The Ever Present Apple Watch

Ethan Gach

I write about comics, video games and American politics. I fear death above all things. Just below that is waking up in the morning to go to work. You can follow me on Twitter at @ethangach or at my blog, And though my opinions aren’t for hire, my virtue is.

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43 Responses

  1. Will Truman says:

    Watches tell me the time in under two seconds. With a smartphone, even using a holster, it’s 4.5 seconds.


    • Crprod in reply to Will Truman says:

      When I’m cooking, I sometimes use recipes that involve several steps of less than a minute. It’s much easier to deal with these using a wrist watch than any other kind of timing device.
      My father, a WWII veteran born in 1906, always used a pocket watch. He also learned to drive in a Model T. Therefore all our cars had to be black with a stick shift, and he drove them like a two speed Model T, getting rolling in first gear and immediately shifting into third gear.Report

  2. j r says:

    I have a question.

    Apple released a smart watch. I suppose that’s news. At the same time Samsung, LG and Sony already have smart watches. Why does the tech press collectively pretend that something isn’t really out until Apple releases it?

    I sort of get the legacy that Apple has in this area. They invented the iPod, which was enough unlike anything already on the market that it could truly be called new. Apple was also the first company to release a smart phone, so I get that as well. At this point in time, though, if Apple is releasing some product or feature, there’s a good chance that feature has been available for some time from an Android phone. The iPhone 6 is the perfect example of this.

    I also get the social cache that people seem fond of attaching to Apple products. What I don’t get is how willing and able the tech press is to be spun in this manner. What gives?Report

    • Will Truman in reply to j r says:

      Apple was also the first company to release a smart phone

      Ahhh, but they weren’t! I would actually say that there was less difference between pre-iPhone smartphones and the iPhone than there was between the iPod and its predecessors. Both represented changes in the trajectory of their respective areas, though.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Will Truman says:

        There’s certainly an Apple dynamic at play. I remember when the first iPhone came out because almost over night, every exec at my Silcon Valley Software company had one… even though (at the time) it was nearly impossible to connect to exchange servers for email – and we were a dedicated blackberry company – so they carried two phones. For a while. Then you could tell who had juice by the fact that *their* phone synched with the email app (i.e. they got someone to make it work for them). Eventually IT was forced to make iPhone’s work with email… Android? Nope.

        Same with the iPad… one conference every exec was using it to take notes and run their business; next conference, none of them were. The distinction I make is that the iPhone and peers have become ubiquitous and essential… iPads, niche – morphing more into personal media consumption devices more than anything else.

        I suspect the iWatch will become something other than whatever we think it will be now, whether that something “sticks” I’m not sure yet.

        I haven’t done a systematic survey, but at my company the doers skew heavily Android, while Execs (and, worse, wannabe’s) skew heavily Apple. And what’s weird is that this goes across all department types.Report

  3. Damon says:

    On my 21st birthday, my Dad bought me a dive watch. A simple watch that could take 300 meters of underwater pressure. This was before the dials and gauges on diving equipment went digital. I’ve had the watch for a long time and still wear it. Two new bands, numerous batteries, and one refit. I wear it every day unless I’m getting dressed up. Then I wear something nicer.

    It does one thing exceedingly well. It needs do nothing more. You know what will excite me? There was a sci fi book I read many years ago where folks were attending a conference and everyone’s “personal secretary” that they carried on their clothes, like the star trek communicator, recorded the entire meeting, who attended, and spoke without the user having to do anything but speaking one command word. Full video and audio, wireless, with full recall and playback.

    Call me when the Apple watch can do stuff like that.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    I think I can demur on getting an iWatch. The iPhone was the first techie device that I thought I just needed to have for some reason. It just felt so much cooler than a regular cell-phone. For watches, I like them more on the jewelry side than the utilitarian side. I’m especially fond of watches with metalic rather than leather bands. The electronic needs of the iWatch probably means you can’t create something jewelry enough for me.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

      The $10,000 version is made of gold!Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Will Truman says:

        The watch case (not the band) is a total of 69 grams. Even if every single component was gold, that’s 2.4 oz of 18k gold worth $2,000. Let’s add a merchant uplift of 50% on the gold then tack on the “Apple” portion of the value (the price of a non-gold watch). and you have a $3,550 watch… we’ll call it $4,000 for the special workmanship and upgraded(?) band (remembering that there’s probably not even 1 oz of gold in the weight).

        Fascinating how luxury goods are priced. Clearly the price is pure signalling… designed to cost more than a Rolex and all the other “working man’s” luxury watches. The curious thing is that the super luxury watches trade on a certain mystique of craftmanship and one-off design and fabrication. This watch is just a mass-market Foxconn mash-up in a box with a splashing of gold. At $10k it doesn’t signal wealth and power, it signals I’m bad at math and ROI and shouldn’t be on your board.

        I’m keeping my eye open for the Luxury backlash… among Those-that-matter will this pass muster, or will it be seen as a career ending stupid purchase.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

        Ah, worse than that. Some of Apple’s new patents involve how they made the 18k gold.

        See, calling something 18k gold means it’s 75% gold by mass. Now, for any two volumes the actual amount of “gold” varies according to the specific alloys used.

        Apple patented a technique involving ceramics. High volume, low-mass ceramics. Which means that the 18kt gold in the Apple watch contains less actual gold than the same volume using a more traditional alloy.

        Of course, they’re selling it as lighter and less prone to damage (the first is true by default, the second is probably true) but using less gold is a nice bonus.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Will Truman says:

        Interesting, I didn’t know that. Can the ceramics be separated from the gold ala plain melt-down metalurgy?Report

      • morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

        Got no idea. Part of the back of my brain is insisting it’ll do weird things if you just try to melt it out to recover 24kt gold (pure), but I can’t imagine what.

        At best, it’s probably slightly more work.

        I doubt it was a money saving thing, as ceramics probably do fun things to the properties of it — I think some jewelers use ceramic alloys like that to do fun things with colors.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman says:

        Dumb high-tech gadgets that double as bling
        There are a few of my favorite things

  5. Will Truman says:

    I actually intend to get a smarter watch than I have now. At some point. By the unassailable logic outlined in my opening comment, I am going to have a watch on my wrist. And if I am going to have a watch on my wrist, I might as well have one that can do more things rather than fewer.

    I am thinking of getting a Pebble, though, because one of the things I want the watch to be able to do is last more than a day without needing a recharge.Report

  6. Chris says:

    What I want is the calculator watch that I had in 3rd grade. I never needed it as a calculator (and teachers actually made us — and since this was the 80s, and those things were both inexpensive and popular, there were a lot of us — take them off during math tests), but man was it awesome in an almost absurdly geeky way.

    I hear swatches are back, too.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

      @chris Do you remember the TI-8x calculators? Those were the pre-PDA’s, which were the pre-smartphones.Report

      • Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        Do I ever. We had to have one in high school calculus, but spent more time making drawings and such.Report

      • ScarletNumber in reply to Will Truman says:

        The TI-84 Plus is still ubiquitous in schools.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yes, my kids both needed one in high school.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Will Truman says:

        That has to be one of the greatest triumphs of marketing and captive customer bases in tech history. A POS calculator with a processor/memory package that can’t possibly exceed $10 and hilarious LCD that would get you laughed at on any other product still commands a premium price that approaches tablets with literally hundreds of times the computing power and capabilities.

        I’m in my 30s and I still see the same basic thing I used in my high school math classes for sale at the same inflation adjusted prices. They’ve barely changed more than the plastic case in a generation.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman says:

        The WaPo agrees and estimates the total manufacturing cost at less than $20, while it sells for almost $100. They attribute its omnipresence to schools having standardized on it, with textbooks actually specifying TI-84 key sequences.

        I’m wondering whether TI would have any recourse against a smartphone app that emulates it.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        I doubt a smartphone app that emulates it would put much of a dent in sales. Teachers aren’t going to let students use cell phones on tests because they have Internet access.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman says:


  7. Jim Heffman says:

    It *is* funny how consumer demand for “smartphones that do more stuff” has led to smartphones being so big and clumsy that a tiny-screen device is seen as a viable product.

    What’s probably going to happen is that people will start saying “why doesn’t my smartwatch do (thing)”, and (thing) requires juuuuuust a bit more display space and size, and the smartwatch starts getting bigger, and eventually we have smart-fob; a tiny-screen totem object that you carry in your pocket, or clip to your lapel or your belt, etc.

    And so on.Report

  8. Saul Degraw says:

    I like the way watches look. And I would miss the weight on my wrist.Report

  9. zic says:

    The day before this came out, I got a new pro. I’m using it right now, and I really, really like it.

    And I don’t particularly care if they make some bling, or if people want to use it. And so long as there’s some recognition that people need good cheap solutions, too. Even there, it’s not does any specific company provides them, however, it’s if some companies provide them. But there’s nothing wrong with bling, particularly if it’s well made and comfortable. But ya’ll know I think a lot of the crap sold to people is theft, and the manufacturers relied too much on ISO9000 efficiencies and not enough on quality control standards.

    So I guess it’s the quality of the bling; does it justify its price by its performance? I certainly think this computer does. And I don’t really get the notion of making people feel bad about buying things; it means they’ve got money, they can afford to, it stimulates the economy. And there’s all different measures of tacky, mine include red lipstick (except for special occasions) and yoga pants. I think they’re tacky, and I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them.

    But I like nice watches. They’re works of art.Report

  10. aaron david says:

    I wear a wind up watch. Hamilton Military from the early ’80’s, the last military wind up. If I am getting dressed up, I will wear my ’20’s Illinois, gold with pigskin band. I prefer windups for all the same reasons that I like hardback books and stick shifts. They are correct.

    I absolutely refuse to have any apple product unless I am issued it by my employer. Because while the build quality is generally superior, the operations system is god awful useless. Then again, if left to my own devices, I wouldn’t carry a cell phone.Report

  11. LWA says:

    I used to have a Blackberry, until I got tired of paying for Internet service I didn’t really need.

    I discovered that when you go to the Verizon store and tell them you want to downgrade to an older simpler model, they call the manager, who seemed for a while to be on the verge of calling security .

    I may be on some no fly list somewhere, under “Suspicion of Neo-Luddism”.Report

  12. Rufus F. says:

    I wear a wristwatch that I got for my graduation from college that has the school crest on it, although it’s fairly hard to tell. I wasn’t wearing it for a while because I have a cell phone and can check the time on that, but I realized that, if you check the time on your phone, people will think you’re looking at your messages and ignoring them, so I went back to the wristwatch. I’m thinking about getting rid of the phone altogether, so I guess I’m going in the direction away from the apple watch.Report

  13. Damon says:

    I used to discount all the criticism of lot of apple users as just fanbois. They do make pretty good stuff and the design IS nice, but this thing….ugh. I’d have to reconsider my dismissal of all that criticism. They may have been correct.Report

  14. Will H. says:

    I think I’m going to wait for the SmartSundial to come out.
    I’m interested in how many LEDs it will have.Report