Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Watching The Apple Watch


My birthday present from Mrs. Dalai arrived yesterday, just a few months past the event itself. The much ballyhooed Apple Watch now rests comfortably on my wrist, wresting my restless attention from the rest of what I'm supposed to be doing. (Mrs. Dalai is getting a complete kitchen redo for her birthday...I think she wins.)

I won't go into much detail on its function and so forth, as that is available ad nauseum on the internet. Suffice it to say, I'm happy with my present, and I think it has a great future. When you read some of the reviews out there, you'll think this little gem is nothing more than a flash in the pan, because quite a few of the IT pundits out there have panned it rather mercilessly. As Mike Cannavo, The One and Only PACSMan once put it:
A lot of these folks making the postings suffer from a disease known as LDS, and I'm not talking about the The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints either. It's Little D*ck Syndrome- where you have to make up for your "shortcomings" somehow so you mock on the first person who seems to know what the hell they are talking about. I live it every day.
Absolutely NONE of the Commie Windows-Loving Apple-Hating nay-sayers out there on the net, in the Twitter-verse, or anywhere else in the electronic or print media could envision, let alone put together, something like the Apple Watch. Or an iPhone. Or a Mac. Or even a PC. Well, maybe a PC. Of course, I've done my share of panning of PACS products, but I really could make a better PACS. If I ever got around to it. Which I will. Someday. Eventually. I promise. Really.

Like PACS, a smartwatch is something you have to play with yourself to see how well you interface with the interface. What works for some won't feel right to others in both venues. But since the Apple Watch only works with the iPhone, its users are essentially guaranteed to be well-versed in, and generally lovers of, the way things are done in the Apple Universe. The Watch GUI fits right in with the rest of the toys.

Being a bleeding-edger can cause some minor cuts and bruises. So far, though, the only physical injury I've endured is a few snagged hairs, mostly grey, which were caught in the tightly-woven steel Milanese band. Said band actually looks good, and the magnetic tab closes securely. Functionally, I've had some minor hiccoughs. Upon first activating the Watch, it is supposed to put something on the screen to automate pairing with one's iPhone. It never did show whatever it was supposed to show, and I had to pair "manually" which involved entering a 6-digit number into the phone. Big deal. I've seen some minor stuttering when shifting between apps, but that's really the extent of the difficulties.

It took me about 30 minutes to become familiar with the three controls and what they do. The screen itself is a touch-screen, with Apple's new Taptic Engine yielding haptic feedback to your taps. There's also Force Touch which senses how much pressure you are putting on the screen and acts accordingly. The digital crown turns, of course, but it is also a button that can be pushed. There's a side button as well.  The whole package is quite nicely finished, worthy of a piece of daily-wear jewelry.

The software and interface work fine as far as I'm concerned. The ability to answer the phone from the watch itself, and to engage in limited texting go well beyond the capabilities of my old Kickstarter Version Black Pebble. (I might just start an essay contest for those who would like to be the proud owner of Dalai's Pebble...Dalai Junior doesn't want it...)  If I could request one change in apps or functionality at this early date, it would be something that lets me add my own images to the watch faces. There are already quite a few permutations built-in, but I still like to use my own pictures, something the Pebble could do, although the image had to be downgraded to a 1-bit dithered black-and-white facsimile.

My friends and loyal readers (all three of you) knew I couldn't resist buying an Apple Watch. Such are the joys of being a fan-boy, I guess. You might ask if the Watch is right for you. I'm not sure I can answer that, beyond saying that if you like the other iOS products, you'll most likely appreciate this one as well. Keep in mind the usual caveats...this is the first generation of a very unique product. It WILL change yearly. I'm hoping that new functionality in years to come will be applicable in retrograde fashion to the older models, and Apple is usually pretty good about doing so.

But spare me from the endless carping I've seen on the web from the nay-sayers. No one is holding a gun to anyone's head to buy the darn thing. If you don't wear a watch, you don't like watches, you think watches are a Commie plot, then by all means, DON'T buy the Apple Watch! The rest of the world doesn't really care if you don't get one or if I do. Hate to break it to you, but Steve Jobs won't be spinning in his grave either way.

You'll find a number of articles released in the past few days saying things like, "I've beta-tested the Apple Watch so you don't have to" and "I've got buyer's remorse" and "The Apple Watch sucks" and so forth. And there are one or two positive reviews as well. The main theme of those who've received their Watch in the same shipping dump that brought me mine seems to be that it doesn't meet expectations. I'm sorry, folks, but just what DID you expect? The basics of the thing have been out there since Tim Cook tried his hand at the "Oh, and one more thing" thing. Lots of whining but little if any productive talk about just what would have satisfied the whiners. Really, some of them sound like a kid at Christmas who had been pining for some popular toy and then realized that playing with the box was more fun. As Spock might say, the wanting for some is more fun than the having. (Apologies to the writers of Amok Time).

I'm thinking what the milquetoasts really wanted but couldn't seem to vocalize was a porn-app that utilized the taptic engine to its full potential. They might need to attach a much smaller watch band.

In the meantime, I am hoping at least one of my friends gets an Apple Watch so I can send them my heartbeat to confirm that I'm alive. Lub Dup!


1 comment :

Stacey Gordon said...

How often do you have to recharge it?