch that we can use out of the box.
I could go on, but I will just list one more reason that I am excited about the apple watch.
I like braille watches, and I understand that some people like traditional talking watches, but both of these classic accessible options have a major flaw. I find that one of the most crucial situations in which I need to know the time is when I am out walking. Its important to be able to check the time while your on root to classes, work, and appointments. Unfortunately it is impossible for me to use a braille watch, or a traditional talking watch while I am walking, because I use a long white cane. A braille watch requires two free hands to read, and a talking watch has the same requirement, since you must press a button to get it to speak. Therefore as a blind person I have to stop walking, rest my cain against my shoulder, manipulate my watch with both hands, and then find out if I am late. This is annoying, especially when you are late. As a result of this inherent shortcoming of accessible watches, I find that more often then not I use my phone to tell time, even though I do wear a nice watch.
If the apple watch is fully accessible, as far as I know, it will be the only watch that blind people will be able to use while walking. This is because with a simple raise of your wrist the watch will inform you of the time, plus siri will instantly perk up and be ready for orders; for the first time ever you will be able to tell time without using two hands, or pulling out your phone.
Of course we have no way of knowing what the experience of the Apple watch might be like for us, since we don't even know if its accessible, but I am hopeful and excited, for the above mentioned reasons, and many more.
Not Rushing In
For me, unless there is something we are missing and will find out on April tenth I can't see myself getting overly excited about the apple watch... But again the key word is yet. Remember the iPhone itself didn't have accessibility until the third generation so my prediction is the watch will have some accessible features but personally I'm more likely to wait until next year or maybe the year after. Looking forward to seeing what developers come up with though and expecting apple pay to arrive in Scotland sooner rather than later which could tempt me to reconsider my stance earlier.
Another accessible smart watch
The Apple watch is not the first smart watch to have accessibility features. Samsung makes a watch that has some accessibility features built in. It is called the Gear S. In one of the BlindBargains podcasts there is a demo of it. Granted it is not the greatest but it is a start. you can do most of the basic functions with its built in screen reader.
As for the Apple Watch I am fairly excited about it. I can see many use cases
for it. Most of them at the moment are nice to have features but none that are really a must have. I can see an app that when a gesture is performed the watch will tell someone the time by vibrating. This would be similar to the meteor vibrating pocket watch you can get online.
I Just Don't See The Point!
Watches are investments. This will not hold resale. Watches are meant to be treasured for years. With a watch with OS, it's obsolete in 3 years.
While I like the idea. Waste of money!
I am very excited about this
I am very excited about this watch to be released. I could go on, but the main reasons are the health tracking, the sleep tracking, which I think is included. Maybe I'm wrong, but when accessibiltiy features are/will be implimented, it means that we who are into health tracking can have an easy and accessible wearable health collection device. Sure, the Fitbits work great, but sleep tracking isn't there strong points like it is with the Jawbone up lines. When I had an up24 wrist band, the data was virtually unreadable with Vo. Anyway, the watch will be great once it comes out in april! Personally, having the ability to tell the time via taps will be very beneficial to us. And yeah the battery only lasts a day or so, ah well, that's the only drawback of this package. I'm positive that the watch will sinc all the health data via bluetooth low energy due to the battery size inside this.
I am very exsiting
Hi to every one.
I am very exsiting, because how many reasons: first all i will cqan to anser to calls, or reply to sms messages as siri or maybe dectation and i hope that supporte in hebrew i understand that itt's not emposaballe to write like in iPhone because that have no keabord or other optiones for writing.
I am dessapoydment because the battery life. I don't like it that we are nneed to charge every day.
I agreed with you justin, but i am tthink over. I don't know if it is to by now, or to wayte to a next year. In the seccond year have ther improoves wat are you say? To wayte? Or by it now?
Not impressed either
Hi. I'm not really impressed with the watch either, at least its first incarnation. From what I've been able to tell, the watch will certainly have Siri, but it won't have voice feedback, like on the iPhone. In other words, you can ask Siri a question on the watch, but the response will only show up as a bit of text. I already have a fully accessible Siri right there on my phone with me. Sure, it's bigger than the watch but how small does my iDevice really have to be? One other thing I noticed is Apple's fascination with making all their products paper thin, and that usually means you sacrifice functionality, for a better physical appearance. Of course, that point is objective and I understand what works for me, might not work for you. To me, this whole watch sounds like a convenience thing. There's not a single thing that the phone can't already do. It would have to take something really super-revolutionary, and that would have to be something that you can do on the watch, but not the iPhone. In short, this is pure style over substance. Even sighted folks I've spoken to aren't into this. I think Apple is really getting into nitch markets here.
I agree definitely that it's
I agree definitely that it's a niche market for the watch. I see both sides. On one side, I'm real excited about this. and on the other side, not so much. I'll be waiting a while to get one. There's really no point at this time to buy one now.
All is not lost though...
While I think the watch is gimmicky and not for me.. I certainly think Apple is making a huge splash with something that interests me.
If rumors are true! Apple is refreshing the Apple TV. A product I love with almost no bugs
It's being said that Apple is going to offer video on Demand with around 25 channels. This is huge for the blind community. Considering how crappy accessibility is with cable providers... Both hardware and software. Apple could make this arena pleasant for the blind community.
Waiting for something better
I am also in a position where I could afford to buy an Apple Watch. Hell, I could buy an Edition if I absolutely wanted to. However, while I am tempted by the regular Apple Watch, I can't really see it as much more than a gimmick or unnecessary convenience at this time, especially since my headset gives me media control on my iPhone and I can operate my pocketed iPhone with one hand.
As cool as it would be to have a wrist computer, I'd rather wait and see if Apple comes out with something even better next year.
One Gigantic Drawing Card For Me
The biggest reason I really want the Apple Watch is because of its purported health tracking feature set. Currently, I use the iPhone 5, which doesn't have the newest sensor tech in it, but if I could pear it with the Apple watch then perhaps the limitations of the sensors in version 5 could be overcome. I workout a lot and the one thing that has made me crazy for years is the fact that I don't know how far I ran, for example. Sure, my treadmill's display is great but without sighted assistance it means nothing to me. Yes, I have tried all those useless pedometers in hopes of finding an accurate gauge but to no effect. Since I am a numbers person, this has led to much aggravation over the years. With the Apple Watch included in my arsenal, it will hopefully provide much needed feedback to further my performance and success.
Of course, I agree with the above posters who talk about the outlay of cash and the fact that it is a first gen device, but I can't help but to be truly excited for the new release. I, too, will be watching this forum to discover, once and for all, whether or not there is complete accessibility, as we have come to take for granted on our other devices.
Changing my tune…
I was excited about the Apple Watch, and was sure I will buy one. But I’ve changed my tune. I had a type of Apple Watch in mind, with a budget of how much I was willing to spend, and was horrified of the cost of the one I like the sound of to be £949 here in the UK. Which is almost double my budget. I could buy a top spec iPad Air 2 and still have change to hire a Limo to take me home!
I like wearing a watch. I currently have a solor charging talking watch, analogue hands, silver stainless steel casing and links, and love it. Which made me wonder what I actually would use the Apple Watch for? I too like to get the latest Apple product, I’ve been sucked into the Apple web since 2008, and have high hopes for the Apple Watch. I don’t doubt it’s accessibility features, and I can see it’s potential for the future and how it could assist us visually impaired bunch. I’m just trying to be realistic, and asking myself how would this Apple Watch make my daily life a bit more easier? Answer is, probably not a lot. For the amount of money it will cost me, and the disappointing battery life, it might be more hassle than it is.
But at the moment, I don’t think I’ll be getting one. Might wait for the second gen version. But will definitely go and play with one in April. You never know, a lottery win might be around the corner. Never say never…..
I totally agree with you on your comment. I bought a solar powered talking atomic watch from the UK on amazon and love this thing! Watches are very nice. I personally love the british talking watches due to there non-bong factor when you push the time etc buttons. Anyway, I'm gonna wait for a while to see what happens with the apple watch. We'll see what kind of access solutions the watch comes with in april and that'll clinch my decision on purchasing one. While I really look forward to it coming out next month, I'm not gonna hold my breath over it! Right now, I've got a watch that does what I need it to do. Some people like talking watches, some don't, personal preference. But, there ya go. :)
Not Getting One
Hi all. I don't think I'll be getting one of these either. For one thing, I already have a talking watch which works great. It is even more accessible than my previous talking watch, because the settings on that one didn't speak. I can set this one with absolutely no sighted assistance. I don't travel independently much if at all, so it's no problem for me to check the time. Even when I'm using my cane I can just reach over with my free hand and check it. Travel is a whole story inandof itself though, or at least for me this has been the case. In addition, I can check the time and date right here on my MBA. So there are already 2 ways I can check the time and date without relying on working eyeballs. The fact that the Apple Watch will need to be charged from time to time, just sounds rather awkward to me. While these other features do sound pretty awesome, I'm in complete agreement that they are duplicated on other devices specifically meant for that purpose. I don't currently own an i-device of any kind, but that might change somewhere down the road. There are already work-out apps out there that are accessible. I would, however, enjoy hearing the Apple Watch demonstrated if and when somebody can record one. Given Apple's good track record regarding accessibility, I've no doubt it will carry over to their watch. Maybe accessibility won't be quite right in the initial stages or whatever, but eventually it will be solid. I just can't see myself getting one, pun intended. I, too, have talked with sighted people who aren't that enthusiastic about this watch. My life-skills tutor is one of those people.
Just as an aside, there are the Martian Watches. These relatively have very simple functionality, just a couple of buttons but you can activate siri, which speaks, and give commands, you can also make and receive calls from your wrist. it is basically a bluetooth headset built into a watch however, and this is the big difference for me, it actually looks like a watch, it has a watch face which is of course not accessible but is actually a nice piece of jewellery. Check them out.
I've let them know about the inaccessibility of their contact form but they are pretty active on their Facebook page.
I have also made a suggestion that, within their IOS companion app they include a vibration alert for time after tapping the watch three times, I think there is a similar watch out there, they are going to look into it.
It also vibrates when there are notifications, you can cancel calls by putting your wrist vertical and twisting it rapidly, and it is splash proof... Oh, and the battery actually last for several days...
This is what I'm going to get.
The functionality of the apple watch is cool if you don't already have an iPhone... No wait, you need an iPhone too to make it work... Hmm. Not this time around for me anyway.
Theorically the Martian watch will remain useful for several years as long as the bluetooth links don't change. Verbal accessibility to my pocketed phone is all I really want.
No I am not going buy Apple Watch
Simply because I love braille watch not talking watch.
i would say that one factor has been overlooked, that of ease of use and security.
the pulling factor for me pertaining to the apple-watch, is that my phone whilst admittedly has to be with me, can stay hidden from view and interacting with it in quick bursts from the wrist is i feel easier.
yes i know that the phone can go dead etc. but simply raising my arm to hear a text or tweet without having to stop, take phone out of pocket unlock screen with fingerprint or code, then find and read the msg, then put phone back, is in itself a reason to obtain one plus a quick dictated reply of ok that's fine see you later, or something, i feel is a lot better since one is then not distracted on-route.
each to his own to be fair, i do hope if anyone is planning to see one in a store from april ten that they will let us know how it works?
given that sighted people know a lot already and we don't is I feel a disadvantage to us.
First flaw with the Apple Watch from my point of view is this: as I have mentioned before, talking watches are possibly the most antisocial blindness item of which I can possibly conceive. ever sat next to someone in an exam with a talking watch? Ever been in a library with someone with a talking watch? Ever had the misfortune to room with someone with a talking watch? Happily, I expect my days of rooming with folk are over, but that's just an aside. talking watches are indiscrete and are banned in many pedagogic environments for a jolly good reason. They similarly don't go down well in other public forums. if the Apple Watch has no tactile means of telling the time (and I don't see why it should not, I just think it probable it will not) that is a flaw.
Second flaw is plagiarised from the poster above whose name I forget having consumed most of this bottle of 2008 Imperial Grand Reserva Rioja, who made the cracking point about watches' being an investment. If I spend a lot of money on a watch, it's something I want to keep for years. indeed, a really good watch would be something I would like to form part of my not inconsiderable estate on death. In that regard it's unlike a laptop or anything of that sort. I bought a fine pocket watch last year for I can't remember how much but it was not insignificant, and I hope it will last me 25 years. That's the thing about mainstream watches: if you buy a nice mainstream watch as a sighted person, it's a long-term investment. ~Sighted people I know in the main have been luke warm on the Apple Watch, and their reasoning has been along such lines as this.
Elsewhere on this site I have posted comments about how the Apple Watch does contain some nice features. The more I thin about it, though, the more I wonder whether it might just be worth making the long journey to my sky rocket and removing my iPhone therefrom if I want to do anything clever.
I'm still squarely on the fence
I've been vacillating on whether or not I want an Apple watch since it was announced in October. At first I wasn't particularly excited, but I see a few arenas in which it could be useful. I agree with several posters above that, if there isn't a tactile way of telling the time, the entire purpose of the watch is wasted and I won't bother. But, that said, I can think of several good ways to do it straight off, that even sighted people might find useful. A discontinued watch made by Sendero group comes to mind, where you would run your fingers around the watch and, when you reached the correct hour, you would feel a solid vibration. Then you'd do the same with the minutes; sounds fairly complicated, but it was an amazing piece of technology and if it had ever been made for women, I'd have searched one out by now... It was that seamlessly awesome!
I also think the watch could be immensely beneficial for some blind people who make frequent use of GPS directions while traveling. Imagine having access to TapTic feedback to direct you how to turn, without having to worry about hearing your phone in a loud environment or investing in a set of headphones that allows you to still pay attention to your surroundings. In addition, as a blind college student, I would find it immensely useful for controlling slides I have up on the projector and for tactile alerts for how long I have left in a presentation. Sighted students get this by looking up at the clock periodically, but I haven't found a good and unobtrusive way to keep time while I'm presenting yet.
Ultimately, like a lot of other Apple devices, the watch will be a deeply personal device and the decision to buy one, or not, will be a very individual preference. For me, personally, I plan to try and get in to see one on the 10th at my local Apple store, and to see whether they might let me try installing some apps. I'll try and get some idea of accessibility features and report back to the class!
Best wishes, and happy watching... Or not! :)
I agree definitely about this
I agree definitely about this watch having it's use as a security device as the previous comments said above, take the watch, hold up to face, reply to message or whatever, and go back to whatever ya were doing. Personally, I had a talking watch all thru college, and everyone I was with/met thought it was so awesome. I do think that like others have said on here, that tactilely telling the time is nice, but We'll have to see what happens. :) And yeah, my talking watches don't go bong when they announce there information, thank goodness!!
I will have to see one first.
I will decide if I can't live with out it after I play with one. Aside from the utility questions, I use a bluetooth headset 99 percent of the time so disturbing my fellow people is not a problem. So I look like I am one of those people who is listening to music when I probably shouldn't be but you know what I don't care. If the sound from the watch can be relayed to the headset that would be cool, but I don't see that being a reality in the first version. I will play with one as soon as life provides me an opportunity to do so. I am a bit of a tech geek so this isn't a surprise.
A few things need to improve
Samsung's Gear S is connected to your mobile plan and can operate independently. One of the let downs of the Apple Watch is that it is just a Bluetooth device, so if my phone has to be in range for it to do many of its tasks, then I might as well just use my phone since its there.
Safety and Security
There have been some great points argued back and forth above and it is quite intriguing to read everyone’s opinions. I’d like to share mine as well.
Accessibility: Because of Apple’s track record and my experience with Apple products, I never really doubted or worried that the Apple watch would be accessible. I am glad to know more now and that Apple did not let me down. Where I used to live, the iPhone is currently the number one sold assistive technology device. Obviously, Apple is not blind to this. Excuse the pun.
Security: I know that for many people, especially in countries outside the U.S., iPhones are a highly valued item and are stolen quite a bit. My wife’s brother had his iPhone stolen from him on the train platform here in France. From what my wife has seen of the watch, it does not look exceptionally different. According to her, it looks like a watch and therefore is not easily identified as an Apple product. Here in France, there are many places I go on a regular basis where I cannot take my iPhone out of my pocket for fear of someone threatening to take it from me. Having the watch, would eliminate my need for taking the iPhone out and making it visible.
Just a Bluetooth device: According to Apple, the Apple watch also uses Wi-Fi and therefore is able to communicate with the iPhone if it is on the same wireless network. So, if you are at home or at the office, your phone does not need to necessarily be in reach.
Taptic Engine: The other day, I sent a message to my wife and even called her. Because she was in a loud environment at work and had her phone on vibrate in her purse, she did not know that I had called her. What if that had been an emergency? With the Apple watch, she would have not missed my calls and messages making it much easier for me to get a hold of her in case of an emergency.
Of course, I could continue, but these are just my thoughts. I plan on getting one soon.