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New Apple announcement looks interesting. Handily, the new Macbook will been in second revision about the same time I’m looking to upgrade my work MBA, I’m impressed they got a high-res display into a fanless thiner-than-air case without too much of a hit on battery life.

Less impressed with the loss of Magsafe as a feature, though the one-port expansion will make plugging in to add power, extra monitor/s and everything all at once a bit nicer. I’m curious as to whether they’ll switch to USB-C for iPhone/iPad so soon after the Lightning transition. They’d take a PR hit on forced upgrades, but seeming as tech media appear to be reacting like someone’s set fire to the sky already, it might not make a difference.

And the Watch.

The reaction to the watch has fallen into three camps. Camp one: “That’s roughly what I thought. Cool.”. Camp two: “Why the hell would I buy a watch?”. Camp three: “Apple forces everyone to buy a $10,000 gadget that will explode in exactly one year”.

Camp One: Way to keep your cool. Proud of you.

Camp Two:

I don’t have an Apple Watch. I might – it depends on several things, including budget stuff – but what I do have is an original, Kickstarter funded, wlack & white e-Paper pebble, which I’ve written about before.

I’ve been using a smart watch, then, for a couple of years. Reading that article again, I am amused, partly that I thought that the interest in Apple Watch was reaching fever-pitch then, and mostly that my issues remain mostly intact.

The thing it mostly replaces are the day to day references to my phone. Who is calling me? What was that notification? Set a timer for five minutes. What song is this? Next track, previous track, volume controls (since my current headphones don’t have them).

More recently it’s also replaced my fitbit as an activity and sleep tracker.

There are pluses and minuses. The ability to see my notifications without looking at my phone has made me more likely to see and react to notifications, which is good and bad. The looking at my wrist makes people think I’m in a hurry or too busy to talk to them (or being desperately rude), and it’s not done by inability to disconnect many favours. On the other hand, the ability to see my current GPS route on my watch has been great, and Runkeeper’s status output to it has been handy too.

The being able to see who’s phoning is great, and access to SMS messages on the go – even without the ability to reply, on the Pebble – has been handy too.

Those are the Smartwatch features, generally, and they’re the things I expect to carry over from the Pebble to the Apple Watch.

It’s not been a life-changer, but as someone who tends to wear watches anyway (I never liked pulling out my phone to check the time), but I don’t regret my purchase.

On a more specific comparison, the battery in the Pebble lasts about six days, depending on the animatedness of the watchface you’re using. The battery on an Apple Watch is predicted at 18 hours, which means daily charge. Daily charge would be irritating, I think, but in a world where I have to do that with my phone anyway, not life-defining.

The first thing the Pebble misses that the Apple Watch provides is two way communication. In general, save acknowledging notifications and music state changes, pebble communication on iPhone is one way. This is mostly Apple’s fault, rather than Pebble’s. The Android support allows for more advanced notification responses, but iOS doesn’t have the hooks for that kind of response over bluetooth, at least not yet. It’s possible that with initiatives like carplay, and the Watch itself, that work over bluetooth, new capabilities may emerge, but holding your breath waiting for Apple to open up that kind of integration isn’t a life-saving mechanic.

The other thing is… and this is where I move from mostly-detached analysis to Apple eco-system member… design and whole-ness. The Apple Watch is still a bit chunky for a fashion item, but it’s ahead of the rest of the smart watch market by quite a way. The magnetic charger and basic design are directly comparable to the same things for the Pebble Steel, but have an elegance that is the difference between Apple’s design aesthetic and that of others. Pebble’s done a fantasic job, but against a company who hold both sides of the development API, and can dictate their will at every stage of the supply chain (They formulated a custom metal alloy for the bands, for starters. I didn’t expect to see metalurgy porn in an Apple presentation), they’re going to pale slightly.

That said, I’ve tried the Samsung Gears, and I’ve seen the Motrola and Sony attempts, and if I was a part of the Android Ecosystem to any personal degree, I wouldn’t hesitate to keep upgrading my Pebble.

Camp Three:

Don’t buy an apple watch.

It’s the same insides at £299 as it is at £12,000. I know one person in the universe who might buy an Edition, and I expect him not to at least until version two.

There was a similar thing around the time of the Cereal Cafe opening on Brick Lane, where you could buy cereal for £3/bowl, when you can buy two packets of cereal for that!!! This the other end of the street where you can pay £25 for a fuck-awful curry which you could pick the ingredients up for in the shop down the road for around£5.

It’s very nearly the same as the Daily Mail whining about people who save up their low incomes to buy a nice new TV.

Buy things you like, if if you don’t: Don’t buy an apple watch.

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