Some People Never Learn

Bet you thought I was going to talk about the Apple Watch.

You’re almost right. Apple didn’t really say anything new yesterday. OK, so now we know when we can buy the watch (preorders start today, actual orders and in-store purchases start in two weeks). We also know how much it’ll cost (anywhere from $350* to well over $10,000, depending on model and features). Everything else was revealed at last September’s “event” or has been discussed ad nauseum since then.

* OK, OK, $349. You can use the extra dollar to feed the parking meter while you stand on line outside the Apple Store on the twenty-fourth.

I’m still less than fully-whelmed. I’m sticking with my Christmas Kidizoom watch–thanks, Erin!–until I see a feature that will benefit me, rather than just Apple’s bottom line. That shouldn’t take more than three or four iterations of the Apple Watch. By which time, I’ll have charged my Kidizoom less than fifty times–have fun tethering yourselves to yet another charger, oh lovers of all things Apple. Yes, I’m getting more than two months per charge. The Apple Watch is expected to get eighteen hours–in a device that’s intended to monitor your health.

What I did find interesting about Apple’s “Spring Ahead” event was how tone-deaf they are. Their customers have been complaining for years about having to delete their own data to make room on their devices for iOS upgrades. So what did Apple do with yesterday’s iOS 8.2 update? They included an Apple Watch app which is installed on every iPhone that takes the upgrade. Wait, it gets better: like other critical Apple-installed apps (Game Center, iBooks, and Clock, for example) the app cannot be uninstalled. Didn’t Apple learn anything from last year’s U2 fiasco? Even better, if you don’t have an Apple Watch, the app will display an advertisement.

Oh, well. At least the Apple Watch app doesn’t get installed on iPads and iPods. Mind you, there’s no reason why it should be on those devices, since the Apple Watch only works with iPhones. But this is Apple, after all. If they can put an non-deletable advertisement on the phones, why shouldn’t they put it on other devices as well. After all, if you’ve got an iPad, you really ought to have an iPhone too, right? And as long as you’re picking up that must-have iPhone 6 Plus, you can pick up a gotta-have-it watch as well…

More tone-deafness: Apple finally realized that the $99 price tag on their Apple TV device wasn’t competing well against the $50 Roku, $39 Amazon Fire TV, and $35 Chromecast. So they drastically reduced the price: effective immediately, you can pick up an Apple TV for only $69. Yes, Apple has always cost more, justifying it with claims of “It just works” and “It’s aesthetically awesome”. Unfortunately, their competition also “just works”, and aesthetics are a personal matter. At this point, Apple TV’s only real distinguishing feature is the ability to be a receiver for AirPlay. Is that really worth a 40% price premium to the average consumer?

4 thoughts on “Some People Never Learn

  1. So, I’m confused, a frequent condition in these confusing times, but this time it’s about the supposed demise of wristwatches that I keep hearing about. People on Facebook keep saying, with a “hipper than thou” attitude, that “no one needs a wristwatch anymore”, because we all carry our smart thingies. I haven’t found this to be true, but supposing it is believed by a certain portion of our population, doesn’t this suggest that even a smart watch is going to be a step backwards, hipster-wise? I mean, wouldn’t it have made more sense for Apple to put the works in a pocket watch, to be worn with a fob, tucked in the pocket of our weskit? That would have been a huge hit with the steampunk crowd, and I won’t be surprised it somebody does it as an aftermarket adaptation.

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    • I think we’re seeing the dawning realization that pulling your phone out of your pocket just to check the time is a pain in the ass. Especially if you’re sitting down.

      Then your hipster figures, “Well, as long as I’m holding my phone, I might as well tweet that I just checked the time.” Then he discovers there’s no signal, so he goes a block out of his way, finally gets his tweet to go out, then has to send a follow-up tweet “Oops. Took so long to send that I’m late for a meeting.”

      So by reinventing the watch, we can avoid that tedious pocket business without sacrificing the whole “missing the meeting” part.

      I’m sure the conversion kits are already sitting in warehouses, waiting for the 24th.

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      • Of course, the question is, wouldn’t doing a steampunk conversion violate the warranty? I’m sure it would- not that that would stop the truly dedicated seekers after the coolest of the cool.

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      • I imagine it would depend how you implemented it. If you have to remove the watch shell, I’m sure it would violate the warranty, but what about a pocket watch shell that snaps around an intact Apple Watch? That ought to be safe.

        Hmm. Classic pocket watch would have the stem at the top. Watch is designed for stem on right or stem on left. I wonder how it would handle a 90 degree rotation.

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