I am an Apple fan – I just don’t ‘get’ or enjoy using Microsoft products. I have to use their Software at work but I view it as a ‘necessary evil’. I will use a Mac in preference to any other computing device – period.
So I am obviously a definite candidate for the Apple Watch – but I have been using a Pebble Steel for the last 15 months and have grown used to its way of doing things and really rather like it. Now Pebble are also launching a new watch, the Pebble Time, which is an improvement over my existing one, so which way should I jump?
My Pebble Steel has been great and has proved to me that a smart watch really does work for me. Its battery life is great (7 days) – this was my biggest reservation about the Apple Watch.
Earlier this month I thought I knew which way I would go and I backed the new watch from Pebble on Kickstarter – the Time Steel, it wasn’t going to be as beautifully made as an Apple product and wouldn’t link as seamlessly to my iPhone. But, I took the view that it would provide what I am used to from my current Pebble, with the addition of a colour screen in a similar sized body to the Apple Watch. More impressively the battery would last for 10 days and the screen is always on and very visible in bright sunlight. It is also cheaper…
However, after watching the launch of the Apple Watch I cancelled my Pebble order – why?
As I say the need to charge the Apple Watch on a daily basis was a concern for me, however Apple confirmed at the launch that the watch will last around 18 hours – I already charge my iPhone overnight so I can live with this.
More relevant to my decision is that I believe the Apple Watch will be much better than Apples usual first attempt at a product. I have previously worked on the basis that Apple hit the ‘sweet spot’ on the second or third versions of their kit, but in this case the gestation has been longer and more considered. The positives that caused me to change my mind are as follows;
- It will work seamlessly with the iPhone (and Apple may limit access to other smart watches in the future).
- It is just beautifully made (like all Apple products) and comes in 3 configurable styles.
- The screen will be great – worth the shorter battery life.
- The Apple Pay system adds another dimension to its use.
- The battery will be replaceable – via Apple stores (the Pebble one isn’t)
- There will be a plethora of apps made for it.
- Its operating system will be constantly developed and improved.
I accept it is expensive and a luxury, but my guess is that the Apple Watch will do for smart watches what the iPod, iPhone and iPad did for their respective markets – both lead them and also grow them massively.
I’m in the USA this summer and will definitely be purchasing one. The only issue is which one to go for?
As a hardy Apple fan you would be forgiven for expecting me to run out and buy an Apple watch as soon as it is released. However, I really don’t think I will, and there are a number of reasons;
Primarily my Pebble Steel smart watch! It is now almost 12 months old and gives me all the notifications from my iPhone really well. The software is constantly being evolved as well with the most recent including health tracking. However the most important thing for me is that I get at least 5 days use between charges…
Secondly, Apple products are invariably best from the second or third version (the iPhone being a classic example) and I expect this to be the case even more with the watch. Don’t get me wrong, it will still be great, but just not as good as it could (or should?) be.
Thirdly, as with many of the new smart watches it appears to me to be trying to achieve too much rather than doing a few things really well. That is great if you can pull it off – but again I come back to point two above.
So at this stage I will stay with my Pebble – in my view this is still the best smart watch out there, No it doesn’t have a flashy colour touch screen, but that is why the battery lasts as long as it does, and I can see it in very bright sunlight – try that with all the others….
Apple will be market leaders in wearable tech, but not yet – their watch will probably be the best of the rest in its first version…
Bet you never thought you would hear me say that!
We are all becoming increasingly reliant upon the world of Apps – be it in the Microsoft, Apple or Google eco systems. We run our lives in the cloud on mobile devices and with total reliance upon various software, apps or similar.
I am an unashamed Apple fan, our household is now totally Apple based and my working life is only partially blighted by the world of Microsoft! The recent update by Apple to OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and its link to iOS 8 is brilliant so I am a ‘happy chappy’ at the moment.
However, what has become very clear to me in recent months is just how reliant we can become on certain apps on our phones or tablets, and what a pain it is when one (or more) stops working! Let me explain;
I have for years run financial software on my phone and home computer, initially on Windows mobile and then since the dawn of the iPhone on that. I had to make a move when I swapped to an iPhone and had been very happy with a program called ‘pocket money’, it had a sister app called ‘mpg’ which allowed me to record my mileage and fuel economy and link fuel purchases directly back into pocket money. Sadly the developer of both apps died around 12 months ago, there was supposed to be a person taking on the development but this has not happened and now the apps are no longer bug free (or even available in the App Store).
So I have had to find alternatives – which you would think would be easy, but I can assure you it isn’t! Despite there being a huge number of financial apps available most are frankly poor, the same with mileage and fuel logging apps.
Luckily I have found two good ones; Account Tracker for my banking, and Road Trip for my mileage, but the upheaval of transferring data and setting it back up has been quite disruptive – not something I want to repeat in a hurry! We are about to have a move to the cloud at work, hopefully I am now well prepared for that as well!
Back in January I ordered a Pebble Steel smart watch (or more accurately my wife did for my Birthday). It took a while to arrive, but when it did I loved it, the question is after 6 months do I still love it (and is there anything yet I would swap it for)?
Firstly as a wearable watch it has at least a 5 day battery life, and because it has a black and white screen it is very easy to see it bright sunlight (it also has a back light which can be switched on with a ‘flick of the wrist’). I can also change watch faces to suite my mood – it can be traditional or more ‘random’ – and can include weather information, my next appointment – almost anything!
I do find the ability to see who is calling me or who an email or text is from without having to pull out my iPhone incredibly useful. Yes, I still have to grab my phone to speak to a caller (although I can drop a call from the watch) and I can’t speak to people via the watch – but it allows me to screen calls. Emails and texts can be screened in a similar way. It is great if I am in a meeting, I can look briefly at my watch and see what has hit my phone without picking it up. Much less intrusive on the meeting and not as rude! Plus the look on people’s faces when they realise ‘the watch’ is showing emails or callers details is priceless!
When I am on site and have my hands full of a clipboard, tape measure and camera it fulfils a similar role, if I am in a large empty factory it is often a pain to have to put everything on the floor to get my phone out – when I may not actually need to!
And then there are the ‘apps’ that can be installed on the watch. The most used one I have is Smartwatch+, this can do a variety of things, but I use it to put my appointments on the watch, my task list, the weather and the stock market (specific share prices).
I also have an app called PebbGPS, it uses the iPhone to provide turn by turn directions to my wrist – surprisingly useful when walking across London or a similar sized city. It can also link to RunKeeper and provides times, distances etc to the watch.
Using UK Transport I can find out when the next bus or tube is due (it finds where you are and provides the closest stops). I also have been using a World Cup app that gave me up to the minute scores in the big games, and an App for the cricket (similar to the World Cup one). So the main points are…
The good things;
- I can ‘screen’ emails, calls, texts when otherwise engaged
- It is clear to see in the brightest sun
- I can swap to different watch faces
- Using apps it can provide various information without pulling out my iPhone
- It’s waterproof – handy for an electrical item!
- 5 day battery life
- It can control my iPod music
The less good things;
- B&W display (not actually a big issue)
- It works best with iOS rather than Android (not a problem for me..)
- not much else
In a nutshell I am still as taken with it as when I goy it, it is still a source of interest / amusement from colleagues and clients, but it does I think add something to my life. It will be interesting to see how Apples iWatch compares when it appears but at the moment I wouldn’t replace it with anything else….
This year has been rather busy at work and at home, consequently something had to give, and it was my blog….
Well I am intending to address that and fully intend to ‘get back on the blogging wagon’ for 2014 – and as a first step I think it’s time for a redesign to something more contemporary…..
My love of all things ‘Apple’ is well known, my family have grown used to my ‘need’ to visit the Apple stores in any of the Cities we visit when on holiday. They are however generally Apple converts as well now (apart from my Son’s interest in PC’s for gaming which worries me somewhat!).
I was a Psion user back in the days when the average laptop was built like a brick, weighed a ton, and was very slow to boot up. My Psion Netbook on the other hand was instant on, had a full colour screen (it was also a touch screen), had a great keypad and was small and light enough to fit in a small briefcase. It would also talk to our network at work and had amazing battery life (remember that on the old Nokia phones?).
People used to be amazed by it and often asked what it was. Sadly Psion was left behind by the market (and lack of development) and was a distant memory by the time the iPhone appeared on the scene. Now iPhone, iPad etc are common tools (and I love them as much as the next person) – but I have always had a longing for a replacement for my Psion – until now.
I have been keen to try a MacBook Air for some time, but cost and battery life were an issue – however the latest version offers 9 hours battery on the 11 inch version (12 hours on the 13 inch!) so I have bitten the bullet (or more accurately my wife has kindly brought me one) . It is amazing! It actually weighs less than my old Psion, runs a full OS – not a mobile one – so I can work on full documents in Word, Excel etc. It is also incredibly thin and consequently easy to pack into a bag or brief case – truly portable.
It is frankly an amazing machine and I finally feel as if I have the true spiritual replacement for my Psion Netbook. The only thing that could improve it? A touch screen………
One of the things I managed to do while in America last week was to visit a Microsoft shop (it was next door to Apple so I didn’t have to go far out of my way) – I was interested to have a look at the Surface – Microsofts take on a tablet. It runs Windows 8 (in two forms) but with touch rather than using the non touch version of Win8 that does not appear to have been received with much enthusiasm anywhere!
In the UK I had failed to find a working surface in any store, so I was interested to see what it was like – and to be fair it’s not a bad piece of kit, although even with the recent price drop it is still rather expensive (and quite chunky). Also the keyboard cover (which is clever) is an extra and adds to the cost). What was more interesting however was the fact that in the Microsoft store – which was quite large – there wasn’t a single non touch screen PC or laptop on display (and there were a lot)!
Now if you take it that probably 90% of PC’s are traditional non touch units you have to wonder quite what Microsoft are up to? Do they expect all their users to replace their machines as well as their software when they update to Windows 8.
I actually think windows 8 looks and works OK (much as Windows Phone does), but do they really think they can ignore the non touch market?