5 insights in 3 minutes on the Apple Watch

Does it add to the digital noise in your life or put a mute button on your wrist?

The first question most people ask an Apple Watch owner is: "What does it do?"

The flip answer is easy: It tells time.

The more serious answer, and it's the one that surprises a lot of people, is that Apple's newest device can actually cut down on the digital noise in your daily life. So explains Computerworld reviewer Michael deAgonia, who was among the first batch of Watch buyers to actually receive his 42mm stainless steel Apple Watch just a few days after they arrived April 24. (Others are only now getting theirs, and recent buyers won't likely see one until June or possibly later in the summer.)

The way Apple has set it up -- you configure what the Watch does using an app on the iPhone it's paired with -- gives users a lot of control over the wearable. Don't want Facebook updates or emails showing up? Just turn them off in the app.

As a result, what many skeptics see as the Watch's chief drawback -- it's a small screen on your wrist rife with limitations -- turns out to be one of its better features. Those limitations force you to think about what you really, really want to see when you flick your wrist and look at the Watch. Other than the time of day, of course.

Although the world of wearables is still in its infancy, the Watch's arrival -- along with Apple's push for mobile payments through Apple Pay -- could upend a number of industries, including retail, finance and healthcare. But it's still too soon to know exactly how disruptive, and in what ways, the Watch will be.

One thing seems clear: The Apple Watch at this point is no more a "must-have" device than a Rolex or a BMW. It's the latest gadget on the scene, one that holds the promise of change more than it delivers. In the months ahead, as Apple's ecosystem firms up, new apps roll out and owners find innovate ways to make the Apple Watch useful, we'll find out if becomes a must-have device.

Just remember, when the iPhone arrived in 2007, a lot of people thought it overpriced and unnecessary, too.

This story, "5 insights in 3 minutes on the Apple Watch" was originally published by Computerworld.

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