Honestly, there are times– and they’re increasing in number– when I want to give technology writers a big wedgie. Of course, I could say the same thing about talking heads on cable TV news shows, but that’s a different issue for another time.
Google ‘Apple Watch‘ and you’ll be treated to a litany of problems identified by various and sundry tech media critics about how Watch is a massive failure, that nobody is wearing it, and Apple should just do a Deteriorata and give up already. Well, critics are now complaining about a Watch you can’t buy.
All About Batteries
A few years ago Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, and said the device would get 10 hours of use on a charge. Immediately tech critics and engineers came out of the woodwork and said it wasn’t possible, and such battery life was merely another example of Steve Jobs’ famed reality distortion field.
The RDF was said by Andy Hertzfeld to be Steve Jobs’s ability to convince himself and others to believe almost anything with a mix of charm, charisma, bravado, hyperbole, marketing, appeasement and persistence. RDF was said to distort an audience’s sense of proportion and scales of difficulties and made them believe that the task at hand was possible.
Guess how much battery life the original iPads had? 10 hours. Sometimes longer. Apple has a long history of making technology critics look pretty stupid by doing exactly what they say cannot be done. Here’s another example, this time on Apple Watch.
The current Apple Watch doesn’t have GPS and it still only lasts for one day. Adding GPS to a smartwatch focused on complementing your smartphone and providing mobile apps just doesn’t make sense.
Sounds like writer Matthew Miller is setting himself up for a big fail, except tech writing is much different than a presidential candidate mouthing off on national TV. Those verbal shenanigans get recorded for posterity. Nobody goes backwards on digital ink to see what someone said in the past.
So, spot on. The Apple Watch does not have GPS, partly because Watch is an accessory to the iPhone and that has GPS built-in. What about Apple Watch 2? Supposedly, the next model will bristle with new high tech capability from GPS to a barometer to water resistance to blood sugar tracking to levitation. Maybe so, maybe not. Apple won’t say until Apple is ready, but already the company’s many critics are scoffing about non-existent features; in public, no less.
Adding GPS to the Apple Watch is a dumb idea. Smartwatches are still a novelty for most people and offering compromised experiences is not the way to increase adoption.
Matthew is also the same Matthew who dissed the original Watch because “No GPS Receiver.” I’m getting mixed signals in the criticism, Matthew. This is his list for Watch 1.0.
- Elegant Design
- Long Battery Life
- Fantastic Display
- Large App Store
- Well Constructed Bands
- No GPS Receiver
- Expensive Body and Bands
Technology critics are like politicians. They can have it both ways. Or, any way they want it, and at any time, because ridiculous ideas sell, and no one is keeping score anyway.
The Apple Watch is an excellent smartwatch, but it’s not a GPS sport watch and should not attempt to be all things.
You know, like the iPhone.
We’ve gone through times of consolidation throughout the history of mobile devices, but the end user experience is usually better with focused devices.
Why is Apple’s Watch the big seller while so-called focused devices end up in a closet or drawer?
So, GPS in Apple Watch is a really dumb idea because battery life. Yet, Apple has not even introduced Watch 2.0 so only Apple knows whether or not it has GPS, and, likewise, only Apple knows how long the battery life really is.
The public still has not widely adopted smartwatches, Apple and Google should focus on making a compelling smartwatch experience while leaving the fitness tracking up to companies like Garmin, Polar, and Fitbit.
Funny thing, and it’s a true story. Apple makes more money with Watch than all those focused sport watch toy manufacturers put together. Whether Apple makes Watch 2.0 fully standalone and untethered to iPhone remains to be seen, but chances are very good that future Watch models will provide a better user experience overall than fitness tracking devices. Maybe that explains why iPhones sell in greater numbers than dumb feature phones. Focused devices have a place, yes, but most of us want more from our devices than counting steps.