I’ve had an Apple Watch for 3 years. I just got my second one, a Series 8. And only now do I feel as though it is significantly useful.
Among the things that are working well on it now that were not when I first got it are:
- Apple Pay
- Controlling Hue Lights
- Sleep tracking
- Activity sharing
When I first tried to control the lights in my home by stitching together Hue, HomeKit, the Watch, and Siri: it was a disaster. I ended up creating 8 shortcuts, 2 for each of the 4 Hue lights I had at the time. Each shortcut was either on or off. Then I added those shortcuts to the Watch face. This was so cumbersome that I gave up entirely.
Fast forward two years and I started from scratch setting up a new home. I collected all the lights into rooms and a prompt appeared to connect with lights with Homekit. Voila! I could now say ‘Turn off the Living Room lights’ to Siri. Each individual light had an on/off switch (with a dimmer!) in the Home app on the Watch. Even better, I could add new lights to any room and still turn them on and off with Siri.
Similarly, I recently received a prompt to use Apple Pay on the Watch in ‘Transit’ mode so I could wave my watch in front of the subway turnstile and buy a ticket. ‘Hey Siri’ works without any buttons. Sleep tracking now measures phases of sleep and resting heart rate in great detail. Activity and Health sends more useful notifications, especially downward trends in health. Notifications are grouped and stacked together and with a bigger screen on the watch I scroll through my notifications on it instead of my phone.
Besides praising Apple and myself for sticking with it to the point where I’m getting a great experience, these improvements highlight something I believe is unequivocally true: software is getting better.
Across all areas where I use software - from business apps to government portals to mobile devices to open source software - I believe the quality and user experience for software is steadily improving. This is great for entrepreneurs. It means that people’s expectations for what their software can do and how it should work will keep getting higher and higher.
This simplifies the task of building new products. Want to stand out amongst competitors? Pages should load quickly, information should update without reloading the page, and information hierarchy should go from simple to complex. Besides having one or two penetrating insights about how the product should work, entrepreneurs can focus on delivering a better experience of an existing workflow and gain traction. In my experience, this also dovetails with bottoms up adoption. A great UX will appeal to the actual users of the software who can then help win over the buyer from a competitor.
So for 2023, in the midst of pounding your head against the desk trying to edit a field in a huge enterprise app, take a second to appreciate how far we have come. Software is getting better, and better software means big opportunities.