Color me the proud owner of Apple Watch Series 3 LTE. No, it’s not an iPhone on my wrist. After all, the iPhone isn’t really a Mac in my pocket because the Mac can do so much more than a smartphone (sans the pocketable mobility).
All one needs to do is look at where the Mac has gone in a few decades, then look at where Apple’s iconic iPhone has gone in a single decade, and then make a modest extrapolation for where Apple Watch will be in Series 10. This is going to be fun.
Better Over Better
Thanks to an overriding technology fetish, some disposable income, the continued rise of the stock market, and a few deserving school age family members, I’ve owned Watch Series Zero, Watch Series 2 from 2016, and this year’s Watch Series 3 with LTE. This is the best Watch yet. Each model continues to impress with enhanced capabilities, more speed, more options for alerts, notifications, better battery life, more watchband selections, and now, LTE cellular built in. No iPhone required (most of the time).
Watch Series 3 LTE is not an expensive Fitbit. It’s not whatever Gear Samsung is pushing these days that look more like what court-ordered authorities place on your ankle to track your location. Watch is a useful device that gets better with every iteration.
What Watch has as the value proposition is different than what Apple offered with iPhone back in 2007. iPhone was a smartphone you wanted to use. Now we take the phone component for granted. iPhone is the number one camera. We can call– face-to-face via Skype or FaceTime or whatever app you choose– friends, family, or co-workers almost anywhere on the face of planet earth.
You can’t do on Apple Watch what an iPhone can do. But remember that what iPhone does now was not capable of being done back in 2007.
Where will Watch be in seven or eight years? Let’s do a little extrapolation.
Battery Life – most of us still charge Watch every day, but I can squeeze two full days out of it, including an always on Cardiogram app to monitor heart rate. Can we expect battery life to go beyond a day? Yes. Where is that solar powered watchband?
Camera – Watch might be the perfect selfie device. Just wearing it on the wrist makes it not much of a good camera, but even in the future Apple could put a camera between the Crown and button and users could do a Spiderman point and shoot. Otherwise, I expect to see a selfie camera next year or the year after. Video recording? It will come a year or two later.
TrueDepth – Apple’s new TrueDepth sensor and camera array in the iPhone X’s Notch is ripe for a future Watch. Already Watch can sense whether it’s on your wrist or not, but with TrueDepth a simple flick of the wrist can unlock and turn on the Watch screen via Face ID.
Siri – Apple’s talking digital personal assistant might be the dumbest talking device on the block, but Siri’s dictation is very good, and as Apple makes the talking bot smarter, Watch becomes perhaps the easiest way to interact with Siri. Already, Watch Series 3 lets Siri speak, so interactions will grow with each annual iteration of the device.
Case Designs – for now, Watch is a rectangle which probably is the best layout for a digital smartwatch. While there are many attractive and functional watch faces available, the most useful are the modular designs with complications. It’s easy to create three or four modular faces, each with different complications, therefore, more functionality. What about a round watch case. Doable? Yes.
Complications & Navigation – Apple seems willing to experiment with Watch. The original Dock was slow and had limited functionality. The app icons is a disaster. Who can remember which icon is associated to which app? In watchOS 4 all installed apps can be viewed as a vertical scroll. Unfortunately, the Dock is a vertical scroll, too. Move it back to horizontal, Apple. Even better, allow Siri to launch and use Watch complications and change settings on various apps. That would improve navigation and provide easier access to more functions.
There are more futuristic options that can be added, especially those that are pie-in-the-sky. A blood glucose sensor. A blood pressure sensor. And, some application smarts which could warn Watch users when certain health readings go beyond specific levels. And that doesn’t mention Siri as the guardian of HomeKit options to control lights, start the car, unlock and open the front door, and much more.
What comes after Apple Watch is what came after iPhone. More iPhone. More Watch.