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Apple Watch as a Game Changer? Nah.

In: Design

I’m sure there will be a ton of such articles out over the next week or so but I thought I’d add my two cents worth. And it’s this: I honestly don’t see the Apple Watch (or any of the smart wearable watches) as being a game changer for either consuming learning objects. That’s all folks. G’night! Just kidding. Read on. I’m sure the Apple Watch will sell. That’s not what I’m discussing here. What I’m talking about is whether or not this new device is something that we need to be considering as we continue to develop learning experiences. I vote no and here’s why:

Does the Apple Watch Solve a Problem?

Texts? Check. Read and reply to email? Check. Track your steps, calories, and other health info? Check. Help you check the weather? Check. Help you check where you are and how far to your destination? Check. Guess what? This is all stuff your smartphone or tablet can do now. Oh, and the Apple Watch, too. Like I said, buyers gonna buy. But it does call into question whether the watch will really catch on with people who are more discerning than folks who just like to have the latest gadget and, in turn, whether we should spend our time trying to build websites or learning experiences for this particular device and screen size. I don’t see it. Unless we’re trying to take down Dr. Claw. In that situation… yeah, it totally solves a problem.

Watch from Inspector Gadget
Image and Inspector Gadget reference from BlackNerd

Screen Size

Speaking of screen size: there’s a reason why the basic shape of the tablet (I mean the stone kind), scroll, book, tablet (the electronic kind), smartphone, and phablet are all similar and growing more similar. For content consumption and reading, there’s a basic size and shape that we are familiar with, that feels good in our hands, and that provides a big enough area for us to consume content. That size has varied here and there but the basic paperback or (in the case of tablets) hardcover book is still the go to. Let’s face it: even if you have raptor-level eyesight, there’s still going to be a basic size at which you are willing to read text longer than a couple of sentences or even watch a video that’s of interest to you. And that size is larger than the Apple Watch.


Let’s consider one of the methods many of us use to learn things today: video. When I’m checking out a new After Effects trick or a screencast or how to do X in Storyline, I need to pause, rewind, play, fast forward, etc. So while I don’t necessary interact with the video, I do interact with the player. Even with dainty fingers, I would still see the user experience here being at least mildly frustrating versus standing your phone or tablet in front of you or opening a new tab on your desktop as you try to follow along with video instructions.


I really don’t see any educational or media consumption use for the smart watch or any such wearable on the market today. But I’m still collecting articles on ideas about uses for:

After reading the article on gaming, and at the risk of contradicting myself, I could see a k-12(or even higher ed) geolocation-based game assignment where students got some feedback when they visited a historical location or a museum. What do you think? Can you imagine a situation where a wearable might provide support or feedback or a learning experience?