Apple looks set to launch its greatly anticipated Apple Watch early next year at a staggering price of USD$349. While Samsung’s Galaxy gear retails for USD$299 and the Kickstarter-funded Pebble smartwatch sells at USD150, the hefty price tag follows the Apple tradition of pricing its products at a premium.
The strange thing was, at the Cupertino keynote presentation for the Apple Watch, the executives left out one tiny detail which exploded into a social media fiasco – what happens if you’re left-handed or just prefer to wear your watch on your right wrist?
Amidst flying eggs and rotten cabbages, we found some really interesting twitter posts and memes as well as some website posts naming this a blatant case of leftism.
10% of the population are lefties and with 6 billion of us on this globe, that roughly works out to 600 million. That’s a lot of angry lefties out there.
Some tweets even came with a ‘suggested use’ image. But it’s unlikely this would happen.
There were also tweets that made a valid point regarding the position of the Apple Watch’s crown, which Apple failed to address. The crown operates the zoom function on a map or scrolls a list. Imagine while scrolling down and having your article move upwards instead!
All this may seem funny and entertaining for the right-handed, but if you’re a lefty, this poses quite an inconvenience. Some lefties have also begun petitions, requesting for a left-handed model to be released.
A petition on Change.com managed to garner 100 signatures as of Sep 10 but stopped when The Telegraph UK stepped in and clarified this for us. It’s possible to invert the Apple Watch and wear it on the right arm, and this is confirmed by an Apple spokesperson.
The watch’s software gives you the option to set the device for both left-handed and right-handed use when you switch in on and set it up for the first time. This allows you to switch the orientation of the watch face.
Other modifications lefties can make to Apple Watch includes switching the watch bands around so it fits the regular way on the other hand.
So the only thing bugging you is the position of the digital crown. When the Apple Watch sits on your left wrist, the digital crown will be above the home button. On the wrist, it will be below the home button, taking a lower position than designed.
We’re not sure if this will make any significant difference in the user experience (probably not), but the only thing you can do is live with this discrepancy and deal with it. After all, Apple’s iPhone buttons are also positioned in the wrong places for us lefties and we’ve learnt to workaround that.
Another annoying thing about the iOS8, which I don’t think Apple would rectify, seeing that its been the same since iOS 1, is the position of keys that lets you alternate through different added keyboards, including the symbols and numbers keyboard. If you’re typing using only your left-hand, your thumb would have to squish itself into an acute angle just to tap on those functions.
This isn’t a big issue as most of us type with both hands, but it would be nice to have that option while you’re commuting in crowded buses and trains that don’t offer the luxury of extra elbow space. On my part, I’ve trained myself to type using my right hand in such claustrophobic cases. With a little time and training, we should be able to overcome the Apple Watch hurdle just as easily.
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch rectifies the right-wrist/left wrist debate the same way, through orientation settings. Software manipulation seems to be the only viable solution at the moment.
I reckon the next time Apple presents their next keynote for a new product release, they’re going to have to be extremely mindful of the often under-represented lefties.