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!