10 Reasons I Found the Apple Watch Event a Snooze-Fest

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Greg’s take on Why I’m Considering Getting an Apple Watch, more than I enjoyed yet another over-long, under-delivering Apple ‘event’. Part I can understand, as I was listening to the audio stream through my car for a half-hour, but I found this the biggest Apple snoozer I can recall. Let me give you 10 reasons why!

10 Reasons I Found the Apple Watch Event a Snooze-Fest

While it is true that

1. What Did We LEARN? – yes I know that every Apple event is at least 50% rehash and fluff, but there was more time spent on ResearchKit (which IS cool) than most companies put into their ENTIRE keynotes! As for the Apple Watch, what we learned was pretty much clarifications of what we knew plus confirmation of prevailing rumors.

2. Smartphone = No More Watch – I always used to wear a watch, and still have a collection in a nice box on my dresser. I haven’t worn one since 2008 and my first Android phone. The problem is I no longer care – and while fashion watches seem to be on the uptick with younger kids, they aren’t the ones with money. Convergence is all about eliminating redundant devices … like a watch. The entire value proposition is counter-intuitive.

3. Battery Life DOES Matter – if you have a device that tracks both sleep and activity, gets at best 18 hours of battery and takes about 2 hours to fully charge, you are automatically prioritizing what doesn’t get tracked.

4. Priced into a Niche – one common thing I read before the event was “if you are asking X, the Apple Watch isn’t for you.” That is true – you need to be an iPhone user, you need to REALLY love watches, and you need a certain level of disposable income (since this is an accessory). That is a fairly large amount of ‘ifs’ for a product – and each one narrows the audience further.

5. Solution Looking for a Problem, Yet Many Problems Unsolved – having an Apple Watch doesn’t really let you leave your phone at home, not that anyone would do that anyway – so it is an add-on. The Apple Watch is redundant, pointless and unnecessary – it duplicates many functions of a device you still have to keep on your body. And as a runner I immediately know I still need my phone for the GPS capability, making the Apple watch nothing more than a fancy Magellan Echo with lousy battery life.

6. When a New Computer Makes My MacBook Air Look Powerful … – since returning to Mac laptops with the ‘Pismo’ Powerbook 15 years ago (after being disappointed with the 540C several years earlier), I have stuck with the Pro line. I stayed away from the standard Macbooks due to the performance compromise – which typically meant getting the cheapest computer but also the worst performance. Last year I finally hopped into the MacBook Air fray with the 11.6″ model, and have been amazed at how well it handles a broad number of tasks including gaming and making music. Only the non-Retina screen (and bezels!) is an issue.

The new MacBook takes a cue from history by being the worst performing portable Mac available. It underperforms the 2014 speed-bump of the 11.6″ MacBook Air by a significant amount, and will likely struggle to play many games that the Air can handle due to less powerful CPU and GPU and compromises to the infrastructure to reduce power usage and heat generation.

Why does this matter? It takes the ‘performance compromise’ to another level. You are $400 above the cheapest computer … but that computer (the 11.6″ Air) is SIGNIFICANTLY more powerful – and only slightly larger. You have to REALLY need that Retina screen or added portability.

7. USB-C – I was right with Apple when they jumped on USB, and when they ditched optical drives. Killing FireWire? Not so much. So USB-C? I am totally loving this … but making it the ONLY port? It means that out of the box the only thing most people can do with the MacBook is charge it. After spending $1300 I need to drop another $20 just to charge my iPhone? Also … ThunderBolt?

8. No Help Seen for the iPad – perhaps this isn’t fair, but justifying an iPad gets harder every day. The price drop to $899 for the MacBook Air – and significant recent speed bump – make it much more attractive and a very reasonable alternative. The new MacBook isn’t the 12″ iPad Pro people were hoping for – nor is it the traditionally low-priced option. But it broadens the choices for someone looking for an ultra-portable device. We can only hope Apple has something significant to show this fall to revive the entire tablet industry.

9. The $79 USB Semi-Solution – I still have a Toshiba Portege 3480CT, which was ultra-compact in 2001 when released, but required an external port replicator for pretty much any connections. Apple’s $79 USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter is pretty much the same thing … and since I offers just one USB port and an HDMI port (as well as a pass-thru USB-C), it is still likely many users will be daisy-chaining port replicators.

As for the ‘Semi-Solution’ … Apple has spent the last four years implementing Thunderbolt in their products and coaxing vendors to make products to support the port. And just as Thunderbolt 2 seems to be taking off – gone. You cannot get a USB-C to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, nor any other way to use your existing devices. And since USB-C seems to do what the company wanted with Lightning … I wouldn’t be surprised to see THAT go away this fall.

10. The Apple TV non-Update – Apple TV hasn’t seen an update since before Chromecast, Fire TV and PS Vita TV even existed! It is a good product, but … compared to Roku/Amazon/Google/Sony it is (still) overpriced, underpowered, has less content, is harder to use searching for content, and is a no-show for gaming. What we got – a price cut and a single 90-day exclusive channel – is a reminder of how woefully out of date Apple TV is.

So those are MY 10 reasons why I found the Apple Watch Event a snooze-fest. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

4 Comments on "10 Reasons I Found the Apple Watch Event a Snooze-Fest"

  1. Greg Alston | March 11, 2015 at 1:09 pm |

    Absolutely agree with the entirety of the event being a bore. I just purchased a Macbook 11.6″ Air like you, and I feel like it’s Superior to this new 12″ version. Technically.. the 12 version is just the 11.6 if you count the bezels right? Either way, Apple really does have to stop being that person who shows up late to the party so everyone can see them.

  2. I agree. Even though I don’t have an iPhone anymore, I usually have some yearning for one, or for the accessories…but the Apple Watch leaves me pretty cold.

    We will see…I think the benefit here is in the “rising tide lifts all boats” phenomenon, and the real boon until the Apple Watch is refined is going to be for Android Wear, Pebble, and Fitbit.

  3. I think the thing that frustrates me about stories like this is that there is the pervasive feeling in the Apple “community” that everything Apple releases should fit everybody. To be sure, Apple did this to themselves by having a compressed, “3 choices and that’s it” product line for so many years – but when you look at the products that Apple has released in the last 12 months – many of them are for certain subsets of users with very specific needs. They aren’t for everyone – and that’s good. Until the rest of the community chimes in as condemns the product because it doesn’t fit them.

    Consider the Mac Pro – it’s unlikely that anyone but a small percentage of readers on this site will every have a justifiable need for a computer like this. I am grateful that it exists for those that need it though.

    The (new) MacBook – very nice computer – clearly a 1.0 version – and targeted at the large user base who never does much more than email, FB, etc. Doesn’t want to plug into a 30″ monitor and is happy with a charge at night, use all day type of computer. Of course the cheapest Air is more powerful and more useful. Its targeted at a different set of users. The purchasers of the MB are those that are willing to accept the compromises (or don’t see it as a compromise) and are willing to pay more money for style over substance. Just like the purchasers of the original Air. $1700 for a laptop w/ a small spinning iPod hard drive inside and 2gb ram? $1000 more for a flash drive? Wait till we see MacBook 2.0 – I suspect it will be on your short list of wants.

    Honestly, I was glad to see the info on the new MacBook because I’ve been wanting to purchase an 11″ Air but waiting to see if I would regret the purchase. Seeing who the MB is targeted to – I know that my 11″ will be my best option for the next 3 years or so. So I’m ready to write that check.

    The Apple watch. Of course $17,000 for a watch that does the same thing as the $349 version is idiotic to you and me. Again, we aren’t the target audience. Honestly, if they never sell one gold one – Apple still has met it’s objective. By introducing something at that price point – they now have a seat at the table in conversations about luxury, fashion accessories. They can justify multi-page spreads in magazines like Vogue and Style etc. A $349 watch doesn’t get you there.

    Overall, I think we as Apple users and fans have to make a transition. Maybe stop looking at products they are releasing that don’t fit our use cases with disdain and be glad that Apple is spreading out and targeting niche markets with fantastic, innovative ideas that ultimately will trickle down to the product that do fit us – making them better.

  4. I didn’t think it was any more boring than any other Apple keynote. I’m not all that interested in the new MacBook, but that new trackpad looks terrific. The first MacBook Air was overpriced and everyone said it also lacked too much connectivity, but it’s been a hugely successful product line. Somebody out there wants a MacBook as portable as an Air but with a retina display, and Apple just started offering them what they want. And that trackpad – I could easily see that taptic/force touch technology in future iPhones and iPads.

    As for the watch, other than pricing, there wasn’t much new. But, who cares? I’ve always worn a wristwatch, and I know that you do, too, at least most of the time when you run, Michael. Convergence is fine, but when it comes at the cost of convenience, that is often too high a price. Anybody can easily run with a smartphone to track themselves, but if you want pacing information, distance and time run *while you are running* then pulling a smartphone out of your pocket is just not a solution, and pressing a button and waiting for the phone to tell you is still not as convenient as a quick glance down at your wrist.

    I had a Pebble watch for a while and I loved having rich, discrete notifications on my wrist – PARTICULARLY while I was driving. Even the rest of the day, the time, weather, and the time of my next meeting was a simply glance at my wrist away, rather than having to stop and pull my phone out of my pocket, power it on, unlock it, and try to avoid being distracted by everything else on the screen.

    Apple doesn’t need a huge hit with the watch. I’m not going to buy one – I have an Android phone, at least for now – but I think it will be at least as successful as the Apple TV, will have enough margin to be worth selling, and may actually induce people to upgrade their older iPhones, or switch from Android or other platforms.

    It will also be interesting to see where ResearchKit ends up going. That may go nowhere, but I think it’s a great idea and I hope it becomes a “thing”.

    One thing that I love about Apple compared with Google is that they try to go all of the way when they come out with a product or service. Apple Pay is a perfect example – Apple seemingly went to retailers and banks to make sure that they had enough partners on board to go forward, while Google just offered the service and hoped that retailers and banks would sign on. There are just so many examples of Apple doing this over the last decade-plus that I trust they will continue to work on ResearchKit going forward in a way that Google never has or would.

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