Apple just released a new set of Apple Watch ads, and it’s interesting to compare these ads to the originals. The new ads most likely incorporate what they’ve learned so far about how people are using the watch now that it’s been in the wild for almost 6 months.

The first set of ads were organized around the 3 roles that Apple highlighted for the watch when it was announced at Apple’s September event last year: a customizable timepiece, a way to connect and communicate, and a health and fitness companion.

Launching the Apple Watch with 3 themes
Launching the Apple Watch with 3 themes

Rise focused on the watch’s role as a watch, starting with it being used as an alarm clock, as well as the misc functions the watch could perform. Us was about the watch’s role as a means of communicating, highlighting Digital Touch in particular. Finally, Up took on its role as a health and fitness device, demonstrating how the watch supported different activities.

The first set of ads all integrated the Apple Watch features in a montage of different people going through their day. The integration is subtle, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of viewers had trouble recalling most of the features demonstrated in the ad. Unfortunately, the things the watch can do get lost in the ad itself.

The second set of ads are significantly shorter, disposing of the daily montages in favor of super stylized situations that highlight an individual feature. In that way, they do a much better job of focusing on the different watch features. The shorter format also enforces the less intrusive, transactional nature of the watch.

Communication

  • Sing - sending a voice text
  • Date - receiving a text

Health and Fitness

  • Train - heartbeat monitoring
  • Cycle - tracking workout duration
  • Move - the activity app with daily goals

Miscellaneous (less emphasis on the timepiece)

  • Ride - using Siri for directions
  • Dance - using Siri to play music
  • Kiss - 3rd-party apps (Uber)
  • Play - 3rd-party apps (Ebay)
  • Sprinkle - using Apple Pay to make a purchase
  • Skate - using Apple Pay to make a purchase
  • Travel - using Apple Wallet for tickets
  • Style - swappable bands (timepiece)

Overall, I like the new ads a lot more than the old ones. The first set were beautifully produced, but I think they tried to feature too many things, so nothing really stood out. This time around they are doing a much better job of highlighting what the watch can do, and the large number of ads helps reinforce the idea that the watch can do a lot.

One final thing to call out is the absence of Digital Touch in the new ads (no tapping out messages or sending sketches). It makes me think that feature might go on the back burner for the time being.