While the big news was definitely around the iPhone 7, the Apple Watch saw a minor update in the launch of Apple Watch Series 2. If you ever thought, “Wow, I think that Matt guy is an Apple fanboy,” read on and enjoy the subtle hint of “crow” I have sprinkled in for you.
It’s faster, yes. It’s even more resistant to water and dust. It now has it’s own GPS chip so you can map your runs and directions without requiring your phone to be ever-present. Battery life has increased a bit. The screen is a bit brighter and more legible in the sun. From a hardware perspective, it’s a lot of little things that Apple clearly hoped would add up to consumers being excited. WatchOS 3, Apple’s newest release for both Series 1 and Series 2 watches, already comes loaded with performance gains and doesn’t really differentiate between the two series models. So what makes me want to plunk down ~ $100 more (over previous series comparable model) for a new Watch?
I’m not saying these incremental improvements aren’t great, only that they don’t move the needle in a way that the jump from the iPhone (v1) to the iPhone 3G was a leap and caused people to get excited to fork over serious cash. The Apple Watch is definitely a member of the disruptive technology circuit known as wearables, but where does it go from here? Well, one only need look at the competition for cues on what could be in store.
The Standalone Wearable
This one should really be a slam dunk. I know we can’t quite remove a headphone jack to make room for it, but it would be great if they could just squeeze in real cellular data service into the watch. Let’s say I’m out running. Done laughing yet? Ok, so let’s just SAY I was. Apple felt there was a compelling case to give the runner phone-free GPS information and I think that was a move in the right direction. But let’s mash that up with their other new WatchOS feature, SOS, that allows a person to quickly call for help while also notifying emergency contacts that the person is in distress. But if you left your phone at home as the feature encourages… no help is coming because you don’t have a working connection.
When Galaxy Gear came out with this, I thought: “Hey, this sucks. Look at the battery life!” But now all the players (minus the likes of some Pebble models) are requiring daily charges anyway. So, if we accept that as a consequence of the state of wearables at the moment, why wouldn’t we want cell service in that thing?
So that’s it: my unimaginative if-they-do-it-why-don’t-you comparison. I would like to think the team responsible for actually thinking through these things can put me to shame and land 2-3 truly “killer” features that I can’t ignore. In the meantime, I will keep my eye out for Series 3 for a real jump in this space.