I guess we need a thread on this, not just because the news is slow but because the scene on Twitter a few hours ago during Apple’s presentation was the closest America will ever come to the apes laying hands on the monolith in “2001.” There’s a new iPhone, of course — it’s bigger, just like … every other company’s latest “phablet,” has a better camera, better display, yadda yadda yadda. You know how these things go by now. If you’re a casual gadget consumer, as most of us are, they’re reinventing the wheel again but with more screen acreage for video. The one noteworthy “innovation” is the new Apple Pay system that lets you upload your credit cards and then make payments in stores by tapping your phone at the designated terminal. (It doesn’t store the credit card numbers, just in case you lose your phone.) There’s nothing really innovative about that but the fact that Apple’s now adopting the tech means many more merchants are bound to adopt it too. Supposedly Apple Pay will be accepted by more than 220,000 retailers. The age of wallets is over.
The news is the Apple Watch, which appears to be basically a tricked out iPod Touch with Apple Pay and some fitness measuring capabilities included. It’s not a standalone device (it’s compatible with the iPhone 5 or better) and, at a kinda shocking $350, it’s not cheap. (A new 16GB iPhone phablet will run you $299.) I thought they’d make the watch either standalone and expensive or iPhone-dependent and low-priced. Instead, you’ve got something that’s sufficiently costly and dorky to make it a status symbol for the hardest-core Apple fanboys and ignorable by everyone else. If they’re going to cater to that niche, I honestly wonder why they didn’t make the watch freakishly bigger, say from the mid-forearm to the wrist, and give it a big screen and standalone capability. That sounds ridiculous but if anyone can make it appealing, Apple’s designers can. And hardcore geeks would buy it even if it wasn’t, just for the novelty of having their pricey mega-gadget visible to the world at all times. If Google can get dorks to wear Glass, Apple can get them to wear one of those forearm computers that Predator used to nuke Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maybe that’ll be the next version. Click the image to watch.