It’s been too long since we had a dedicated food-fight thread for Apple fanboys and haters so here you go. Wired has the basics on the new Watch — it works with an iPhone 5 or later, should hold a charge for 18 hours, includes fitness sensors, Apple Pay, maps, social media, you name it. It has a built-in mic and speaker so you can make calls with it (and give voice commands to Siri, if you find that worth your while for whatever weird reason). Prices start at $349, which seems like a lot for what’s essentially a second, less usable iPhone with some health tech built in. I’ve learned from experience, though, not to underestimate the “gee whiz” appeal each time Apple reinvents its wheel. Apple Pay must be the dumbest tech “advance” ever — it’s no easier than swiping a card and it’s nowhere near ubiquitous enough to make you feel comfortable leaving your wallet at home — but I get a kick out of it every time I use it. Instead of using the actual plastic in my back pocket, I’m using a virtual version of the same card! Instead of using the old swiping motion, I’m using a lifting motion! And Apple Watch builds on it by replacing lifting with your hand with lifting with your wrist! Coming soon: Lifting with your elbow?
Too rich for my blood for now but I can see how nifty this might be in five or 10 years when the battery lasts a week instead of a day, voice-recognition tech has progressed to the point where you can use speech reliably for all apps (imagine having to type on that tiny screen), and the Watch operates as a standalone device instead of as a companion for the iPhone. In fact, for now, it might be most useful worn around the house instead of out and about simply because you’re less tethered to your iPhone at home. Apparently the Watch has WiFi, which means you can leave your phone in your home office or on the nightstand or wherever and still have access to everything, including “smart home” apps, right on your wrist around the house as needed. It’s attractive psychologically to have an all-purpose tool that you wear rather than carry around since it makes the device feel more like it’s part of you, not something you’re constantly retrieving. The Watch may be tethered to the phone, but at home, at least, it may make you feel like you’re less tethered to it. It’s not an implant, but it’s a baby step that way.
The breakthrough we really need, obviously, is a new synthetic material for screens that can expand or contract in size as needed. Shrink it down and pop it on your wrist and it’s a watch! Expand it and it’s a tablet. We’ll probably have hologram devices before then, though, right?