Slick, useful apps put the wow in Apple Watch

Christopher Mims, The Wall Street Journal (behind paywall):

I’ve seen some of the applications that will launch for the Apple Watch when it makes its debut as early as March, albeit in simulation, and some are extraordinary. Along with the details Apple has already released about how the watch will work, it’s convinced me Apple Watch will be a launching pad for the next wave of billion-dollar consumer-tech startups...

As Apple illustrated with the iPhone, it’s changes in what we find it easy and enjoyable to do that beget changes in our habits and social norms. And those are the shifts that create real opportunities for the next billion-dollar startup.

Christopher makes a good point that is often overlooked - the importance of tech being easy and enjoyable. Take Siri for example. When it first launched, many made comments that it was slower to perform tasks using Siri. Those arguments, based solely on time to complete a task, missed the point that Siri was easier and more fun (albeit only when it worked properly, which was more questionable in its early days).

Early on, I set up shopping lists in the Reminders app to share with my wife. Then, I could simply ask Siri "add milk to my Whole Foods list." It was, and continues to be, a more enjoyable way to maintain a shopping list. As important, it's easier. Before I had to unlock my iPhone, launch the Reminders app, tap on the correct list, and add the item. Siri isn't significantly faster. I don't have an extra hour in my day ... not even a few minutes. However, it offers less friction; it's easier.

For me, the Apple Watch isn't about what it can do faster than an iPhone. It isn't even necessarily about what it can do that my iPhone can't do. And I don't care that it won't replace my iPhone. It's more about removing friction and adding a bit of delight to common tasks. And in the end, that's more or less what Apple is about - making tech easier and more enjoyable.