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Apple Watch, iPhone: First Impressions

September 10th, 2014

I still am a little in the dark; I stayed up until 4 a.m. watching the live stream (or trying to), and just woke up a little while ago. I probably missed a lot about the iPhone 6 because of Apple’s screw-ups with the stream, and won’t know what that was until I have a chance to catch up (not until this evening), but I did get to see the iWatch portion.

I will almost certainly not be getting an Apple Watch—yet. Frankly, I just don’t have a need, but there’s another strong reason: the Apple Watch 2, or more probably, the Apple Watch 3. Apple did a fairly good job with the design, working with the compromises of thickness to deal with things like hardware demands and variety of features, but I am pretty sure that successive watches will be thinner, sleeker, and better-designed—just look at the iPhone.

Not to mention the health sensors—did I miss something, or is the heart rate the only physical sensor on the thing? I read somewhere that other sensors take a longer time to be approved by government agencies; it seems likely that future versions will have more of them.

While the Apple Watch would be nice now, I am fairly confident that in a few generations, it’ll be much nicer. And since the iWatch is something I am more likely to buy only once every 4 or 5 years at most, I am reluctant to jump in so early.

As for the reviews which are panning the physical design… yeah, it would have been cool to see something radically different. A lot of people are moaning about design possibilities without thinking about how it would affect the health sensors, for example. However, I’ll go with functional and still-beautiful.

People kind of forget that with Apple devices, the #1 draw is not the product’s appearance. It’s the user experience. The physical design, while usually striking, is secondary—though very often, it’s a huge secondary feature. This is essentially the iPad all over again: people wanting to find fault with Apple jump all over the design as a major failing, and completely miss the fact that how people feel when using the device will be something unexpectedly good.

And then there’s the pricing: it’s no mistake that they only mentioned the starting price. Knowing Apple, the version of the watch that you want will cost $600 or something.

As for the iPhone… well, my contract with my carrier is up, and carriers here have given no indication or dropping phone subsidies. I’m not sure how carriers in the U.S. are able to do that—if Softbank dropped the subsidy but KDDI’s au kept it, I’d switch in a heartbeat.

With that in mind, as for the iPhone 6 being worth it, I’d say the answer is a definite “yes.” For me, just the camera is a big deal; I have a dog, and the 240fps slow-mo will be irresistible. Transitioning from an iPhone 5 to a 6 will be a very nice jump in processing speed as well.

While the big sizes look nice, I am not so interested in carrying around a huge slab. The 4.7-inch device will be quite sufficient.

The Apple Pay system was not advertised as ready in Japan, and there is no telling how it might work out. If they can arrange for it to work like current NFC systems do, allowing for train passes and fast payment at shops, then great—but I have no idea if those existing systems are exclusive and will require a whole new set of gear to accommodate Apple. But if they can work it into existing systems, that’ll be a pretty big deal for me. Ironically, I’ll probably be using it in America before I can in Japan, as I’m visiting again in December.

And, really, there’s not too much more than that—at least that I know of. The iPhone 6 won’t be revolutionary or something, but it’ll be well worth it to get one.

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  1. Troy
    September 13th, 2014 at 11:24 | #1

    I’d be turning cartwheels if the watch was as thin as the band, like my old 1980s Armitron was . .


    sigh, that’s such a work of art! Wish I still had one (they broke rather frequently).

    the sad thing is I’ve wanted Apple to make a smartwatch for longer than I can remember, but not this clunker. John Siracusa called it “an Airstream” and “a lunchbox” on their recent podcast . . .

    Like you say, we’re waiting for this to evolve into the “iPhone 4” model, more or less.

    Still, my kanji app does look kinda nice on it . . .


    speaking of which, if you don’t mind can you shoot me your Hardware UUID for your Mac again? I’d really like to finish my app before the end of the year and need ~somebody~ to vet the UI . . .

    About this Mac > System Report . . . > Hardware Overview section

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