Before we start, I’d like to announce a slight change to the continuing adventure that’ll be ongoing until easter at the very earliest. Du to a personal project I am embarking upon, I won’t be having that much free time to write until roughly the middle of April. Rather than go on hiatus, which I feel is A. Boring and 2. slightly disingenuous to whatever hypothetical audience I actually have, I thought I’d just make the weekly post far shorter, like a few paragraphs only, until such time I regain my free Sundays once again. Enjoy!
This time last week Apple had something of a shindig over in the USA to parade their latest shiny wares in front of us. As someone who’s used Macintoshes all my life, pretty much, I generally keep an eye on these kind of things to see where the company is going. And trot out a new Mac they did, and shiny it was indeed. But that wasn’t the focus of the event, oh no, this whole bash was predominantly to show off Apple’s entry into the Smart Watch market. Ho Hum.
Now, I’ve made my opinion on smart watches quite clear previously, but now Apple have announced theres, I am completely, unreservedly, totally of the same opinion. Regardless of how much shine you put on the damn things, I fail to see them as any more as a very expensive and incredibly pointless accessory to an existing device that, even at it’s worst, does the sam job far better. The Apple watch seems to follow the majority of it’s colleagues by being permanently tied to a mobile phone of it’s companion OS and having a frankly laughable battery, in this case a frankly abysmal 18 hours per charge. Then there is the overall design. While I do think it’s perhaps one of the better looking square-format smart watches, there is still something incredibly awkward about the shape. My personal preference always tends to aim for round faced watches, and currently both LG and Huawei have announced round smart watches that look far nicer than Apple’s offer.
Which is not to say the Apple Watch is without merit. I really do like the fact that they’ve taken into account how a touch screen that small is a poor primary interface. The “digital crown” is an ideal compromise. While it doesn’t seem to totally replace touch screen, it’s enough of a change to allow for easier use of a device on a much smaller scale than most other touch screens out there (Interestingly, LG seem to be using a similar approach with their non-Android version of the G Watch Urbane). There’s also the pressure sensitive display, meaning we’re no longer using timed presses to differentiate between “touch” and “tap.” A less digital input, for lack of a better word, could help alleviate a lot of the interface issues common with things like touch screen typing. While I think the uses on a smart watch are limited, the potential applications elsewhere are enormous. Indeed, Apple are using similar technology in the trackpads of the new generation MacBooks debuted at the same conference. It’s these two elements of the Apple Watch that interest me the most, and might make me keep track of where things go in the next generation of the device.
There is, however, a massive elephant in the room with the Apple Watch that likely needs addressing. The Price. I know, I know, Apple products tend to be on the pricier end of their respective areas, but the fact they’re trying to aim the Apple Watch at the luxury watch crowd has compounded this fact. The highest priced model on the UK Apple store, being the larger solid gold Apple Watch Edition with a real leather band, is set to start at around, brace yourselves now, Twelve Thousand Pounds Stirling. Sweet leaping Jesus, that’s quite pricy isn’t it. Now, that’s not the starting price, in fact it’s nearly 40 times the cost of the base model (The smaller sports model with a plastic strap is roughly 300 pounds, the same as Samsung’s Gear S right now), but it’s what everyone is talking about, and probably rightly so. The internals, as far as anyone can ascertain, are the same across all models, so that extra 800 pounds is just on the shiny. I can see this putting people off. A Lot.
As I’ve said, I consider smart watches are in their infancy right now, and regardless of whatever technological marvels they can come up with, there is yet anything around to pique my interest, and the Apple Watch doesn’t change that. Fascinating as it might be, I’ll say what I said about tablets about six years ago: give me a solid reason to own one and I’ll reconsider. Then maybe six years or four-to-five hardware revisions from now I’ll consider renting out my valuable wrist real estate to your shiny gadgets.
Until next time, folks,
–Has advanced beyond the point Digital Watches seem like a good idea