I remember a time when Apple events had an aura. The build-up was over the top — of course it was — but it was genuine. At the peak of Jobs’ Apple, the company was making products that truly changed how we lived. A little of that aura was present before yesterday’s Keynote. Just a sprinkling. Could Apple launch a product that would finally drag wearables out from the realms of geekery into everyday connected living?
What Apple Did RIght
In many regards, the Apple Watch shows off Cupertino’s overflowing cup of design talent. Not everyone loves the look of the Watch, but it is undeniably a well-made product. More than that, actually; it has been beautifully engineered.
The curved front panel is able to sense pressure as well as touch, and the use of a “digital crown” for zooming is a sensible move, given the size of the touchscreen. The interface has been carefully constructed from scratch to accommodate the limitations of the Watch. The materials used are pleasingly traditional, but they have been enhanced by Apple’s metallurgists specifically for the rigors of the real world — the gold used in the Edition version is apparently twice as strong as standard gold. Not forgetting that the design itself is remarkably customizable, given the large range of interchangeable straps.
All that effort seems to have resulted in a good product. The ability to respond to simple incoming questions, or check on your diary without needing to get out your phone, are nice additions to your personal workflow.
What Apple Did Wrong
Ultimately, however, any truly game-changing device must fix an existing problem, and I don’t see what issue the Apple Watch solves. Yes, it means that the phone glance can be discarded, but since when was that ever a traumatic waste of time?
Then there is the price. $350 is a lot for what is, in essence, a second screen and a heart-rate monitor. That is the price of the cheapest model, I would also point out.
Wait for Version 2.0
Returning to the subject of Keynotes — do you remember all those years ago when the first iPhone hit the shelves? By today’s standards, it was terrible. But by the time Apple had further refined and honed the technologies used, it was ready to produce something great, in the form of the iPhone 3G.
Just bear that in mind before you make the drive to your nearest Apple Store next January.
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