Apple Watch Is Not Yet A Home Run With Users, Survey Shows – Forbes
There’s been no shortage of gadget reviews for Apple’s Apple’s latest device. For the most part, the consensus is it’s probably the best smart watch you’re going to find on the market today, but the apps aren’t anything to rave about. To date, third-party apps have been slow and clunky.
Research firm UserTesting surveyed 52 Apple Watch users and found roughly the same thing. People like it, but for most people, the device didn’t inspire them to go out and tell all their friends to buy one: 38% of the users surveyed said they’d recommend it to their peers; 35% were passive; and 27% were detractors.
Asking open-ended questions, UserTesting found that third-party apps were the most frustrating or difficult thing about the watch at 19%. These users found third-party apps slower and less reliable than the built-in Apple apps. One user told the firm: “The Apple Watch has lots of potential, but right now it’s under baked. Performance is a major problem, the app screen is an inconvenience, and the ‘apps’ are embarrassingly useless, bar just a few.”
“These survey results are not overwhelming,” said Michael Mace, the vice president of mobile at UserTesting and who worked at Apple from 1987 until 1997 as a director of marketing. “If Apple wants people to get excited and recommend heavily, it needs to get additional hooks. Third-party apps will be best way.”
When the iPhone first came out in 2007, it was mostly just a very good mobile web browsing experience, pointed out Mace. None of the apps we’ve come to know and love were there.
Apple is clearly working out these third-party app issues, though. At Apple’s annual developer conference on Monday, it released the second version of software development kit for the watch called watchOS 2. It allows developers to create native apps for the Apple Watch, meaning the apps will work directly on the watch and won’t have to go to the phone to do all the processing and data retrieval. Apple is also giving developers more access to the internal sensors and features of the watch, including the Digital Crown, the heart rate sensors, the Taptic Engine, accelerometer and microphone. However, users will have to wait until this fall before they get to experience these new and improved apps.
“It’s like the early days of the iPhone,” said Michael Facemire, an analyst at Forrester Research. “There still needs to be lots of folks using it so we can have one big collective human brain storming session for what cools things you can do with it. We never thought the iPhone would be a great way to hail a cab. Now we do. I think it’s in the early days with the watch.”
But there was still plenty to like about the watch at this point for the surveyed users. The feature that users most frequently cited as being the most useful at 29% were step counting and tracking fitness goals. The next most useful feature at 19% was getting notification through the haptic vibration. A majority of users (68%) said the watch was making their lives easier, primarily because of convenience of the notification system that decreases how often users pull out their iPhones to look at them.
“I’d say it’s a good start, but not a wild hit,” said Mace. “It’s all going to depend on follow up. It depends on the changes Apple makes, not just third-party software.”
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