I think I’ve learned good lessons from my first ever try at being an early adopter.
I bought an iPod Nano, years after the first iPod came out, and after years of using non-Apple mp3 players. It was magic! I thought “I wish I’d bought this three years ago!”
I bought a MacBook to use as a travel computer.I never touched my home PC again, and the MacBook became my only computer. It was just better in every way than any other laptop or PC I’d owned before. I thought “I wish I’d bought this three years ago!”
I bought an iPhone 3GS. It was my first smart phone, though I’d owned an iPod Touch for a while. It was amazing! GPS, maps, a decent camera, apps! I thought “I wish I’d bought an iPhone when they first came out!”
I bought an iPad Mini Retina when they first came out. It changed my life in terms of reading and video watching. It’s like the perfect device for media consumption. I thought “I wish I’d bought this years ago!”
This year, when the Apple Watch came out, I waited a few months, then bought one. My plan was to avoid the “I wish I’d bought this three years ago” moment, and the regret that my life could have been slightly better for those three years if only I’d bought the first version.
The Apple Watch is really cool, and I enjoy wearing it, and a lot of the features are both a lot of fun and really useful.
But I’m missing the “Wow! Magical! Life changing!” moment I had when I started using the iPod, MacBook, iPhone and iPad Mini. And the reason is simple: I skipped the first versions of all those things.
When I thought “I wish I’d bought this three years ago”, the “this” I had just bought didn’t exist three years previously. The iPod Nano was amazing because it was so small and sleek. Three years previously iPods had spinning hard drives and were six times the size.
Three years before my MacBook was released, the Apple laptops were called iBooks, only ran OSX Tiger, and OS updates cost $129 each.
I loved my iPhone 3GS, in part, because of the 3G and the S… S standing for speed. You know, the 3G and the speed that the original iPhone didn’t have. And it didn’t have GPS or a camera, no apps, or even cut and paste. So it would have been impossible to have the 3GS years previously, as it simply didn’t exist.
Same with the iPad Mini Retina. In this case, I specifically waited until the Mini had a Retina screen, as I knew that would be my perfect size and resolution. And it was. What has remained my favourite device just wasn’t available before I bought it.
It’s not just Apple devices either. My Canon 60D is the best camera for my use cases ever. All the features I love simply didn’t exist together in a single camera before it was released. I got a GoPro Hero 3. Amazing little camera! I wished I could have bought it years before. But it didn’t exist years before.
Which brings me back to the Apple Watch again. I don’t regret buying it at all, but I do regret not having the immediate magical introduction. It’s merely a good gadget.
In two or three years time the new version will have better apps, more speed, better connectivity, native GPS, more sensors, custom watch faces, custom complications, better uses for the buttons, different navigation, etc. In two or three years, someone will buy the watch for the first time and have the magical introduction, and it will immediately impact their life. But not me. I’ll get some of the improvements along the way.