It is now several weeks since Apple announced the Apple Watch (formerly known as the iWatch). Normally, I have strong opinions on tech products as soon as they are announced or at least a few days later when I can read reviews of those that got hands on access to the products. This time is clearly an exception. I still don’t know what I think about the Apple Watch over all.
My predictions-how did I do
I made several posts on this blog about the Apple Watch.
I thought I would go through my predictions one at a time and rate myself but frankly as I started doing that, I got bored myself so I am pretty sure most of you would find it boring.
For the most part, I called the functionality pretty well especially since I predicted most of that over a year before the Watch was announced.
What I missed most was the requirement for the Watch to be connected to an iPhone in order to perform most functions. I also did not understand how limited the battery and charging system would be.
The Good, Bad and Ugly
I have personally not seen the Apple Watch but imagine it is stylish. It has to be to succeed. Watches are about style and status to a large extent. My sense is that Apple is doing a good job with this.
Apple introduced a number of important capabilities such as Haptic feedback (you feel that someone is tapping on your wrist) and touch force input. The Watch has a “crown” that is the primary way of providing control info that makes sense to me.
The focus on health and fitness makes sense. Apple will do a good job in this area, especially in the future when the Watch may have more physiological inputs like blood glucose and blood oxygen levels.
Having to be close to the iPhone is a very great limitation. I think this is especially true when you are home or in the work place. I was hoping I could live my phone on my desk and just communicate with the Watch to do things like Home Control, Media Control and Communications. If I understand things well, I will still have to have my phone near me, so I am not sure what the Watch is buying me.
The battery and charging are major issues. One will have to charge the Watch every day; I believe. That will most likely be done at night when one is a sleep. That means that the Watch can not monitor sleep like is currently done with products such as the Base (that I am wearing as I write this). The charging is done via an inductive method, but it still requires the watch to be touching the charging unit. Having yet a new charing unit is a pain. What if you go on a trip and forget it. What if you take the charger with you and leave it at the hotel. Perhaps, future iPhones and iPad will use the same charging method which will make this pain go away.
Apple announced Apple Pay that I also predicted and which I will write about in the future. However, Apple elected to use Near Field Communications (NFC) instead of low power Bluetooth. They did this probably under pressure from the credit card companies since NFC has already been deployed. But this means you have to touch the payment device. I think that may be a bit awkward with a watch on your wrist.
The Apple Watch will be using for messaging. I see that as a big problem for drivers. The UK has already added the Apple Watch to the list of devices not allowed to be used by auto drivers and for good reason.
Will the Apple Watch succeed
I think it will. We have to remember that this is the first generation. Just think back on the first iPod, the first iPhone and the first iPad.
I believe the key limitation is battery. With enough power, the Watch could connect directly to WiFi and the cellular system and not require an iPhone. Then it would be a killer product. Until then, it will just be another device that those of us that are addicted to Apple and have the money, will have to own.
I thin there are obvious security implications to using BLE for payment or biometrics: even an LE device broadcasts to several meters! That NFC is so short-range as to require contact strikes me as a good thing. This pundit: http://www.droplabs.co/?p=1060 claims that Apple could make BLE secure enough through its total control of its hardware ecosystem but also agrees that right now BLE is not secure enough.
i love it… its cool……
“Apple elected to use Near Field Communications (NFC) … this means you have to touch the payment device. I think that may be a bit awkward with a watch on your wrist.”
This style of ‘payment’, using an id wrist band rather than a watch, was predicted in the Sci-Fi novel This Perfect Day.
(published in 1970)
I have a Samsung Galaxy Gear watch which pairs with my Galaxy S5 smartphone. The camera is kind of fun, quicker to take a photo with than pulling the S5 out of my pocket, but the real reason I wear it is to answer phone calls when I’m driving. Using the smartwatch just feels safer. Generally I think smartwatches as currently constituted are of limited value, but still in the early stages.