Not the end of the Swiss economy

Here we go again.  It’s time for another woefully inaccurate assessment of a new Apple product.  Bear in mind that I’m not very good at this – some of my past gems included:

  • PowerPC (Not as good as 68000)
  • iPod (Not as good as my MiniDisc player)
  • Mac Mini (Just a poor clone of the Cappuccino PC)
  • Mac Intel (It’ll be a disaster – the end of the Mac is nigh)
  • iPad (Just a scaled up iPod Touch)

…I did like Newton though, and look how that turned out. I still like the concept of the Newton but, in my experience, the execution was uniformly rubbish.  As to the Apple products that I didn’t like, that worried me so much, I bought (or was given, in the case of the iPad) every one – and I found every one to be excellent.  In fact, my first iPod ranks as being one of the best purchases that I ever made.

Taking all of this into consideration, my verdict on the Apple Watch is… “Meh.  Really?”  Of course, much can change between now and its release date in 2015, but much is going to have to.  Not least battery life which I guess, since it wasn’t mentioned at all, will be risible.

Battery life is the number one issue that could damn this product.  I guess that for most people the battery life will need to be a genuine, worst-case, life of 18 hours – enough to cover the hours of the day when the user is awake.  For me, even this isn’t enough.  My current watch, a Seiko 7T62 Chronograph, has a battery life measured in years – and it’s always on.  I don’t have to touch it to see what time it is, I only have to look at it.  My spare watch, a Seiko 5, goes one better – I only need to wave it around to recharge it.  I can almost hear the whines of anguish here, that I’m not comparing like with like, but I don’t care – for me the primary function of a watch, the killer app, is to tell the time.  At a pinch I could accept a battery life measured in weeks, but any less would be unacceptable.  It’s bad enough that I need to charge my iPhone every night and my iPad twice a week!

Next up, the Apple Watch had better be water proof.  I love swimming, and I dive when I get the opportunity.  My Seiko Chronograph isn’t a divers watch, but its rated to 100M and I’ve had it down to 30 meters or so without difficulty.  It’s certainly tough enough for swimming, showering and washing up.  If the Apple Watch can’t survive a spot of washing up or a dip in the pool without voiding the warranty then it’s as much use as a chocolate fireguard.  I don’t think that anyone can dispute that.

As for its utility as a smart watch, I think that Apple itself killed that function three years ago when it introduced Siri.  For playing music, getting directions, finding out about the weather, texting and more besides, I’ll bet that the iPhone (with Siri) does the job more effectively.  Fiddle with the crown of the watch or tap a button on the headphone cord and ask a question?  “Siri, consign the Apple Watch (along with the iPhone 6 Plus) to the drawer of history where the Newton and Apple Hifi are kept.”

As to the new iPhone? I’ll be ordering one as soon as I can get one without queuing.

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