Tag: smartwatch

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I Don’t Miss Apple Watch

This evening, I turned on Apple Watch Series 5 for the purpose of making the Featured Image—captured using Leica Q2 Monochrom. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 800, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 6:22 p.m. PDT. I hadn’t touched the gadget since putting it in a drawer after taking it off for the last time, on May 31, 2021. The next day, I returned to wearing a mechanical watch—mainly the Luminox Automatic Sport Timer 0921.

I thought that perhaps I might miss the thing, but three months later not the least. Putting aside Apple Watch is a liberating experience. The device constantly distracts, which disrupts short-term memory. Still relevant enough, 11 years later, my missive “Internet Attention Deficit Disorder” is worth a look, on the topic of distraction. Even better, consider book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Just my luck: I bought a digital edition in June 2010; the book was revised last year; and a free update isn’t available.

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The Last Days of Apple Watch

Today I put aside the Apple Watch Series 5 (cellular) purchased in September 2019. I long considered taking such action but hesitated, knowing that if (or when) wearing stopped there would be an unrecoverable break in the activity tracked and logged in the Fitness app. Criminally egotistical as it may be, I relished the consistent achievement of my exercise, calorie, and movement goals. That’s the problem: the smartwatch provided little other meaningful benefits, and I long ago adopted a daily routine that needed no tracking to maintain.

I realized that the wrist computer had come to give me a little dopamine kick—or something like it—that obsessed Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok users get from checking their posts for comments, likes, and other reactions. A glance would reveal my pulse, which typically is in the low fifties when I’m not active; that made me feel good. Then there was Pavlovian-like preoccupation with starting (and ending) activities like walking in the Fitness app. What’s the outside air temperature? Twist the wrist. Who sent that text message? Twist again. “What are my active calories?” Twist and tap.

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Montblanc Summit 2

The complications of aging suck. On Nov. 2, 2018, my new Google Pixel 3 XL slipped from my fingers as I pulled it from my shorts pocket and fell face down on the sidewalk. The screen shattered in a splay of ugly cracks, and for the first time in 21 years as a cellular device user, I dropped and damaged a phone. That day, because of unexpected, but necessary, number of family texts and busy work-related emails, I pulled out the Pixel 3 XL untypically often. While the unusual activity played its role, I also am more dropsy than in the past. Realization and concern, woven with fear about ruining another phone, brought me to make a difficult lifestyle concession: Wear a smartwatch.

In mid July 2018, related to my switch from Apple to Google platform products, I returned to using an analog watch—the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 7 Twin-Time, inspired by the one serving as important metaphor during Syfy series 12 Monkeys. I happily wore the handsome mechanical and couldn’t imagine swapping for digital wristwear. Refusing return to Apple Watch, even with recent release of Series 4 models, I looked to a Wear OS timepiece. Only one appealed: Montblanc Summit 2, for traditional styling; more typical watch size; overall quality of construction and materials; and early adoption of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip. 

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Bye Bye Apple Watch

I suffer from phantom smartwatch syndrome—an ailment that hopefully will disappear over time. Nearly four weeks ago, I put aside Apple Watch 2 stainless steel and replaced it with the simple but appealing ManchesterWatchWorks Iconik 3. Problem: Almost any shifting movement of the timepiece causes me to reflexively flip my wrist and look down; there is false perception of hepatic sensation. Apple has trained me well, and I’m tired of being its dog doing tricks. Woof. Woof. Growl.

I feel free! Gone are the nagging alerts—and I had them barreled down to a minimum of approved services: Some for breaking news; emails from a half-dozen people; and text messages. Among this still seeming torrent, the Activity app annoyed with congratulatory badges and prompts that one of the four main exercise goals (Calories, Exercise Time, Stands, and Steps)—Apple’s athletic lifestyle version of the four food groups—would soon be achieved. The badges are about as infantile as gold stars that teachers give kindergarteners and with similar purpose: To make the recipient feel good, whether or not deserved. The achievement badge for Earth Day flipped my goat. Seriously? I ordered the Iconik 3 that evening. 

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TAG Heuer Connected makes Sense?

In a post to Google+ this AM, journalist Kevin Tofel asks: “Who else doesn’t think many people will buy a $1,500 Android Wear watch simply because it’s made by TAG Heuer?” His question is spot on. The timepiece maker introduced its new line of smart wristwear earlier today.

I see TAG Heuer Connected differently. The high-end brand is carried in fine jewelry stores everywhere. This watch will make Android Wear visible to millions of buyers who might never see the platform. Demographically, many of these same people might never encounter or consider purchasing Apple Watch, either. 

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Apple Products without Purpose

As Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus preorder weekend progresses, I reflect on the week’s announcements. Increasingly, I see the company as the middle-aged boys club; men of a certain age designing products for rich, white, middle-age males. Of course, execs want women and people of other ages and classes buying pretty things, too. I refer to a mindset that seems to be core to Apple’s post-Steve Jobs design ethic.

“Products without purpose” I call new MacBook, Apple Watch, and iPad Pro. Where once Steve Jobs filled niches and created new categories, CEO Tim Cook and company create new Apple ware for which there is little to no need whatsoever. 

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iPad Pro: My Story in Tweets

Apple’s newest tablet, announced earlier today, isn’t on my shopping list. At 12.9 inches, the screen on the iPad Pro is too big. The device can’t comfortably fit the hands for long periods of time. I have experience with 12-inchers. I will likely keep my iPad Air 2, unless Google comes out with some gotta-have Nexus tab before Apple starts selling its beast in November.

The media event marks a big day for the fruit-logo company, which also introduced new Apple Watch models. That’s code for same internals with more case color and band choices. Apple TV gets a big refresh, and new iPhones are queued up for preorders starting Saturday September 12. The company usually does Friday, but that’s the 9-11 terrorist attack anniversary. 

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What I Like About Apple Watch

In another universe, I don’t own Apple Watch. Either LG Watch Urbane or Moto 360 adorns my wrist. But in this one, I not only sold my soul to the bitten-fruit logo company but I grew to enjoy the servitude. Thirty-three days after purchasing the smartwatch, I can express satisfaction, even if sometimes muted, with the user experience.

I prefer Android Wear for its fantastic contextual utility, but find greater overall usability and positive emotional response from living with Apple Watch. As expressed in the previous post, I suspect that returns rates may be high for this device—at least compared to others that Apple produces. The real measure of any product’s success is: 1) Did you keep it?; 2) Do you use it?; 3) Do you enjoy it? 

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The Measure of Apple Watch Success is Percentage of Returns

Apple announces on Tuesday quarterly results that will for the first time include its wearable. Already, ahead of the big day, speculation soars about Apple Watch sales. Expect drama for sure, as CEO Time Cook explains how supply shortages constrained availability, leaving investors with more questions than answers.

I am more interested in data the company likely won’t reveal: return rates. I took back two. The first: I ordered online but sales started, after long delay, in the retail store before the device arrived. Rather than wait another week, I bought there and later returned the other, which the shop specialist sold seconds afterwards to a family that had come in looking for Apple Watch only to be told the Sport sold out. The second: A week later, I exchanged the aluminum timepiece for stainless steel. How many other people returned one for another because of taste or altogether because of dislike? The measure of Apple Watch success is percentage of returns. 

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Apple Watch (Stainless Steel) vs Sport (Aluminum)

After spending 7 days with Apple Watch Sport—and largely enjoying it—time comes to test the next pricier model. When trying to compare the two, I find very little useful from Internet searches. So a primer is in order for other folks also wondering: Which one is right for me? Ultimately, the best answer will come from going into an Apple Store (if there is one nearby) and putting the timepieces on your wrist.

Last week, I compared Android Wear and Apple Watch platforms, starting from the different design ethics behind them. Obviously, timepieces from the bitten-fruit logo company are more alike, with the main differences being materials, pricing, and target customers. Interestingly, the combinations offer subtle changes in benefits that will matter much to some shoppers. Henceforth, I will refer to the devices as Sport, for the aluminum model, and Apple Watch for the stainless steel sibling. 

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Android Wear vs Apple Watch

Last week, I had opportunity to use Apple Watch, making it third of the modern smart variety that I have experienced (the others being LG Urbane and Moto 360). The differences between the platforms are quite startling and worth highlighting. They begin with diverging design ethics derived from the fruit-logo company’s app-centric heritage and Google’s place in the cloud.

For people who use either Android handset or iPhone, existing device really determines what watch platform you choose, if any—that is for now. Down the path you go. But where it leads is somewhere else, not the same destination. One platform is more responsive to you in varying contextual situations. The other requires more direct interaction, but gives other benefits.