The early reviews for the Apple Watch are in and while there’s a general consensus that the device is the best smartwatch ever made, there seems to be some apprehension about just how much of a positive that really is. Beloved gadget reviewer Marques Brownlee, who has yet to use and review the watch himself, has taken a look at the early reviews and has given what appears to be the definitive “hot take” on the device, as you’ll see below.
What I'm getting from all these early Apple Watch reviews: Could fail because: It's not that great. Could win because: Apple makes it.— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) April 8, 2015
Brownlee is basically correct: If the early reviews are any indication, the Apple Watch has some significant issues, including a steep early learning curve that’s different from other new products Apple has released. On the other hand, many will buy it and love it because Apple makes it, which will give the device a life of its own that it wouldn’t have had if it were made by another company.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. For a long time, my position on the Apple Watch — and all smartwaches — has been that I’m completely uninterested in them right now but am curious to see what they’ll be like in three years. In other words, I see the potential for wrist-based computing even if the thought of owning a current-gen smartwatch makes me feel vaguely ill.
If we’re ever going to reach the point where smartwatches reach their potential, however, we’re going to need a large group of users to sacrifice themselves and buy the early less-than-great smartwatches so they’ll spark developer interest — and make no mistake, the Apple Watch will sink or swim based on what mobile app developers do with it. Developers will never be enthusiastic about making apps for the device, however, if they don’t think it has a dedicated and enthusiastic user base.
So yes, the first-gen Apple Watch could succeed primarily because it’s made by Apple and not because it’s especially great. If you’re interested in seeing exactly how much better smartwatches can get, however, this is not a bad thing.