A Day In the •Life
April 8, 2015 1:26 PM   Subscribe

A bulbous, friendly little thing - The Verge’s Nilay Patel spends a day with the Apple Watch.

The Guardian summarizes other early reviews, including the New York Times calling it "Bliss, but Only After a Steep Learning Curve".
posted by Artw (205 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I enjoyed Joanna Stern's video review at WSJ.
posted by smackfu at 1:31 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Fuck, we have to capitalize Watch now?
posted by Abon Sapi at 1:36 PM on April 8, 2015 [17 favorites]


Bliss? Come on. I might be old and crotchety but this is still some bullshit.
posted by H. Roark at 1:38 PM on April 8, 2015 [14 favorites]


I haven't worn a watch, for a variety of reasons, since 1983. I am going to sit on the sidelines and chuckle if the world just loses its collective shit over another 'indispensable' gadget that convinces them that they need it for things they never knew existed. a gadget they will stand in line for, pay ridiculous amounts of money to make work, complain about when it loses functionality in 6 months or has to be upgraded every year.
A sucker is born every minute. tee hee.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:38 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ironically it's really worth reading the Verge review on a full size machine.
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I still say strapping a smartphone to your arm (à la Leela) is the much better option.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:39 PM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


I have no interested in ever owning the watch but Patel's article on The Verge is a pretty great bit of writing and web design.
posted by octothorpe at 1:39 PM on April 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


Less space than a Nomad. Lame.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:40 PM on April 8, 2015 [22 favorites]


Even Gruber found it laggy. I feel vindicated in my decision to wait for (at least) the second generation.

Has the newly released Photos.app blown up anyone's photo library yet?
posted by entropicamericana at 1:40 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Haha, Murdoch is her boss who steals her watch! He's evil! But not really! (but really)!
posted by emjaybee at 1:44 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gizmodo's meta-review is decent.
posted by box at 1:45 PM on April 8, 2015


I'll probably pass on the watch, but tell me more about this studded leather bracer he's wearing. Any enchantments?
posted by justkevin at 1:45 PM on April 8, 2015 [23 favorites]


Also, "I’ll just be super blunt about the music app on the Apple Watch: it’s not as good as wearing an old iPod nano on your wrist."
posted by box at 1:45 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


The bit about glancing at your wrist during social time is a bit of a "Oh yeah!" Gold Box moment.
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Less space than a Nomad. Lame.

It was interesting to look up how much space a bog-standard Nomad of the iPod-generation had (6 GB) to compare with the Watch (8 GB). Moore's law and so forth. Still, it will be interesting to see what Apple does with the second generation — the performance leap from the iPad to its successor was fairly dramatic.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:49 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean, I want wrist-mounted computer-phones, I think they're a good idea, but I'm thinking holographic displays instead of tiny screens would work better. Which we can't do that well yet. Someday!
posted by emjaybee at 1:52 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Apple Pay remains a shining example of what Apple is able to do when it has complete control over hardware, software, and services.

"I only need two things. Your submission and your obedience to MY WILL!"
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 1:52 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


John Gruber's review is a rather careful and nuanced take, worth reading. His conclusion seems to be: probably more successful with people who don't currently wear a watch. And that's so interesting, because it once again comes back to this little snippet (also repeatedly highlighted by Gruber):

Amidst all the interviews and media access Apple has granted in the run-up to the watch hitting the market, the most informative statement, to my mind, was this, from Jony Ive to The Financial Times’s Nick Foulkes:

"
However, it was not without some trepidation that he embarked on the watch. “It was different with the phone — all of us working on the first iPhone were driven by an absolute disdain for the cellphones we were using at the time. That’s not the case here. We’re a group of people who love our watches. So we’re working on something, yet have a high regard for what currently exists.”

He believes it was the intimacy of the watch that made it desirable, almost necessary, for Apple to tackle. "

Everything that makes Apple Watch interesting, everything that makes it unprecedented, is right there in that bit from Foulkes’s profile.

posted by RedOrGreen at 1:53 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I read the Verge piece earlier today, and was struck by how many negative aspects there are to this gadget. Rather than "bliss, but..." or "not perfect, but..." as the meta-reviews suggest, it's all coming off as pretty brutal. Verge in particular are pretty gung-ho about Apple, aren't they? I wasn't going to get the Apple Watch, but after reading some reactions I'm really dead set against it.

Even a 2nd generation Watch doesn't seem super appealing at this point - I check my phone way too much as it is, do I really need haptic feedback and wrist viewing for my compulsion to stay connected to What's Happening Right This Instant?
posted by naju at 1:54 PM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


For all the whining about the price, I'm pretty sure the $349 starting price point makes it Apple's most inexpensive new product category ever, even before adjusting for inflation. (Unless you want to count something like iPod Socks, I guess.): Apple II $1298 (1977), Mac $2,495 (1984), iMac $1299 (1999), iPod $399 (2001), iPhone $599 (2007), iPad $499 (2010))
posted by entropicamericana at 1:56 PM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


Animated emojis are nightmare fuel

Thank God, someone else thinks so too. "Intimate" like the heartbeat stuff is one thing, presuming that my inner emotional world is furnished in horrifying Disney-knockoff-feeling animations is another. The bulk of the product is seemingly well-thought-out if not always well-communicated, but there are a bunch of weird little things like this around the edges of the Watch's marketing and design that I can only see as failures of taste.
posted by RogerB at 1:56 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Does it have a fart app yet? Some of us just really wanted a wrist-mounted fart app.
posted by oulipian at 1:56 PM on April 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


(As someone who is probably going to have to get up at 3AM and repeatedly mash the keyboard to get into the store to pre-order a pair of these, I'm glad other people are being put off by these reviews. I bet you it'll still be a long wait to get deliveries because of the unprecedented order volume, though.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:57 PM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


I had an android wear watch for a while and it was definitely not perfect. But I stopped wearing it not really because of those imperfections but because I fundamentally didn't really find a lot of use even for the things it did well.

Than again call me again when they're 2mm thick instead of the 10 mm of the original LG G Watch. That was not good.
posted by GuyZero at 1:58 PM on April 8, 2015


RogerB: there are a bunch of weird little things like this around the edges of the Watch's marketing and design that I can only see as failures of taste.

Ouch! That's really harsh. And if it's true, that will doom the watch.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:58 PM on April 8, 2015


I can't get over the way the screen is blank until you move or tap it. It's not a watch, it's a remote iPhone display strapped to your wrist.
posted by Nelson at 1:58 PM on April 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


Apple Pay remains a shining example of what Apple is able to do when it has complete control over hardware, software, and services.

I don't really know how someone who has tried Apple Pay can say that. They do not have complete control over the payment terminals, and that is where the actual payments tend to have issues.
posted by smackfu at 1:59 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Note that the Apple Watch is about 10mm thick (I'll assume the protruding sensor presses into your skin) and if you wear a dress shirt with even slightly narrow cuffs you're going to hate it with a burning passion.
posted by GuyZero at 1:59 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


If I had a real job I would be very tempted to buy one, but seeing as I don't I can embrace my judgment that it seems kind of dumb.
posted by grobstein at 1:59 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


that I can only see as failures of taste

Yeah, those emoji are just straight up ugly. And if every single review calls them "creepy mime hands," you are probably not getting good internal feedback on things.
posted by smackfu at 2:02 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I received a breaking news alert e-mail from the New York Times informing me that an "official review of the Apple Watch" has been posted.
posted by Fizz at 2:03 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm sure it gets posted in nearly every Fancy Watch thread, but I just can't help myself today:
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.
-Douglas Adams
posted by dialetheia at 2:04 PM on April 8, 2015 [42 favorites]


And if it's true, that will doom the watch.

Nah, I don't think that at all. This is the same company that unapologetically shipped a calendar app with ugly skeuomorphic torn-off-paper trim over a ludicrous "rich Corinthian leather" texture, literally for years. They get more right than they get wrong with UI, and most of the time confine their weird design decisions to fringey issues, and that seems much of the time to be demonstrably good enough to make for some of the best products in the computer(-like-device) industry. Companywide software quality problems are certainly an issue for Apple at the moment, but that aside, a 1.0 product for early adopters can afford to have a few design decisions that don't work beautifully or look beautiful and still end up a success.
posted by RogerB at 2:04 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I suspect this is the exact moment that I become a calcified old person, but... as watches have become less necessary items in modern life my appreciation of them has concentrated around the pleasure of their mechanics: the springs, the gears, the hands. The doesn't have any of that; This is just another bright little screen to make my eyes tired and pour information into my brain.
posted by selfnoise at 2:05 PM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


For all the whining about the price, I'm pretty sure the $349 starting price point makes it Apple's most inexpensive new product category ever, even before adjusting for inflation.

I see what you're saying, but on the other hand, so to speak, the Watch isn't much use without an iPhone, so you'd have to factor in some of the price of one of those, perhaps.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:07 PM on April 8, 2015


An iPhone, even the first generation one, made you look cool as you whipped it out. The Apple Watch just makes you look like you've got a crappy watch strapped to your wrist. Like Google Glass, it's not cool.

What I just don't get about wearables is that smartphones had pretty much ended the prevalence of wristwatches, at least among people in my age range (still under 35 dammit). And now they're trying to ... bring back wristwatches so they can sell a smartphone accessory?
posted by graymouser at 2:09 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of the big things people point to about smartwatches in general is getting your phone notifications on your wrist. Personally, I disable just about all of the notifications on my phone other than texts and actual calls (neither of which I get very often anyway), leading me to believe that the present generation of smartwatches is Not For Me.
posted by ckape at 2:10 PM on April 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


The thing I'd be worried about if I were Apple is the watch lacking any particular thing that it is good at: even the glowing slightly-Stockholmy review from the NY Times fails to find any real use for it. Probably something will emerge in later generations and they'll sell enough of them to keep it afloat until then, but it's way more explicitly a nerd boondoggle designed to soak up excess money than anything Apple has released before.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I read the Verge piece earlier today, and was struck by how many negative aspects there are to this gadget.

Yes, that was my impression too: the Verge review often goes below lukewarm to pretty much damning. It's slow; it's confusing; it's limited; it's not one-handable; the social-interruption thing that Artw notes. The review is optimistic about "will be fixed in software updates" but the overall conclusion seems to be "don't buy this version."

Gruber noting the wrist-raise-to-delay-on lag seems significant too: he's always been very observant of UI polish and responsiveness.

The Verge piece speculates that Apple sacrificed performance for battery life, to hit the "full day on a single charge" mark. I wonder how much that's true.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:11 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


This thing would just be a brick to me since I don't have an iPhone to connect it to. One wonders if they'd ever support Android? Or do they not care about the other 80% of smart phone users?
posted by octothorpe at 2:12 PM on April 8, 2015


No, no they don't.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:15 PM on April 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


Android Wear is what most Android users would use. Or Pebble.
posted by smackfu at 2:16 PM on April 8, 2015


oulipian: "Does it have a fart app yet? Some of us just really wanted a wrist-mounted fart app."

Better yet: Whip crack app. Make the motion and crr-ack! Oh pleasepleaseplease?
posted by Splunge at 2:16 PM on April 8, 2015 [14 favorites]


I am going to sit on the sidelines and chuckle if the world just loses its collective shit over another 'indispensable' gadget that convinces them that they need it for things they never knew existed. a gadget they will stand in line for, pay ridiculous amounts of money to make work, complain about when it loses functionality in 6 months or has to be upgraded every year.
A sucker is born every minute. tee hee.


I'm absolutely certain you said the same thing about smartphones. And you know what? Having direct, casual access to all of my friends no matter where they are in the world, may not be 'indispensable' but it has improved my friendships and the quality of my life in a very real way. And your cynicism isn't going to change that.
posted by danny the boy at 2:18 PM on April 8, 2015 [14 favorites]


It's going to be tough sell, I think.

People who really love watches are probably more prone to opt for a well-made mechanical timepiece. People who don't wear a watch probably aren't going to suddenly change course and strap an Apple Watch to their wrists, especially given A) The price, and B) It's a big bulbous square.

But, then, I don't believe Apple is expecting iPhone-level sales or adoption rates for this, either.

I've yet to see a picture of it on someone's wrist where it looks at all comfortable or attractive. I mean, the watch itself, taken separately is a nice, clean sculpture. But, imho, once it's on a wrist, it looks a bit like a fat, golden carbuncle. But, I'm not the target consumer for things like this. I've never worn a watch in my life, and have no plans to start now.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:18 PM on April 8, 2015


The thing I'd be worried about if I were Apple is the watch lacking any particular thing that it is good at: even the glowing slightly-Stockholmy review from the NY Times fails to find any real use for it.

The theme I've heard though several reviews, including the NYTimes article, is that the promise of the Apple Watch is that it gives you time back--that it does a couple of things faster and better than your smartphone, so rather than pulling it out of your pocket finding that app and then putzing around checking facebook, you glance at your wrist--and get back to the real world in a fraction of the time you're currently spending on your phone.

I don't know if this is true or not, or whether or not the Apple Watch is going to be successful. But getting time back from my devices is worth spending $350 on (ironically, yes) another device.
posted by danny the boy at 2:24 PM on April 8, 2015


I am a happy original Pebble backer, and I am looking forward to the Watch, at least in part because I am the same nerd who owned calculator watches back in the day - the uncool kind of nerd.

The Pebble turned out to be great in a lot of ways I didn't expect: I pulled my phone out less in meetings or socially to see who had contacted me, I was able to quickly glance at my schedule, and I had something slightly less offensive than an iPhone to fiddle with during meetings.

It also turned out to be disappointing in a few ways: having buzzing on your wrist was too distracting (it only vibrates), and it doesn't do that much, which, for a techno-geek like me, made it a bit boring.

The Apple Watch seems likely to improve on the latter two things while still keeping the former. I am onboard, and my young daughter wants my old Pebble, so everyone wins.
posted by blahblahblah at 2:26 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


it's not one-handable

If that's true, someone's going to make a killing selling nose styluses.
posted by oulipian at 2:27 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


a gadget they will stand in line for

Apple seems to want to eliminate lines.
posted by sparkletone at 2:30 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not for me, and I've already far too much Apple stuff. I'm trying to reduce the time I spend looking at my phone, mostly by turning off notifications for all but a handful of things. The only use case I would have would be as a running watch and I'll look at it when I'm in the market for a new one. For everyday, I'll continue to wear a mechanical watch.
posted by sfred at 2:32 PM on April 8, 2015


Note that the Apple Watch is about 10mm thick (I'll assume the protruding sensor presses into your skin) and if you wear a dress shirt with even slightly narrow cuffs you're going to hate it with a burning passion.

I... am going to out myself as a "watch guy" and say I have about a dozen watches I regularly wear, mostly with work shirts. NONE of them are less than 10mm thick, with one exception: my dress watch, which is handwound (not automatic) and I mostly wear that on formal occasions.

Watches haven't regularly been less than 10mm thick since the 1950s.
posted by danny the boy at 2:32 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


One wonders if they'd ever support Android? Or do they not care about the other 80% of smart phone users?

They do actually. That's why they envision the Watch as an iPhone sales tool. I'm not sure it's going to work out that way, but that's their thinking.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:34 PM on April 8, 2015


I just hope the Apple Watch inspires Eric Burns to write a sequel to this wonderful little short story about time.
posted by Wretch729 at 2:34 PM on April 8, 2015


The constant wrist-buzzing is only annoying, not useful.

This is basically my new smartwatch.
posted by GuyZero at 2:38 PM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


sfred: Not for me ... I'm trying to reduce the time I spend looking at my phone .

Apple's argument is that the watch is exactly for you, because it will give you your time back and you'll need to pull out your phone less often. That aspect, at least, all the reviews agree on - once you tune the notifications to your liking, there's much less need to keep pulling out your phone to check on things.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:39 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


In honor of your retirement, we would like to present you with this gold Apple Watch.

It will be useless within 3 years.

This is a metaphor for your pension.
posted by ckape at 2:43 PM on April 8, 2015 [41 favorites]


Apple seems to want to eliminate lines.

And, by that, eliminating the scalpers that were jamming up the lines and flipping their iPhone6s to brokers waiting down the street.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:44 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


His companion for drinks asked him if he had somewhere else to be because he kept looking at his watch. If only it was still socially acceptable to say that to someone who keeps checking their phone!

Sadly, I'm sure we'll all be sitting around the dinner table flicking our eyes at our watches as email notifications come in, soon enough. Or just flicking our unfocused eyes at our wearable contact lenses, furthering our dream of being somewhere better than wherever we are.
posted by Kwine at 2:47 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have enough trouble hitting the right buttons on my iPhone with my fat sausage fingers, let alone this thing.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:49 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Apple? Not on my watch.
posted by Ratio at 2:52 PM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


RedOrGreen: I already wear a watch that tells me the time.The problem of checking the time can be solved by Casio for $10 or by Rolex for $8000 or more if you prefer. If you don't need (or want) the notifications, then there simply isn't a use case for a smart watch.
posted by sfred at 2:56 PM on April 8, 2015


I don't get the "what is it good for?" thing. Is it just me who thinks digging your phone out of your pocket/purse is a pain? And they're easy to drop and break. Or lose.

It would be nice to just tap your wrist and answer the phone (or send texts) and keep it handy that way. Like I said, I like the idea, and have ever since I first saw it mentioned in sci-fi books (and on Dick Tracy). It makes more sense than a slippery, expensive little glass screen that you are constantly fumbling with/trying not to butt-dial with. I've been expecting these for years.

But I wouldn't want to try to read Metafilter on them, for example. Ow, my aging eyes.
posted by emjaybee at 3:05 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm kinda agnostic to the whole smart watch idea, but one part of all reviews stands out to me, specifically the claim that the battery lasts all day, but only just.

Batteries suck, every phone on earth has diminished capacity after a month of use. If the watch is the same, and there's no reason to think it won't be, say goodbye to a full days use after a month or two.

Making it virtually useless.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:11 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


sfred: If you don't need (or want) the notifications, then there simply isn't a use case for a smart watch.

Well, I'm not disagreeing with you necessarily - or rather, I agree that you might not have a use case beyond notifications. I was just responding to your statement that you want to "reduce the time" you spend looking at your phone. As far as Apple is concerned, the Watch will let you do that by filtering your notifications so that you can dismiss most at a glance, and respond quickly to the important stuff right then without pulling out your iPhone.

You may disagree with Apple on this, of course! But they want you to spend money on this device to help mitigate the problem they created with their other device.
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:13 PM on April 8, 2015


Let's also face some truth with why the Apple Watch exists:

1 - the competitors were building watches
2 - Jony Ive wanted to design a watch
3 - people already spend tons of money on high-end watches

At that point whether the Apple Watch solves a problem or not is irrelevant.
posted by GuyZero at 3:17 PM on April 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


I am an Apple consumer. I've use Macs since 1990, I have an iPhone, iPad, and AppleTV. As does my wife. I live in their walled garden.

I can't figure out why I would want a little screen on my wrist that shows me whats on my phone, which is already at hand. I guess I'm getting old.

I don't understand how glancing at your watch, long considered to be a gesture of disinterest, will be considered less rude than just glancing at your phone.

I do like the animated Mickey watch face, though.
posted by Fleebnork at 3:17 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm buggered if I can work out what a smartwatch is actually for. Considering that there have been Android watches for about a year now, what's so special about the iWatch that there's such a buzz?
posted by salmacis at 3:26 PM on April 8, 2015


I can't get over the way the screen is blank until you move or tap it. It's not a watch, it's a remote iPhone display strapped to your wrist.

Well, yeah. The iPhone display is also blank until you press the home button, and you can't make a call until you tap the phone icon. It's not a phone, it's a computer in your pocket.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:27 PM on April 8, 2015


I don't like hauling my phone out of my pocket to see what incoming calls and texts and calendar alerts are, and a connected watch would be useful as a remote control for Slacker when exercising or cooking. Also, I've found I'm becoming less and less sensitive the phone on vibrate when it's in a pocket. The new phones have ever more powerful buzzers, but I'm getting worse in not noticing them after a short while.

That said, this thing has a very Newton-like scent to it: over-engineered, overwrought, its ambition outstripping its reach. The Pebble smells more like a Palm Pilot. Cheap, dumbed down, does what it does with very little fuss or hassle.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:32 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm buggered if I can work out what a smartwatch is actually for.

As many have said upthread, I think this is Apple and Google and Pebble's big challenge.

If one of these things could completely replace a smartphone, sure, I could see them selling in a big way. I already have to carry two phones (for work, and for me), and I hate it. I would probably hate having to carry a phone and a watch too.

I would be much more tempted if I could carry a watch or a phone.

I would be really tempted if I could have both and choose which one I wanted to carry today.
posted by bonehead at 3:37 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I stopped wearing a watch about twenty years ago, and started again with the Pebble. I find it pretty useful to check notifications and to look at the time. I like to keep my phone completely mute, and rely on the vibration of the watch to let me know there's a new email or whatever. It can do a couple of other things, but at a certain point it's easier to just go to the phone. There seem to be two big differences between the Pebble and the Apple Watch: battery life (over a week for the Pebble) and the fact that it's always on and I can actually use it as a watch without interacting with it.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:39 PM on April 8, 2015


I would be much more tempted if I could carry a watch or a phone.

The tethering also sounds like it's the source of the slowness problem that prevents the watch being an effective notification device - so if it was standalone it would immediately better at what should be a slam dunk use case for it.

Is the Pebble standalone? Is it just not hitting speed problems because it is doing less?
posted by Artw at 3:42 PM on April 8, 2015


I would be much more tempted if I could carry a watch or a phone.

The LG G Watch Urbane LTE* is a smartwatch with its own LTE radio. It's basically a tiny smartphone. It could conceivably completely replace carrying a phone. In theory.

* I don't get these terrible product names. It's an org chart branch, not a product name. It's a feature list, not a product name.
posted by GuyZero at 3:43 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


2007: I don't need a watch, I have a phone with a clock on it!

2015: I have a phone with everything on it, but I need a watch with a subset of everything on it!
posted by JauntyFedora at 3:46 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is the Pebble standalone? Is it just not hitting speed problems because it is doing less?

No, it needs a Bluetooth connection to your Android or iOS device. But notifications come across immediately. It has a black-and-white LCD, which doesn't require a lot of processing power to run.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:47 PM on April 8, 2015


2007: I don't need a watch, I have a phone with a clock on it!

2015: I have a phone with everything on it, but I need a watch with a subset of everything on it!


2039: "Is your retinal implant causing you cancer? Are you tired of those tired 'Terminator Eyes'? Consider Apple NeverMind Implants. It'll change the way you think!!"
posted by Fizz at 3:54 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I haven't worn a watch, for a variety of reasons, since 1983. I am going to sit on the sidelines and chuckle if the world just loses its collective shit over another 'indispensable' gadget that convinces them that they need it for things they never knew existed. a gadget they will stand in line for, pay ridiculous amounts of money to make work, complain about when it loses functionality in 6 months or has to be upgraded every year.
A sucker is born every minute. tee hee.


I bought a first generation iPad as soon as it was available and don't have a single regret. I loved playing all my iOS games on that big screen for the first year and then kept it and bought an iPad 2 too.

As to the Apple Watch, I'm looking forward to rolling over at night half asleep and asking Siri a question from my wrist. I'm looking forward to leaving my iPhone on my desk at home and being able to answer calls in the backyard on the Apple Watch via the WiFi network. I'm looking forward to playing the first primitive Apple Watch games as developers find their way on a whole new platform. I'm looking forward to the feel of the build quality and the mechanical precision of the digital crown. I'm looking forward to seeing my Apple Watch evolve before my eyes when the first native Apple Watch apps arrive later this year. I'm looking forward to taking a walk in a foreign city to a place I've never been and being silently guided by the Taptic Engine. I'm looking forward to being surprised by finding uses for the Apple Watch that I haven't even dreamt of yet.

Sorry to hear you won't be joining in the fun this April; but maybe we'll see you in 2016. :)
posted by fairmettle at 3:55 PM on April 8, 2015 [20 favorites]


I'm buggered if I can work out what a smartwatch is actually for. Considering that there have been Android watches for about a year now, what's so special about the iWatch that there's such a buzz?

Apple is wildly successful at demonstrating just what $GADGET is actually for. They're never the first to market (the iPhone is arguably an exception), but the products have made their usefulness clear where their predecessors have failed. I expect many of the commenters in this thread will have a different opinion in a year or so.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:57 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm looking forward to rolling over at night half asleep and asking Siri a question from my wrist.

But from what I've read so far, the watch will need to be on its little charging thingy while you sleep, not on your wrist.
posted by Ratio at 4:12 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


They're never the first to market (the iPhone is arguably an exception), but the products have made their usefulness clear where their predecessors have failed.

Normally, I agree with you. But here we have an awkward situation where a first-mover has a better product at a better price, and has prepared to go after the market for the long haul, slow and steady until critical mass arrives.

Pebble is arguably the impetus for the whole smartwatch magilla, and has shipped working products users love. It's a very hard act to follow, and will stick around due to its savvy business practices, low price point and vast Android market.

If I have to draw parallels, Android Watch is the new WinCE (love that acronym), Pebble is the new Palm, and the Apple Watch is, well... you know.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:18 PM on April 8, 2015


I don't have a smartphone, and I admit I find it disturbing to see people marching en masse onto this consumer electronics hedonic treadmill.

I'm fully aware that that luddism and technofuturism are on a continuum, and I can see why someone would be tempted to rebut with something like "if new forms of information r so dangerous why aren't u railing against BOOKS too!!"; but, like, I don't know, the genie's out of the bottle on that one, right?

I can't de-condition myself from the level of convenience I'm already used to but I sure can do my best to insulate myself from becoming incontrovertibly accustomed to new standards of service that I haven't yet been exposed to. It drives me absolutely crazy when a webpage on my computer takes even a few seconds to load. I can't imagine what it would feel like to become vulnerable to that heightened sense of information privilege even when walking around out in the world.
posted by threeants at 4:20 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I want the whole fucking band to be part of the display.
posted by Abon Sapi at 4:30 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm gonna order a Takara Kronoform off eBay and if I see somebody wearing one of these Apple Watches I'm gonna be like that's cool that your watch has a personalized vibration for your dentist appointments but DOES IT TURN INTO A FUCKIN ROBOT and just blow their minds
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:44 PM on April 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


Apple seems to want to eliminate lines.

The timing of that memo is awfully convenient. It's by design that there will be fewer people than usual lining up for these two products! Yeah, that's the ticket!

It's definitely not at all because everyone's kind of shrugging disappointedly at them and wondering why they exist, oh no.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:45 PM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


prize bull octorok: Why get Kronoform when you can get Kaltor? It's a watch and a robot and a calculator!

why yes I had one as a kid or actually two because the robot fell off somewhere and then I just had the band and then I got a new one and then it happened again
posted by ckape at 5:00 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I have a pebble, and it's turning out to be pretty useful so far. The big uses it to me are as a running watch (you still need to bring your phone, but you can't look at a phone on an armband while you are running) and a fancier music remote. I think with a smartwatch, you should figure out what you want to use it for before you buy one; the ability to look at notifications is nice, but only if you get a lot of them you actually care about. Most people either don't get enough to matter or get too many and ignore them already.

I don't really see what the Apple watch brings to the market. I mean, it's cool that it's full color, touch, can do some processing, and has some memory. But I don't see how it's useful. The pebble accomplishes all of those tasks I use it for pretty much exactly as well as it would if it had all of that (maybe it would browse music slightly better with a touchscreen, but with solid buttons, I can use it blind, which is nice). Meanwhile, it's cheap enough to lose or break without it being a disaster (a real danger for watches), the e-ink display probably beats any LCD or LED in direct sunlight, and the rated battery life is a week. Oh, and it's not slow.

Honestly, the Apple watch feels over-engineered. There was no real reason for it to have more processor than strictly necessary to run the display and the touchscreen or any real storage; all of that should have been offloaded to the phone that will invariably accompany it. I suspect future generations will do this and be cheaper and have better battery life.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:02 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm over here loving my Android Wear device, with the screen on constantly, with no framerate drops, and with the battery lasting into the next day.
posted by hellphish at 5:50 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd never argue that something is overpowered, as that just gives capacity for things the original design never thought of.

I'd say the reverse, that all these watches are desperately under powered, in processing power, battery and capabilities. Many of the things people are complaining about here, why there has to be screen activation algorithm, why they can't have high bandwidth antennas, are a result of technical limitations.

The wow factor won't come, I don't think, until we've got something at least as capable as a cell phone, in a wrist sized package. And that's technically 4 to 5 years away yet, I think.
posted by bonehead at 5:52 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


The timing of that memo is awfully convenient. It's by design that there will be fewer people than usual lining up for these two products! Yeah, that's the ticket!

Enh. Maybe I'm misremembering but didn't they say several weeks or a month ago that you couldn't just show up and try on an Apple Watch? You'd have to make an appointment online first? The memo seems just like an extension of that. Less having to manage crowds. No weird scalping stuff going on. I'm pretty sure moving this direction was inevitable once they had the infrastructure (website, app, policies) to do so.
posted by sparkletone at 6:04 PM on April 8, 2015


Basically, we're still here re: smartwatches.
posted by Abon Sapi at 6:06 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


You know what I think would get mercilessly ridiculed but actually sell really well? A watch with "alert only" capabilities. A nice, high resolution, but still really basic LCD screen, which requires very little power. It would show the time, all the time. Because it's a watch. And when an alert comes in on your phone (a calendar appointment, a phone call, an email, whatever), it vibrates and displays "CALL - John Smith" or "CALENDAR - Dentist @ 6:00" or "FARMVILLE - Your tractor broke!" or whatever. With different vibrations for different types of alerts, of course. And then you can decide if it's something you should bring your phone out and do something about immediately, or just something to be informed of, or something you can ignore.

It would require very very little power, since it does so (comparatively) little. You would be charging it once a week or once a month, not once a day. And the base model could be super cheap. $50, I'm guessing. Or, of course, the "plated in platinum which is then plated in diamond and then coated with gold" model for $5xE10 or whatever.

I don't even wear a watch, but I'd get one.
posted by Bugbread at 6:16 PM on April 8, 2015


Bugbread, you have just basically described the Pebble.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:19 PM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


But from what I understand, the Pebble does a lot more, no? Like, looking on Wikipedia, it's got a magnetometer and accelerometer, and all kinds of apps. And because of that, it has price tag of $149 for the first-gen model and $249 for the second-gen model, and a self-described one week charge time. I'm thinking more stripped down to make it thinner, lighter, cheaper, and give it a longer battery life. Something which a regular person might not even describe as a "smart watch". Something that you wouldn't get as a status symbol but because it would just be really fucking useful.
posted by Bugbread at 6:46 PM on April 8, 2015


Sorry for the derail but...
I have no interested in ever owning the watch but Patel's article on The Verge is a pretty great bit of writing and web design.

I can only read the top three fifths or so of what's in the window. How exactly is wasting a third of the page on white text on a white background great web design?? It annoyed me enough that I didn't bother finishing TFA.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 6:49 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know what I think would be really cool? A smart watch that would integrate seamlessly with my iPhone, natively. A smart watch that would show and tell me directions while I'm driving so I don't have to look at my iPhone (or even my watch!). A smart watch that would let me buy food without me having to reach into my pocket and pull out my iPhone. A smart watch that would natively sync HealthKit data onto my iPhone. A smart watch that would transcribe my text messages to my iPhone. A smart watch that would look cool and isn't made of plastic, a smart watch that's made of aluminum, steel, or gold.

This thing is going to be amazing because it's solving all of the minuscule first world problems about having the world's best phone to begin with, and leaving the door wide open for anyone else who can think of further improvements. This is Apple saying "I know we make a fucking great smartphone, but here's what sucks about using a smartphone and here's what will fix it."
posted by oceanjesse at 6:50 PM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Trinity-Gehenna: "I can only read the top three fifths or so of what's in the window. How exactly is wasting a third of the page on white text on a white background great web design?? It annoyed me enough that I didn't bother finishing TFA."

Seriously. In what universe is this good web design?
posted by Bugbread at 7:06 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh, wait, nevermind, I had scripts turned off for theverge.com. Once scripts are enabled, it's much easier to read. The background images keep changing aspect ratio every once in a while as I scroll, making people suddenly tall/skinny or short/fat for a second, which is annoying, but the page design is no longer the absolute WTF I thought it was.
posted by Bugbread at 7:13 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


oceanjesse, you're saying you want a phone on your wrist essentially. If your watch is 99% of your phone's interface, if you never need to take the phone out of your pocket, why have two devices? Let the watch do all the smartphoney things.

When you want a browser/reader/game device, pull your (much more capable) tablet out of your bag and go nuts
posted by bonehead at 7:30 PM on April 8, 2015


Yeah, let's just imagine I wrote my Metafilter comment on an Apple Watch instead of an iPhone's web browser.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:34 PM on April 8, 2015


Ah, so that's the problem. Thanks, Bugbread. Buncha silliness in the background causing distractions is marginally less obnoxious than what I was looking at before.

That said I personally can't imagine any reason that I would want one of these things. Never had any need for a dumb watch. And while I do get a kick out of all the bells and whistles on my fancy Star Trak Communicator From the Future, in the end it's still just an infuriatingly expensive substitute for pay phones.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 7:35 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I see no need for me personally for the watch as a "connectedness" device, or as a reader or notification center. What I'm waiting for is for it to become a mature health monitor. I'm addition to pulse, I want it to track blood pressure, dissolved O2, blood sugar levels, BMR, detect heart arrhythmia. I want it to know when I'm about to have a heart attack and call 911 with my location.
posted by sourwookie at 7:37 PM on April 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


@sourwookie - I'd pay for a version of the basis wristband that had more functionality and had a better designed band. However, I won't pay for one designed by Apple - I like my devices open source thank you.
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 7:40 PM on April 8, 2015


anyway, give it another 4 or 5 years and we may find that this whole concept of wearable devices looks terribly outdated compared to the Internet of Nipples that will be developed to disrupt the piercing market
posted by oceanjesse at 8:12 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Let's not even pretend that neural integration won't be a thing at some point, much sooner than we probably expect.
posted by Abon Sapi at 8:13 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


i don't know whether to shit or whine about my watch.
posted by hal9k at 8:43 PM on April 8, 2015


The watch lets you do both at the same time!
posted by Abon Sapi at 8:58 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


H. Roark: "Bliss? Come on. I might be old and crotchety but this is still some bullshit."

Apple's PR maestro was booted and the King of Apple Hagiography, Walt Mossberg, is not getting any younger. Change at the top is possible. As a result, aspirants to the throne are going to have to outdo themselves to make an impression. It's rare that Farhad Manjoo meets a gadget, especially an Apple gadget, that he cannot gush effusively over.
posted by meehawl at 9:11 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just getting this in for the historic record when somebody is reading this a decade or so hence(*):

As of today, the Apple Watch is probably of only marginal usefulness. Most Apple products are this way, at some point you just need to ship and see what happens. But I think that within a few years, maybe as long as five, the usefulness will be there. Revised hardware, software, and applications will see to that. You may still not want one but it will be obvious why somebody would.

(*) Hi! I hope the future is cool. If you're not wearing a silver lame jumpsuit I'm very disappointed.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 9:44 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I see no need for me personally for the watch as a "connectedness" device, or as a reader or notification center. What I'm waiting for is for it to become a mature health monitor. I'm addition to pulse, I want it to track blood pressure, dissolved O2, blood sugar levels, BMR, detect heart arrhythmia. I want it to know when I'm about to have a heart attack and call 911 with my location.

Sadly it will take a decade for the FDA to approve.
posted by GuyZero at 9:46 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone's linked Metafilter's reaction to the iPhone yet. Or (linked from that thread), Slashdot on the iPod.
posted by brentajones at 9:49 PM on April 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Heh. I remember the whole "it runs OS X" thing.
posted by Artw at 9:56 PM on April 8, 2015


I like the idea of the iPhone, but what Apple announced is a bit disappointing. They need to add 3G, bluetooth, tethering, direct itunes downloads, a CDMA version, GPS, and third-party application support for it to really take off.
posted by ckape at 10:06 PM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bugbread: “Seriously. In what universe is this good web design? ... Oh, wait, nevermind, I had scripts turned off for theverge.com. Once scripts are enabled, it's much easier to read. The background images keep changing aspect ratio every once in a while as I scroll, making people suddenly tall/skinny or short/fat for a second, which is annoying, but the page design is no longer the absolute WTF I thought it was.”

If you have to have scripts turned on, it's absolutely not good web design.
posted by koeselitz at 10:28 PM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure if I need people to talk me into or talk me out of getting a first generation Apple Watch.
posted by mazola at 11:26 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The fact that people were gushing over the first iPhone, and they aren't for the iWatch should be concerning for Apple.
posted by salmacis at 1:02 AM on April 9, 2015


Um - they kind of are.
posted by koeselitz at 1:35 AM on April 9, 2015


With no offense to anyone in this thread intended and without a shred of external credibility on issues such as this to my name, I'd like to offer a speculation: this is a slow burn.

It's a device that has only adopted the form of a watch; something familiar to us. But it has the potential to do all sorts of next-level-shit that's utterly unfamiliar to us, and I think Apple sees the commercial and technological future for phones and tablets as limited to, what's the knowledge management term? "explicit" information.

So this next-level-shit is combing haptics with implicit information. I mean, Apple and others already kind of "imply" things about you when they suggest what album or restaurant you might like or what text reply you might send. But that's not the same thing as touching your body and predicting things based on a very physical and definite understanding of where and when you are doing whatever you're doing. An iPhone or Android or whatever in your pocket can know some things about your body, but a piece of equipment touching your skin is a very different ball game, especially when that thing touching your skin is a node in the biggest of big data.

This (or a similar device's) ability to understand things about your body is going to increase exponentially and quickly over the next five years. And in the future that thing monitoring, reading and interacting with your body is going to be interacting with the things other people are wearing. Which is somewhat terrifying. But it's definitely where we're headed, and I think Apple is getting in and staking out their territory somewhat late but rather definitively in this "market."

I'm not putting this very well [sigh] and I'm not buying a 1st gen watch from Apple, but I think sooner or later we'll be wearing something like this whether we want to or not, that is, if we want to use money or have health insurance (...or avoid arrest; Jesus I just gave myself a scary)
posted by digitalprimate at 2:15 AM on April 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm looking forward to rolling over at night half asleep and asking Siri a question from my wrist.

But from what I've read so far, the watch will need to be on its little charging thingy while you sleep, not on your wrist.

Apple states that the watch will take 2 1/2 hours to fully recharge, but does not specifiy when that charging must occur. Personally, I plan to charge it when I'm sitting in front of my desktop during the day when I already have full connectivity anyway.
posted by fairmettle at 2:56 AM on April 9, 2015


I can't get over the way the screen is blank until you move or tap it. It's not a watch, it's a remote iPhone display strapped to your wrist.

Yea, really. I expect this to be the stunning new feature in the 2nd or 3rd gen. When i heard it was going to be using OLED, i figured it would at the very least do something like a slick, appley version of nokia glance(or motorola active display). You lift your wrist and it subtly wakes up from the dimmer, all-the-time monochromatic screen to the full color "on" screen.

Not having an always on screen and having to wake it up... which even Gruber gripes about, and he's one of the most pro-apple people on the internet, is such a 1st gen problem.

I'm not saying "less space than a nomad, lame". I'm more saying as i said in a previous thread about this watch on here, that this looks like a bit of a clunker the way the 1st gen iphone, ipad, air, and macbook pro did and in retrospect totally were. It's apple, so it's a really cool clunker, but that's a pretty crappy limitation.

The smooth black surface looks cool in a daft punk helmet sort of way until you try and glance at the thing while you're sitting at your desk and it's just black, the exact scenario Gruber brought up. This is the sort of thing that made the pebble, and hell, even other OLED watches like the LG g watch R cool.

Then again, like the lack of 3G on the first iphone, the fact that LGs clunky watch with a plastic screen does it and the apple watch doesn't makes me really think they're going to knock that one down fast. Like that case, i bet they hit some impassable wall of battery life with the actual device not being stupidly large and clunky like a lot of other smartwatches and decided it was a worthy sacrifice.
posted by emptythought at 4:06 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


When tech reviewers gush about how the Apple Watch makes them a better, more socially conscious human by causing them to glance at their wrist repeatedly during conversation instead of staring at their phone screen, that's quite telling, no?
posted by duffell at 4:38 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I gave up wearing a watch in the early '90s, mostly because I don't like having something strapped to my wrist at all. I've considered a pocketwatch with a chain, but with my wardrobe, it would probably seem ridiculous, and don't really need another thing cluttering up my pockets. My phone has a clock. I know, get off my lawn...

But seriously, a watch that's not really fashionable and a bit too big to be comfortable or easy to wear with sleeves doesn't seem like it will catch on. At least Swatch watches were sold in a huge variety of colors. I'd probably want one with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns if I were 10 years old. I had a LED digital watch back then. You had to press a button to read the time, which hurt your fingers because of the way it was designed like picture hanging nails poking out of tire rubber- about the same amount of resistance, too. It was the best. Thing. Ever.

But I don't want another watch, not even a Dick Tracy visionary the-future-is-now watch, because I'm not 10 years old anymore. And I hate wearing anything on my wrist. Because I'm old and content... at least until my contract is up and I trade in for the newest iPhone, maybe finally add an iPad, cause I want gadgets like that. And a Kindle just for reading... And maybe a new laptop within a year... Oh, and a jacket suitable for a pocketwatch...
posted by krinklyfig at 5:10 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm looking forward to rolling over at night half asleep and asking Siri a question from my wrist. I'm looking forward to leaving my iPhone on my desk at home and being able to answer calls in the backyard on the Apple Watch via the WiFi network.

Maybe it's age, and maybe it's due to my commitment to a daily Zen meditation practice, but I find myself happy to be present where I am in certain situations, with my phone in airplane mode while I sleep or when I'm outside, enjoying simply being, and not being compelled to answer a call or text at any given moment, nor feeling the need to login to social networks or ask Siri anything. I like the interface, convenience and capabilities of the iPhone and the iPad, the latter more for music than gaming- a personal preference.

However, being connected - and reachable - 100% of the time is not the kind of life that suits me. Peace of mind is intertwined with presence in the moment and place where I exist right now, something which these iDevices remove rather than offer. They're amazing and pretty nifty all in all (I'm fully on board for the upgrade cycle at the least for my iPhone), but not if you can't turn them off for a while every day.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:33 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


My favorite part of Verge's iWatch gifset on tumblr is where the reviewer is scrolling the news the University attack in Kenya on his watch. This is why I don't want an iWatch. Maybe I don't even want a computer. Or eyes and ears.
posted by srboisvert at 6:07 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, this beats my last digital watch, which only had one app. But at least it had a joystick!
posted by mittens at 6:20 AM on April 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


The theme I've heard though several reviews, including the NYTimes article, is that the promise of the Apple Watch is that it gives you time back--that it does a couple of things faster and better than your smartphone, so rather than pulling it out of your pocket finding that app and then putzing around checking facebook, you glance at your wrist--and get back to the real world in a fraction of the time you're currently spending on your phone.

This is probably the best explanation yet of why I'm not at all interested in this watch. I'm not so enamored with my phone that I can't pull it out of my pocket to check something without then falling into some Facebook black hole that I only exit twenty minutes later in a daze. My phone is there to do things for me; if I want to waste time, it's great at letting me waste time, and if I just need to check something quickly it's great for getting me the info I need and then disappearing back into my pocket.

And yet, I understand that there are in fact people who can't peel their eyeballs off their phone, and I guess the Pebble and the various smartwatches are made for those people.
posted by chrominance at 8:57 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've had my Pebble for two years and it's fantastic. It has an e-ink display, not LCD, which is why it has a one-week battery life. And it's water-resistant. Pebble has already won the smartwatch wars.
posted by exogenous at 9:26 AM on April 9, 2015


Don't count scrappy underdog Apple out of the Smart Watch wars.
posted by mazola at 9:36 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Apple ][ watch.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:56 AM on April 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Apple ][ watch.

From the 'instructables' page:
I considered spending the time to add a BASIC interpreter (either Woz's Integer Basic or perhaps Tiny Basic), but the return on my time would be diminishing.
Understatement of the year.
posted by mazola at 10:01 AM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I want a Mac SE Watch. The ghost of Jobs sees a kid playing with marbles and tells his people: make it this size. So, you need a magnifying glass to read the display, and a tiny, exquisite needle to press the button...
posted by pjmoy at 10:09 AM on April 9, 2015


Not having an always on screen and having to wake it up... which even Gruber gripes about, and he's one of the most pro-apple people on the internet, is such a 1st gen problem.

Our CEO bought some android wear nonsense from Samsung or whoever when it first came out. It had a beautiful color display and it was fucking BRIGHT. And it was always on. The first meeting he was in that day, we told him to turn it off or leave because it was so distracting.

I don't think you guys have thought about what it's actually like to wear a bright, glowing screen that is flashing at you at all times. It's a certainty that Apple has user tested this and realized your screen doesn't want to be on all the time, and that notifications are best done through haptic feedback rather than visible to everyone around you.

BTW, boss man wore it for a day and I haven't seen it since...
posted by danny the boy at 10:23 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yes, a backlit screen would be a horrible thing to be on all the time. Plus the battery life would go from "not even a day" to "barely an hour". If only there were some other display technology that had been tested in digital watches...

Apple made the choice to use a bright OLED display. It's a very interesting choice, and makes sense for a wrist-mounted iPhone display. I don't really understand it as a timepiece. Then again the iPhone isn't a very good phone (particularly with US carriers) but is a fantastic product none the less.
posted by Nelson at 10:25 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you have to have scripts turned on, it's absolutely not good web design.

This is arguable, but at least you show your company/client you value your and their time by not catering to a tiny, irrelevant portion of your audience.
posted by cellphone at 11:28 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's a shame that Steve died so early. He pushed Jonny. They really did change some shit up. Losing Steve is like losing John Lennon. Now all we got is Paul. I'm sure Steve would have made this a better product. But I'm one of those goofy apple fanboys who thinks any Beatles is better than, well, that other stuff. I know some people don't like the Beatles at all. Like the man said, no accounting for taste.

I'm buying one. My alarm is set for 2:45 am. All you "i don't want a watch" folks, well, some people ain't got Dishwashers. In fact, my dishwasher went on the fritz two years ago, and I ain't replaced it.

Course, I bought the first iPhone. I paid the early adopter tax. Cuz I like playing with new stuff. It wasn't perfect. In fact, it was the worst phone, but a great internet device. Then I waited until the 4, and it was like the best thing ever.

I understand android folk, I just wish they'd go ahead and admit there would be no android without apple. If apple didn't push the rest of the world to be better, then it would stagnate, and we'd still be cooing over motorola razors.

My son works for apple (full disclosure) and he told me he's thinking of going lowball on this one, so that when the next one comes out (and he compared it to an iPad 2 situation In that the 2nd gen was so much better) he could justify upgrading. That makes perfect sense to me, and, reading all the reviews, it makes perfect sense, because NOW we all know how this stuff works.

I've settled on the stainless w/ sport band. It's $549. Woo-hoo! I'm rich! But not rich enough for gold, so please, don't see me as some entitled white-boy redhead. See me as the poor white-boy redhead from shively who owes his whole career to the fact that there was a macintosh in the first place. Who will also forego booze for a couple of months so I can pay the tax that will result in more improvement of the product itself. Okay, not really, but with the first iPhone I really did go six months without drinking. So I sacrificed more than, well, I sacrificed.

I figure it'll hold it's value pretty good until the next one comes out. And then I can sell it and move up. I just can't wait until apple kicks the jams out in the googleglass/oculas rift territory. Cuz that's gonna be some fun.
posted by valkane at 11:40 AM on April 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


My general feeling about the Apple Watch matches my general feelings about all smartwatches. Which matches my general feeling about watches, for that matter. I haven't worn a watch since around 2000. I am just not a Watch Person any more, and none of the things smartwatches have done to date make me want to change that. I've skimmed a fair number of articles like this, as I'm curious to see if Apple has cracked the problem of smartwatches just seeming vaguely useless to me, and they haven't.

Maybe in about six years of software and hardware advances I'll have changed my tune, and won't be able to imagine life without one. This could be my own personal "no wifi, less space than a Nomad, lame." But I'm not holding my breath.
posted by egypturnash at 12:45 PM on April 9, 2015


I've had my Pebble for two years and it's fantastic. It has an e-ink display, not LCD, which is why it has a one-week battery life. And it's water-resistant. Pebble has already won the smartwatch wars.

The wars you win give you a year or two above water — see what happened to RIM/BlackBerry when the iPhone came out. I like what they are doing, but realistically, Pebble probably has that much breathing room to get bought out by a company that can scale their product beyond Kickstarter.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:50 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I recently bought a watch after many years of not wearing one (other than a running watch only when running which recently died) precisely because I was tired of whipping out my phone to tell the time, or not being able to after the battery died. This is especially important if I'm fishing in a river or something and just need the time on my wrist. It also looks nice and never fails me.

My new watch is analog. It tells time, has a date feature, and has an alarm. I don't need anything else in a watch and if I do, my lovely iPhone 6 is always somewhere close.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:02 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


brentajones: "I don't think anyone's linked Metafilter's reaction to the iPhone yet. Or (linked from that thread), Slashdot on the iPod."

"It's nice and all, but I just want a f'ing full-screen iPod without the phone.

I can't help but think Apple is missing the boat here. Are they effectively saying you can't buy a half-decent iPod anymore unless you get a phone with it? Pffffft."


I admit it, I LOLed. ;-)
posted by Splunge at 3:40 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


To be fair, it would be nice to have a decent iPod available again. :/
posted by GuyZero at 3:54 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, luckily Apple was able to stave off bankruptcy long enough to produce the full-screen iPod we asked for. It even had wireless, and more space than a Nomad.
posted by ckape at 4:02 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


My wife has an iPhone. I find it hard to use. We also have an iPad, and I curse at it plenty ("Goddamn it, what do you mean I can't just save the goddamn song as a wave file, and then open that wave file in iMovie. You mean I have to fucking export the song to Soundcloud, then transfer the Soundcloud file to Google Drive, then use iDrive to open the song in iMovie? It's the same goddamn file on the same goddamn iPad. Why do I have to send it across the ocean to the servers of two different goddamn companies just to put it back on the same motherfucking hard disk to open it on a separate program on the same shitfucking device?!").

But!!!

I acknowledge that lots of people like these products, so it's just a matter of personality incompatibility.

The iWatch is not for me, but if there are enough people to use it, then it will be a successful product, and more power to Apple for making it. But, me, personally? Apple has effectively said you can't buy a half-decent iPod anymore unless you get a phone with it, and I just want a fucking full-screen iPod without the phone.
posted by Bugbread at 4:06 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm getting one. I recognize that it's a 1.0; I got the first iPhone too. I expect better versions down the line, but I could say that about my laptop as well, so hey!

The single most important thing about the device for me is the Taptic Engine. At the moment my portable devices engage two senses max, and if I want to use the auditory component I either annoy people around me or cut myself off from them. The idea of adding a way to engage a third sense, albeit primitively, is pretty cool for me. Especially since it's totally unnoticeable to everyone else.
posted by Bryant at 4:15 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Bryant: "At the moment my portable devices engage two senses max"

You don't have vibration on your portable devices?
posted by Bugbread at 4:18 PM on April 9, 2015


I just want a fucking full-screen iPod without the phone.

Isn't this exactly what the iPod Touch is?
posted by aubilenon at 4:25 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sorry, that sounded like a smarmy dig at Apple, which is not what I intended. I expect that taptics is a notable improvement over current vibration functionality (especially because of the watch format, which means that the device is always flush against your body, meaning you always feel the vibration), but it's an improvement to an existing thing that smartphones already do, not a new thing.
posted by Bugbread at 4:25 PM on April 9, 2015


aubilenon: "Isn't this exactly what the iPod Touch is?"

Sorry, I meant one with the same amount of memory (up to 160GB) as the iPod Classic.
posted by Bugbread at 4:29 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


You can't get that with a phone attached either.
posted by aubilenon at 4:51 PM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I believe they use the same "taptic"* technology in the trackpad of the Macbook, which might be a more interesting use for it.

* like haptic, but trademarkable!
posted by Artw at 5:04 PM on April 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'd buy one of these, too.
posted by valkane at 5:32 PM on April 9, 2015


I'd like to point out that a lot of Samsung's watches use Tizen, not Android Wear.

With how pro-Apple the Verge seems to be, I'm honestly surprised that the Moto 360 got a higher score. Different reviewers, though.

As far as social awareness goes, I'll admit the Pebble, then the 360 I have has actually helped with that regard. I don't take out my phone and put it on the table anymore. I also check my notifications less--a lot of that because I've set it to only forward notifications for specific apps, and even then, I've let go of wanting to check constantly. It buzzes. If it continues buzzing, it's a phone call, and then I decide. If it buzzes once, it's probably a text or a chat, and if I'm not somewhere expecting it, I can clear it at my leisure.

Is it for everyone? No. I love my smart watch, but I can't really recommend it to anyone else. Not because it isn't cool, or useful, but because when you get down to it? Having the constant notifications plays into FOMO. If one can let that go, then the watch isn't so bad. If one can't? It'll just enable the bad habits.

Also, having music play on my watch and not the phone is nice when I'm doing something and don't need to carry the phone with me.
posted by qcubed at 5:42 PM on April 9, 2015


Also, bugbread: how else is the NSA going to get your filthy audio in their database?
posted by qcubed at 5:44 PM on April 9, 2015


Bugbread: "Sorry, I meant one with the same amount of memory (up to 160GB) as the iPod Classic."

You know, you could just get a slate-form Android with 32 or 64GB and drop a 128GB microSD in there, then use one of the media players with inertial playback controls. Pretty similar to the ipod's rotator wheel control.

I upgraded my 2004-era 2GB flash ram player with a 128GB card, so I guess I like to hang on to old things as well.
posted by meehawl at 5:57 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


octothorpe: "I have no interested in ever owning the watch but Patel's article on The Verge is a pretty great bit of writing and web design."

Almost, but I've got to disagree. I was enjoying the article and the design right up to the Walk it Off section. That animated guy‽ every time he moved I lost my place. There should never be animation behind text.
posted by zinon at 8:27 AM on April 10, 2015


One of the first Apple Watch games is an RPG for your wrist

Unlike the few Apple Watch games we've seen already, Runeblade will run natively on the device, so you won't need an iPhone to play.
posted by fairmettle at 8:47 AM on April 10, 2015


The timing of that memo is awfully convenient. It's by design that there will be fewer people than usual lining up for these two products! Yeah, that's the ticket! It's definitely not at all because everyone's kind of shrugging disappointedly at them and wondering why they exist, oh no.

This is from an Ars Technica article about the web pre-orders:
Six hours after launch, and shipping times for the Apple Watch are now pegged at four to six weeks. One order placed just 10 minutes after the ordering began at 3am EDT will not ship until mid-May.
posted by danny the boy at 11:08 AM on April 10, 2015


Re the web orders: 12:03 AM [*] Order Confirmation email promised shipping in April 24--May 8, and 12:10 AM Order Confirmation said "4--6 weeks". Since then it has slipped further - they've sold millions in their pre-orders.

This is a first generation product that no consumer has put their hands on - aside from Apple employees and a small handful of reviewers, no one has tried one on. And yet, on May 1st, the Apple Watch will have an installed base that exceeds all other smartwatches *combined*. That's the reserve of goodwill - of confidence that yeah, they'll probably do a good job - that Apple has earned with the iPod, the iPad, and most of all the iPhone. It's a long way from the Newton days.
[*] Yes that's 3:03 AM in my time zone. I know, I know.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:27 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do think it's a bit of a joke that Apple set up this whole system for reservations for in-store appointments to see and try the thing in person... and if you fell for that, maybe you can get a watch in July. Blind orders are the only ones getting it near release date.
posted by smackfu at 11:57 AM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think that might be SOP at this point--same kind of thing happened with iPhone 6's.
posted by box at 12:26 PM on April 10, 2015


True, although to be honest, I was willing to do a blind buy for an iPhone 6.
posted by smackfu at 12:50 PM on April 10, 2015


> Blind orders are the only ones getting it near release date.

True, but if you (a) care enough to want to have it on day one and yet (b) are not enough of a "fanboy" and actually have doubts about whether it'll really be all that, Apple has no problem with you placing an order, then trying one on in person at the store, and quietly canceling your order if it doesn't work out.

They specify free shipping and free returns, so you might even get it, try it out for a day or a week, and then send it back. I'm sure they have statistical models for how many units that will happen to, all the way from a hit product, through "meh", to a total dud.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:10 PM on April 10, 2015


I think this is the beginning of the dissolution of the smartphone. And I'm a fan. I'm not sure if I'll be an early adopter or wait for the second gen. But this is a great next step in technology.

I've got my ipad mini, which is perfect for just tooling around. I read comics on my commute. It's better for gaming, internet surfing, texting (thanks, iMessage!). When I really want a screen, that's what I reach for.

My iPhone is great when I don't have wifi. But now it's just a back-up connection/screen. I recently even got a bluetooth dongle for my headphones so I don't have to carry my big phone in my pocket to listen to music.

I really just need a portable hub for my tablet that can connect to 3g. Something to make calls from. Something that controls music. Checks notifications. Changes the show on my apple-tv, or controls any other home automation. The watch lets the phone get bigger. My aging eyes rejoice!
posted by politikitty at 1:19 PM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think we're going to see the smartphone form factor disappear, but I do think the smaller watch form-factor may be enough for many people in most situations. In fact, I would be surprised if it just stays watches. Pendants, broaches and other small adornments are all possible too. When people want something bigger, I think the paper-backed sized tablets are going to find a definite place as a happy medium, big enough to use comfortably for reading or watching a video, and have a decent battery life, while small enough to be easy to hold and still slip easily into a bag.

Some are always going to want an intermediate device to fit into a pants pocket. A generation of 20 somethings has grown up with this tech now. We'll likely have 5x2.5 inch slabs for a long time to come. I'm not convinced however that they're in a majority, long term.
posted by bonehead at 1:51 PM on April 10, 2015


I don't think you guys have thought about what it's actually like to wear a bright, glowing screen that is flashing at you at all times.

To be clear, i'm not saying the screen should be on brightly continiously, just dimly showing the time. And just showing a watch face.

It shouldn't light up for every notification, but it shouldn't just be blank if it's doing nothing.

There's a lot of middle ground between "super bright lit up display all the time" and "off". And i think off is crappy.
posted by emptythought at 2:41 PM on April 10, 2015


I don't think you guys have thought about what it's actually like to wear a bright, glowing screen that is flashing at you at all times.

I have an Android Wear watch I gave up on. I know exactly what it's like.

And it's not the flashing, it's the vibrating. Well, it only vibrates when you have a new unread message which happens about 2 minutes after I read my email and then does nothing as the next million unread messages roll in.
posted by GuyZero at 3:38 PM on April 10, 2015


Hi! I just fucked around with an Apple Watch for the sake of the Internet!

(HA no that's a lie, I fucked around with an Apple Watch for the sake of ME JUST ME ONLY ME. But I'm talkative enough so it all works out.)

First things first: the coolest thing you can try out in the Apple Store today is the new MacBook trackpad, forget the dumb ole Apple Watch. The fact that it feels like you're clicking down even when you're not? AWESOME. The part where you can click down TWICE? MEGA-AWESOME. The part where you hover over a fast-forward button and two normal clicks turn into five shallow clicks, which somehow made me feel more like I was a Secret Agent using Secret Agent Technology than literally anything else has in the history of ever? I'm fast-forwarding everything now for the rest of my life.

Seriously, the Apple Watch feels like a very pleasant present; the MacBook feels like the crazy distant future. I can't wait to see this pop up in phones and tablets, because seriously, non-shitty touch feedback has an insane amount of potential, particularly if it's as nuanced as this. This is a legitimate step forward for digital technology, and I am excited as a consumer and a designer to see how this shit can be manipulated.

THAT SAID. The actual future very rarely feels like the future; "not flashy" is usually a sign that something might be legitimately groundbreaking. The iPad got buttloads of criticism for being basically a boring-ass mega-sized iPhone, but it's my favorite piece of technology to do anything on; most of Apple's best product features are the utterly dull ones, which (when you think about it) is just how things should be. So I'm pretty damn happy with the boringness of the Watch, especially since it's a boringness rooted in some pretty fucking awesome things.

— Holy shit it is thin. And tiny. And tiny and thin. The tech photographs of this don't do it justice; I'm seeing some pictures floating around of it being work on out-of-focus wrists, where the Apple Watch itself still looks immaculately crisp. That's basically how it came across, in person. It is a very attractive watch, far subtler than the pictures would make it seem, and the build quality puts other Apple products to shame.

— That screen is goddamn gorgeous. The tinyness of it just emphasizes how good Apple's screens are; between the Retina-ness of it all and the custom font that Apple designed for it, which is really good at rendering tiny-ass letters, the screen looks fine, in the sense of its having a level of subtle detail about it that's pretty rare among tech products. I'll be curious to see what iOS 10 does with this (and I'm hoping iOS 9 calms the fuck down and focuses on speed and reliability, in the meantime).

— The Digital Crown gives almost instantly as you twist it. You can sort of glide your finger along it, as if it was a touchscreen, and it moves as quickly as your finger moves. The Watch has a lot of teeny animations that benefit from just how minute its adjustments are, and those feel fairly delightful!

— Force Touches feel way less impressive on a watch that's mounted on a display and not on your wrist than they feel on a trackpad that's designed to be used exactly the way you're using it. Go figure!

— None of the apps felt remotely interesting to stare at, even the fanciest of watch-faces (the Astronomy face's ability to show you the orbit of the planets is... okay, I'll fiddle with that for a few minutes once I get me one of these, but even that'll make me feel self-conscious of what a dweeble I am). For me, that's a good sign.

— The "middle button", AKA the "contacts" button, doesn't feel interesting when you're not using it to actively message people. I'm also disappointed that you apparently can't just auto-message people, and that it instead sends them a message that they have to open to "receive" your taps and doodles and heartbeats. But I trust that Apple either knows what they're doing, or else will figure it out in a coupla years.

The takeaway I got was, this thing has been intensely Thought About, it's got some great design to it, it's impressively pretty, and its apps are thoroughly uninteresting when you fiddle with them at a store. Which is another sign, to me, that Apple knows what it's trying to do here, and that it's designing a device here that's meant to be passively rather than actively interacted with.

I want this thing to track my fitness, guide me around when I'm walking, maybe occasionally let me take lazy phone calls, give me Dark Sky access, and generally do a bunch of other things that equate to "making activities in my life slightly more awesome", while simultaneously letting me disconnect from the tech world even more. Because, here's the thing. I love technology. I love you all too. Y'all are pretty great. But real life, it's excellent as well, and learning to juggle between staring at a screen and staring at the rest of reality gets easier and easier the more subtly and efficiently I can get myself into and out of technology.

The complaints about notifications, to me, are a suggestion that Apple Watch is working as intended. Notifications are symptoms of one of the worst things about modern technology, which is the passive way in which people allow themselves to get absorbed in a battery of distractions. Myself included, of course; I've spent the last year and a half slowly burning away all my various computer usages, refining them, making them more worth a damn and less of a waste. Less random browsing (at this point, almost no random browsing), less social media, less passive consumption of useless shit... I now work 8-9 hours in front of a screen, yet despite that, I'm less involved with my computer than I've been in years. This, to me, feels like another "one step back, three steps forward" device — potentially abusable, but far more potentially able to reduce the clutter and noise in my life down to a point of near-silence. I look forward to keeping my watch notifications utterly muted, to using message notifications as an excuse to ignore messages, and to generally looking out for ways I can make my battery of computers less used than ever.

I should probably write an actual essay about this, so I'll cut this off now rather than ramble on for another buncha thousand words looking for a point. But I like this thing, and I'm still gonna pre-order one, even though no first-gen Apple product has ever quite been worth its cost. (That's true of the MacBook as well, and boy oh boy am I tempted to grab one anyway, even though this is the stupidest impulse I've maybe ever had.)
posted by rorgy at 6:11 PM on April 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oh, and the more I think about it the more I realize why the Digital Crown is getting touted as much as it is. The Watch is, like, REALLY fuckin' small. Sometimes it puts two buttons next to each other, and each one is barely large enough to use (and that's the 42mm one, too). So it makes sense that you want an interactive mechanism that requires no focus, no finesse, and is flexible enough to either zoom in on things or scroll, based on what an application needs. It also makes sense that Apple's focused so much on swipe-from-the-side interactions recently, and that it added Force Touch to basically turn the entire display into a single menu-activating button. There's some genius UX going on here, and for all that reviewers are calling it overcomplicated, I think that the really remarkable thing here is how many individually-simple gestures can be performed on such a miniature device. That the Watch has enough going on for it to be called "too complex" is pretty amazing to me.
posted by rorgy at 6:15 PM on April 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


My killer review of the Apple Watch by Patrick Bateman
I focus on the black leather, the 18-carat yellow gold, the way it looks on my tanned wrist. I appreciate that it is wipe clean. I ask Siri to dictate a message: Paul Allen is out of town for a few days. Siri, I say, play Sussudio.
posted by Nelson at 10:50 AM on April 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Holy shit it is thin.

Eh? It's more than a centimetre thick. That's gigantic for a watch (good luck wearing sleeves), and on the thicker end of the spectrum for a smartwatch.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:06 AM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's gigantic for a watch (good luck wearing sleeves)

As has already been said, this is anti-factual FUD. The Apple Watch's case thickness (10.6mm or 12.6ish mm if you count the sensor protrusion on the back) is absolutely in the middle of ordinary watches. Look at the thickness of some Rolexes, or here's a forum thread for more information on typical case thicknesses from the watch-nerd world.
posted by RogerB at 12:58 PM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Those Rolexes are also gigantic, as are most self-winding watches (which is what that thread is about). A centimetre is a centimetre, and 10.5mm is bigger than one. That's a fucking thick watch. Most watches -- the kind of watch everybody but watch nerds and rich assholes wear -- is easily less than half as thick.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:27 PM on April 12, 2015


(What's more, the thickness of the face is further emphasised by the thinness of the strap. It looks terrible, IMO.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:30 PM on April 12, 2015


John Gruber's review is a rather careful and nuanced take,

With the exception of the little teenager vignette -- that was painful to read. Really painful. I got the sense that while Gruber believes the AppleWatch has a future, he didn't actually believe what he wrote there.
posted by smidgen at 1:49 PM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: everybody but watch nerds and rich assholes.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:55 PM on April 12, 2015


the kind of watch everybody but watch nerds and rich assholes wear…is easily less than half as thick.

So, I started clicking around cheap quartz and digital watches looking for ones that list a case thickness, which most don't: $23 Walmart Casio digital, 11mm. $35 Timex, 10mm. $30 Timex, 10mm. $28 Timex Weekender, 10mm. $30 Timex Camper, 8mm, thinnest one I could find. These are the kind of watches that the people I know who don't give a shit about fancy watches wear. What are these 5mm-thin plebeian watches that you're seeing everywhere?
posted by RogerB at 5:06 PM on April 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: " A centimetre is a centimetre, and 10.5mm is bigger than one. That's a fucking thick watch. Most watches -- the kind of watch everybody but watch nerds and rich assholes wear -- is easily less than half as thick."

RogerB: "So, I started clicking around cheap quartz and digital watches looking for ones that list a case thickness, which most don't...11mm...10mm...10mm...10mm...8mm, thinnest one I could find. These are the kind of watches that the people I know who don't give a shit about fancy watches wear. "

I think we may be in that territory of "I don't do X, so most people don't do X". "I don't wear a thick watch, so most people don't wear thick watches". Seen in its most extreme form in my dad, who couldn't understand why Emirates Airline used soccer players in their commercials, because he doesn't watch soccer, and he doesn't personally know anyone else who is into soccer, so soccer viewership is almost non-existent, not just in the US but globally.

(Personally, when I do wear a watch, it's a 15mm G-shock. As far as I know, I'm no longer a nerd, and have never been a rich asshole. And given the fact that there are G-shock cases in every watch store and every department store I've ever been to, I'm assuming someone must be buying them. But I feel like I'm on the verge of making the same "I do X, so most people do X" mistake.)
posted by Bugbread at 5:19 PM on April 12, 2015


Eh? It's more than a centimetre thick. That's gigantic for a watch (good luck wearing sleeves), and on the thicker end of the spectrum for a smartwatch.

Wut.

I've been around quite a few upper middle class to wealthy watch wearing people, and almost all the men seem to wear some kind of diving-styled watch, or other chunky "manly" watch. Even hublots and stuff are about this thick.

I used to wear a nice old school, but not rolex level diving watch(vintage Bulova Accutron Snorkel). It was thicker than that. Every diving style watch from a basic Seiko 5 up to a Rolex submariner is going to be at least that thick, or so close it doesn't matter. They also LOOK chunkier with their flat sides.

The only stuff thinner is mostly quartz or very specific dressy stuff, and almost everyone who even buys a watch anymore gets an automatic because that's the thing to buy.

This isn't an "i do x, so most people do x" thing. This is a i sometimes do x, but everyone i see seems to be doing x >75% of the time. I don't think this is confirmation bias either. Any google search will bear out that most non dressy watches are around that thickness. And people only really wear dress watches with suits.

People made a big deal out of the thickness, and i DO think it will get thinner... but it's totally middle of the road for a non-dressy watch.

What it IS thick for is a womens/feminine watch. But it's also the smallest footprint smartwatch out there, so at least they're taking a swing at that one.
posted by emptythought at 6:15 PM on April 12, 2015


I went to the Apple Store this evening and tried on some watches, and all of them were much smaller than the Fossil watch I took off to try them. The units I got to try on were non functional, but they had working units embedded in displays and they are pretty slick. Still going to wSit for revision 2, but my Android-living wife was really impressed as well. It's definitely way nicer looking than any other smart watch that's on the market right now.

Also, the Sport is way nicer looking in person than it is on the web. It's not as dressy as the more expensive models but it doesn't look like junk.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:38 PM on April 12, 2015


Just a reminder: The claim was that the watch is "holy shit" thin, which it plainly isn't. A watch over 10mm thick is a thick watch. Maybe thick watches are in now; that's not really relevant to the actual thickness of this watch. It is towards the top end of wristwatch thicknesses, even when you're cherry-picking the super thick ones to be all nuh-uh. That is not "anti-factual FUD" -- it's objectively true.

But, hey, if you really want to buy the hype for a poorly-designed status symbol of zero uses, by all means, have at it.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:21 PM on April 12, 2015


[Let me gently suggest that maybe if you're getting to the point of insulting people over the relative thickness of a watch, it might be time to take a bit of a breather?]
posted by taz (staff) at 11:07 PM on April 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Sys Rq: "The claim was that the watch is "holy shit" thin, which it plainly isn't."

Yes, and the counterclaim was "That's gigantic for a watch". My guess is...it's perhaps average or slightly thicker than average. Neither thin, nor gigantic. But that's just a guess.

Sys Rq: "But, hey, if you really want to buy the hype for a poorly-designed status symbol of zero uses, by all means, have at it."

I'm not sure how you jumped from "he says it's not gigantic" to "he wants to buy this watch".

Sys Rq: "It is towards the top end of wristwatch thicknesses, even when you're cherry-picking the super thick ones to be all nuh-uh. That is not "anti-factual FUD" -- it's objectively true."

Yeah, on both sides, here's the problem: the only two ways I can think of settling this are to get data from every watch maker on sales of every model of watch, and figure out the mean and median thicknesses, or to use a good random sampling method to find out the mean and median thicknesses. That, or find a study which has already done that. Until then, it's just people playing with numbers and calling it objective ("The average Timex watch is 11mm!", "Yeah, but the thicker models sell less than the thinner models, so the average thickness of Timex watches across the population is 9mm!", "Yeah, but Timex has less of a market share than Rolex, whose average is 12mm!", "Yeah, but that's because Rolexes are more expensive, so while sales figures are high, in terms of actual number of watches, there are more Timexes", etc. ad infinitum).
posted by Bugbread at 11:40 PM on April 12, 2015


So, I started clicking around cheap quartz and digital watches looking for ones that list a case thickness, which most don't: $23 Walmart Casio digital, 11mm. $35 Timex, 10mm. $30 Timex, 10mm. $28 Timex Weekender, 10mm. $30 Timex Camper, 8mm, thinnest one I could find. These are the kind of watches that the people I know who don't give a shit about fancy watches wear. What are these 5mm-thin plebeian watches that you're seeing everywhere?

Yeah, an Apple Watch is no bigger than the majority of retail watches available to the public. Saying their watch is gigantic is a bit silly when one looks at the numbers.

Bigger than a few specialized models, of course, but not the majority. I used to wear a Movado Museum watch. Not plebian, certainly — but not luxury, either. I wore the woman's model, more specifically, because I have bird wrists and needed a thin case, which ran about 6.5mm. I don't know that many people buy Movado watches.

Swatch makes one thinner, about 4 mm, but it is a specialized, non-plebian design. A lot of plebian Swatches are around 9mm — just short of the 10mm Apple Watch. I do know that they sell a lot of watches compared with Movado.

Apple's designers are smart people and more than certainly looked at the specs and decided what the median parameters were for the majority of purchases, to figure out what case diameter and thinness appealed to the majority of watch buyers, and Apple designers built their Watch to get close to those specifications while juggling technical requirements, like battery life and screen thickness.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:47 PM on April 12, 2015




That reminds me! When I read Patel's review I was prepared for the Milanese band to be stupid looking, but I think it's probably the nicest looking of the bands. It's really gorgeous.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:43 AM on April 13, 2015


Patel is now throwing a hissy fit about the deadspin article on his twitter. Meanwhile "GWAR's webmaster" is hilarious and perfect and I will laugh about it all day, thank you Sam Biddle.
posted by Kwine at 9:01 AM on April 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Watches are weird. I think people don't understand how thick they are; ironically, this might be in large part because they've been replaced by phones that are thinner than watches ever really were.

On the one hand: my iPhone 5 is 7.6mm thick. A watch that's 5mm thicker than that – well, relatively speaking, that seems pretty thick to me!

On the other hand: yeesh, it's been years since I wore a watch, and looking at my old ones in the drawer, wow, they really are mostly around a centimeter thick. That's apparently not weird at all. How did we ever walk around with these things on our wrists? It's weird for me to contemplate.

In general, I can totally see how 12.6mm seems pretty thick. My guess is that that has less to do with the average thickness of watches and more to do with our general ideas about the thickness of devices, which have ironically been set largely by Apple iThings that have gotten progressively thinner. I mean, iPhones were originally 11.6mm thick; at this point, if you look at one compared to my iPhone 5 (or even my iPad) they're ridiculously thick. It's really very relative.
posted by koeselitz at 9:12 AM on April 13, 2015


In fairness to Nilay Patel, the elegant Milanese Loop just doesn't go with his spiky leather daddy wristband.
posted by exogenous at 9:14 AM on April 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh wow, Patel's Twitter tantrum is kind of a great, if unintentional, validation of the psychological minefield the Watch is trying to navigate — how much investment even seemingly unfashionable (or perhaps more politely fashion-indifferent) men have in their fashion accessories. Like: "did it ever occur to anyone that i wear the thing as a studied reminder that i do not want to ever fit in or be a fucking suit"? Yes, dude, there's pretty much no other way to take that kind of peacocking besides as an adorkably desperate "I'm not really the office drone I appear to be." Next step, maybe, try to realize that all the other drones also think they're secretly nonconformists, even the ones who didn't just shave their wrists for a product video.
posted by RogerB at 9:17 AM on April 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


"I'm a grown-ass man wearing a bracelet from Hot Topic and I have opinions on fashion" is hilarious. Stick around for the Vine remix.
posted by Nelson at 9:50 AM on April 13, 2015


Honestly, Patel's meltdown is the best thing to come out of the Apple Watch announcement.

"this chinese-made 'leather' studded bracelet i bought fifteen years ago at a hot topic to show my allegiance with an anti-establishment culture that at the time was already 25-years-old and had been fully sanitized, and safely commodified for at least 20 years shows just how i stick it to the man while reviewing shiny disposable baubles made by massive international corporations"
posted by entropicamericana at 10:17 AM on April 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Honestly I could use a good comparison of the bands for folks with hairy arms. Which bands will hurt more to take on and off? There was a real missed opportunity here.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:47 AM on April 13, 2015


Yeesh! I have no problem with grown-ass men wearing spiky bracelets, and I have no problem with grown-ass men buying stuff from Hot Topic (they have some good stuff sometimes, and it's cheap). And I have no problem with grown-ass men who shop at Hot Topic saying they feel ridiculous wearing the Milanese Loop. Because "I felt ridiculous wearing the Milanese Loop" is very different from "the Milanese Loop looks ridiculous".

But then to jump from "I don't wear jewelry. i wear spiky bracelets" (perfectly cromulent) to "did it ever occur to anyone that i wear the thing as a studied reminder that i do not want to ever fit in or be a fucking suit" (I wince just reading it) is just...painful.
posted by Bugbread at 4:34 PM on April 13, 2015


Someone made an impressive "Apple II watch"
posted by exogenous at 12:32 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]




As Apple Watches start shipping, Apple has released a full Watch User Guide which explains all the capabilities in detail. There's some very clever stuff in here. For example, cover the watch with your palm to silence it immediately - that's a thoughtful affordance. A steady series of 12 taps means turn right at the intersection you’re approaching; three pairs of two taps means turn left.

(Or if you want the glossy video version, here are the Guided Tours.)

Also on the marketing front: What’s That on Beyoncé’s Wrist? (... This is a far cry from 2007, when the first Apple iPhone was released. Back then, Steve Jobs was fielding calls from all sorts of superstars like Shaquille O’Neal who sought the new device. They were all met with a resounding “no.”)
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:57 PM on April 23, 2015




A steady series of 12 taps means turn right at the intersection you’re approaching; three pairs of two taps means turn left.

Sounds really intuitive.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:55 PM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Looks like Apple is pulling a shitty one on Pebble support...

Lawsuit and free publicity for Pebble. The optics are really bad for Apple on this, expect a "clarification" walking it back soonest. (And seriously, jailbreak your phone.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:16 PM on April 23, 2015


Really? Pebble doesn't seem like they have the money for a lawsuit. I figure the end game here is Pebble goes out of business.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:56 PM on April 23, 2015


Apple has the highest profit margins, but their marketshare has, since the very beginning, been a very distant second fiddle to nimbler, leaner competitors. Google couldn't care less, so long as it somehow drives eyeballs to its advertisers. Pebble will be OK, and devote a significant chunk of its marketing budget to suing Apple, as that's publicity gold with its Android users.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:40 PM on April 23, 2015


It seems fairly clear that Apple is just saying "Your iOS hosted app cannot make mentions of Pebble, nor may the App Store description make mentions of Pebble". That doesn't seem outlandish. In fact, there are several apps which I have on my Android and my wife has on her iPhone, and when I look at the Android store description it doesn't say anything about "Also available on iPhone!", nor does the Apple app store description say anything about "Also available on Android!" It seems like something that 99% of app developers are already doing.
posted by Bugbread at 7:15 PM on April 23, 2015


Android isn't an iPhone accessory. Pebble is.
posted by smackfu at 12:23 PM on April 24, 2015


smackfu: "Android isn't an iPhone accessory. Pebble is."

Ah, I thought Pebble was an Android-based watch, so iWatch:iPhone::Pebble:Android phone. My mistake.
posted by Bugbread at 3:58 PM on April 24, 2015


No, the Pebble is also an iPhone accessory. Or at least was; if Apple is really moving to clamp down on other third party wrist displays that may be the end of Pebble being able to support the iPhone. I've got my pitchfork but I'd like to see more evidence before lighting my torch.

iFixit's Apple Watch teardown is up now. I don't think we yet know the answer to the most important question, "Will it Blend?".
posted by Nelson at 4:51 PM on April 24, 2015




Field report from mathowie.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:07 AM on April 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


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