While most of us were asleep at 3 a.m. EST on April 10 (midnight at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA), Sonja Vloeberghs, Head of Lending Services at Princeton Public Library was placing her order of an Apple Watch. When I asked why she would disrupt a good night's sleep to place one of the first orders, she proudly admitted she loves the hype of new technology. She was one of the first to get the original iPhone, first generation iPad and received an invitation to preview the Amazon Echo.
Sonja fits classically into E. M. Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations theory as an early adopter or trendsetter. Early adopters are the people many of us go to for "advice and information about an innovation." Early adopters are the "change agents" and get "bragging rights", as Sonja calls it. Lucky to work with this trendsetter, I asked her for a demo of her Apple Watch. What I thought would be a 30 minute meeting, turned into 60!
The Apple Watch is about much more than telling time. It does that too, though! Sonja's favorite feature is the Activity app. It sends reminders to stand up, it monitors movements, calculates calories burned, tracks exercise and more. The Apple Watch is actually an extension of an iPhone. The associated iPhone needs to be in the same proximity but with a decent range. In the library, Sonja's iPhone remains in her office on the first floor while she works on projects on the second floor. Sporting the pink band on her left wrist, she showed me how she can flip the band to wear it on her right hand or on the inside of either wrist. Convenient. She pointed out that wearing it on the inside of her wrist allows easy access to the Apple Maps screen while she's driving. No more looking away to see where the next turn is!
When a call comes in, Sonja can answer from her wrist. No more reaching into pockets or searching in handbags for a ringing phone. She can then hand the call over to the iPhone to converse. Reading email is another great feature with responses completed on the iPhone. After all, a keyboard on a watch would be pretty tricky! Albums from her iPhone are synced on the Apple Watch. The 42 mm screen (an upgrade from the basic 38 mm) and excellent image quality allow for quality images. Alerts mirror the iPhone settings so she will never be late for a library meeting. When she takes a break, she soaks up the attention from Panera employees who circle around when she accesses Apple Pay from her wrist to pay for lunch.
The biggest (and only) disappointment about the Apple Watch for our resident trendsetter is the battery life. By the end of the day, it needs to be charged which means she needs to take it off!
There's much more to explore but Sonja's Apple Watch reminded her that she was expected at an important meeting!
Rogers, Everett (1962, p.283) Diffusion of Innovations. New York: Free Press.
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