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johnfoster

what if the iWatch is a red herring?

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johnfoster    48

I have not worn a watch in almost 1o years. and the only watch I did wear was a complicated beast that had a sailing count down to the start timer. eventually, we, the crew banned the use because everyone on the boat had one making it pointless. instead the solution was to make one person start the clock on the mast using the second gun as a correction in case the first gun was missed. that way everyone who needed to know the time could see it or ask for it. and we had ONE clock. eventually we learned that we didn't really to need care about the last seconds anyway because everything is always really busy at the start. the starting gun was the only thing that mattered in the last ten… BANG!


eventually the guys stopped wearing their watches making the question, "what time is it?" answered by "who cares, we're racing."


this is why I think that the rumored iWatch is just something leaked to get companies concentrating on making the wrong thing. besides, I've played with an iWatch already. it's annoying and not very useful. that "watch" is the iPod Nano square version. that was the iPod that spurred a flurry of tiny companies making wrist straps so the device could be worn. it was huge, uncomfortable and not very usable. mostly because there are clocks every where: on the computer screen, my desk phone, the phone in my pocket… the time that I really want is the number of minutes until the next bus rolls. but that "watch" doesn't get bus time. and it never will.


I wonder what the origin of the word "watch" is when referred to as a time piece? clock is certainly a better description. maybe the reference is specific to a clock being used on a "watch" or the time a crew member would be in charge of taking care of things as in "your watch is almost over. Higgins will be your relief." when referred to as device that looks out for specific data "watch" is a perfect word. maybe it got it's name the same way stupid people name things. "formula" is something babies eat. yet it can also describe a scientific principle, a method of making or mixing, or a list that generates a solution to a problem. "I ran out of battery!" is the cry that you hear people who have just finished talking. "no, you ran out of power. the battery is still functional." battery life is a dumb way to describe power potential or device up time. just like "watch" can be used to keep track of things, stare at paint drying or seeing a performance, play or show. "I'm watching my watch during the watch." stupid.


so a "iWatch" needs to be rethought if it has a hope of doing things. and those things include: being useful enough to get people to buy, have a way to extract more cash, extend it's useful using developers. and once again change the market.


NANO data is the thing that a "watch" would display. think gauges, numbers, graphs… in other words bits of news that are useful. and where does this data come from? pulled once a minute from a cellular network might cost $25 per month using tiny amounts data compared to a phone device. one packet 256 bytes pulled once a minute ends up being 16K an hour or 12 MB over 30 days. that packet of data contains the bus arrival data. we could even be smart about the pull tuning it by location and time.


I use the example of bus data because it's the most real world example that I can think of that needs up to the minute data pulling tunneled by a background cloud app. the thing about that once a second packet is that it's BIG. 256 bytes is huge especially if you apply compression, tokenized data, and expected formatting. lots of application data can arrive in that same packet.


the iPod Nano has been an amazing since the 3rd generation if only because of the extreme uptime it has. it will play music continuously for 24 hours. the iPod Touch has similarly long uptime. both of these devices prove that a key feature of a "watch" will be long use between charges.


the Zune had a concept of social using WiFi to discover other devices around it. the idea was that you and your friends could "share" music. there was a concept of DRM that resembled "the first one is free" to get you hooked on the tune with the intent that you would buy it later. even better, if you subscribed to a service the moved song wouldn't have to die. so far Apple devices are islands. they don't know ZIP about anything around them other than "hey, WiFi!" maybe a "watch" could have a component of "sharing with me."


I have also spent a tiny amount of time with Pebble. weeks later I'm still wondering, "why??!" it makes a horrible demo. and once you see your friend trying in vain to justify it that by the 4th feature you are over it. at least I was. the display is pretty. I will say that. which makes me wonder why there aren't more ePaper display panels. oh, I know the answer to this. because the company that makes them is being dicks about the product. just TRY ordering sample parts from them. at least ADAfruit has samples. expensive. but you can work with the part. hopefully this ePaper will just get better.


anyway, I'm usually wrong about these things. like how I was wrong about how iPads and iPhones would have a component to sync to Time Capsules. yeah, where is that feature?

Edited by johnfoster

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Calum    3
I'm not convinced about the usefulness of a smart watch either, but I certainly wouldn't be without a wristwatch for telling the time. The frequently-heard claim that nobody wants to wear them any more because "we all carry phones now" seems ridiculous to me—digging a phone out of a bag/purse/pocket/wherever and pressing at least one button to see the time is considerably more hassle than simply glancing at your wrist. Edited by Calum

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johnfoster    48

based on today… no watch. never will be. totally a red herring.

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johnfoster    48

the prevalence of wrist monitoring tools brings validity to the desire to wear tech. but a FitBit is chasing a specific market who actually does want to wear it to collect data. it's personal. has benefit to them. and watching stats (especially your own) is addictive. but those tiny "sports" trackers do not have full color large screens to power allowing them to run for days without user intervention. that said, Apple has been making long play lower power devices for a quite a while. meaning this problem might not be a problem. having used a tiny iPod for the last year I am certain that the uptime of the thing on your wrist will be ample. that square rocker plays for almost a day before it dies. granted the display is not on that often, maybe 2% of the time, so it's not a factor.

 

I still think that iWatch is a solution looking for a problem. and a red hearing. it's been fun to watch the companies make watches if only because not one of them has been worth considering. it's interesting and sad that a development team would get a product to market knowing that what they made wasn't even close.

Edited by johnfoster

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Huskermn    33

Just curious about John's Take on the Apple Watch (not a "you were wrong", just a question) ?

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Here is an interesting perspective on ordinary ones - rather like the one given by the collector who appeared in an episode not so long back.

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