Skip to main content

Apple Watch: A Me-too Release

Expectations have been high. Apple has changed and disrupted markets too often now for them to have been anything else. We looked at the Galaxy Gear when it arrived and said "Meh!" Apple will do it so much better when the iWatch arrives.

When Samsung launched the second generation of its Gear range, we said "Ooh!" because there were signs of progress and this was definitely starting to look like something we could consider wearing on our wrists. When the Gear Live launched we got positively enthusiastic. Wait until the iWatch arrives though, it will be a game changer.

Well the iWatch turns out to be a the Apple Watch and far from having the Swiss quaking in their boots it's far more likely to have the Koreans laughing up their sleeves.

The much vaunted design is clumsy. Over a year ago I wrote that Apple had delivered much of what it needed in the iPod Nano. From design terms I really wasn't expecting Apple to take things quite so literally. I know that looks are subjective, and having not had a chance to go hands on with the Apple Watch yet I'm basing this opinion off the publicity shots that Apple have released thus far, but based on what I see and my experience of the Gear range, Samsung have the lead in look and feel over Apple.

So what on earth has Jonny Ive been wittering on about?

The software on the Apple Watch is good, but haven't they gone overboard on the gimmicks? If I want to know the phases of the moon, there's this large thing in the sky that I can use to check. It's called the Moon. Where the planets are? Seriously, that's a useful tool? I think not. If the hope is that third party application developers will deliver the same uplifting experience on a humdrum device that the iPhone and iPad both benefited from at launch, then developers are going to have to start pulling some rabbits out of hats. Apple Pay and things like unlocking your hotel door aren't hugely useful if you already have to carry your iPhone (with those same capabilities) as well.

Compared to Android Wear's implementation of Google Now on the wrist the Apple Watch looks limited. Android Wear is already available from a range of OEMs, each putting their own spin on what the hardware should look like. All of it looking at least as good as the Watch.

So will the Apple Watch sell? I don't see why not. Some iPhone owners will certainly want to be seen with the latest new iProduct. And of course if you're an iPhone owner that wants a smart watch the Watch is the best choice right now (well, next year, technically).

Again, like the new iPhone I can't help feeling that Apple have disappointed. The original Galaxy Gear launched a year ago, Android Wear six months ago, and in that time Apple have not managed to move either the hardware or the software experience forward at all.

The Watch seems to me to be more about fashion than utility and functionality. A product to be seen wearing rather than to desire for it's capability. Even the proprietary watch bands smack of profiteering.

Right now if I was getting a new phone and wanted a watch to pair with it I'd take a Galaxy S5 and Gear Live over the iPhone 6 / watch combo ten times out of ten.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…

WhartonBrooks Indiegogo Windows 10 Mobile Even More Doomed To Failure Than Usual

WhartonBrooks is currently crowd-funding its latest Windows Mobile smartphone on Indiegogo. If crowdfunding isn't already a bad enough idea, a company trying to crowdfund a Windows Mobile device should be warning enough for you.
Not that anyone seems to be taking the project too seriously. With a few weeks left to run the campaign has managed to ensnare just 2% of its $1.1m target.
If you want a better indication of how few Window Mobile loyalists remain I doubt there is one. Of 3,900 Windows Phone enthusiasts Wharton Brooks was seeking for its new phone, it has managed to entice just 50.
Windows for Phones is dead, even if the corpse hasn't stopped twitching yet.