Apple Watch Release

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I’ve admittedly been wrong every time Apple releases a new product category. In the late ’90s, I said the colorful iMacs were underpowered and too expensive (though I acknowledged how convenient the form factor was). In the early 2000s, I said the iPod was too limited, being tethered to OS X (at the launch) and the horrible experience known as iTunes (I still think iTunes is horrible). When Apple killed the colorful iMacs, I was a little amused that all the energy that went into snarking at beige boxes was not likewise being directed at the equally boring color choices offered by Apple. When the iPad first debuted I thought it was essentially a big, heavy iPod Touch that was missing a killer feature: stylus support. And real productivity capabilities. When the MacBook Air first debuted I thought it was an ugly (beige), woefully underpowered Netbook, that was outrageously priced at $3000.

I don’t think I’ve necessarily been wrong in my assessments. The PowerPC chips in the original iMacs have been supplanted by Intel chips; the Air is now the cheapest portable OS X device, the original iPad was quickly updated to account (somewhat) for its shortcomings, and the lack of color in Apple’s lineup has been…well, the shuffle, nano, and touch are bedecked in Easter pastels?

All this is to say that with the official release of the Apple Watch today, I don’t get it, but I’m also sure that’s irrelevant–it’ll be successful.

Part of my skepticism about the Watch is that I don’t get the utility of Smart Watches in general. I thought Microsoft’s Band looked like an interesting device, merging the form factor and utility of a FitBit with a small interactive screen.  But after seeing it in person, it’s really just a bit too bulky.  And my sister-in-law and her husband have Samsung Galaxy Gears. They’re big (though I’ve certainly seen larger analog watches) and don’t seem to do anything besides light up every time an email or text message is received. My nearly three-year-old daughter found it amusing that music can be played from them, and you can look at pictures on them, but as soon as a phone comes out, she’s more interested in looking at the phone.

While I understand it’s more convenient to glance at a wrist to see if the text message or email that just came in truly warrants hauling out your phone to deal with it, I don’t really see how saving those five seconds really justifies the cost of the device and the hassle of making sure it’s charged every night. (That’s probably just me, though. I’m learning that I am an edge case when it comes to technology.)

Regardless, I’m sure the Apple Watch’s release today will lead to a lot of interesting developments in wearable technology, and by the time the third generation of the thing gets released, people will have all but forgotten that, like tablet computing, the category existed and died long before Apple even entered the market. That special Apple mojo…