The Apple Watch reviews are already in, and the verdict is pretty consistent: Apple’s long-awaited smartwatch looks great, but it’s slow, the interface is a little confusing, and too many of the apps are half-baked.
The decidedly mixed reviews are unusual for Apple, even for an entirely new product. I know there were people who panned the iPod and the iPhone when they were first released, but they were clearly idiots. This time, I’m not so sure.
In fact, the rather obvious and oft-mentioned negatives suggest that if another company had produced this smartwatch—impossible, since it doesn’t work unless you have an iPhone 5 or 6—the reviews would have been even more negative. Even the technorati seem unimpressed.
The muted enthusiasm—in some cases outright advice not to buy the current version—raises a central question: Did the company launch the Apple Watch, which will be available for pre-order Friday ahead of deliveries starting April 24, too soon? True, almost all the Apple Watch models were sold out within 30 minutes on Friday morning preordering, though as one story rightly puts it, “it is not clear whether this is due to relatively high demand or low production.” There were many reports in recent weeks about limited supplies, either because of manufacturing issues or because Apple was purposely limiting production.
Apple is sometimes criticized for being late to the party on some products, only to prove after it quickly kills most of the competition that its timing was actually perfect. A few people point out that the Apple Watch is also too late because other smartwatches and wearables from Samsung, Motorola, Fitbit and many others are already out. But a number of signs point to the opposite and very un-Apple-like problem: It’s too early.