iWatch

Apple ‘watch’ – will I buy one?

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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;

Apple 'Watch"
Apple ‘Watch”

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.

Marrakech - very sunny!
Marrakech – very sunny!

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!

My new toy…….. Pebble Steel.

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20140209-132924.jpgI blogged just before Christmas about the Pebble watch, I was in two minds about getting one to try. Basically it is a ‘smart watch’ that acts as an extension to a smart phone (such as an iPhone). It shows received emails, messages, calls,  it can use apps to give bus or flight times, show the weather, act as a gps, show my diary etc – you get the idea.

In the end I held off because I wasn’t keen on the plastic design which would have been rather large on my ‘small’ wrists. However, just after Christmas Pebble announced that they were releasing the Pebble Steel – a much more upmarket design made from steel (no surprise there) – it was more expensive but was also smaller and would arrive with the long-awaited software upgrade to version 2, which would bring further benefits and improvements to its abilities. That was enough for me, I ordered one on-line during the announcement (a Birthday present from my wife). Delivery wouldn’t until mid Feb but I was happy to wait….

Well, I must have been one of the earliest people to order one as it was dispatched on the day of release from the factory in China and arrived on the 31st of January (take note Royal Mail). The software update with the new app store arrived a week later and I have now been using the watch for a week and am rather impressed. I know some people ‘don’t get it’ and think it is just a novelty, but it has already proved its worth – let me explain;

If I am inspecting property as part of my work I tend to have my hands pretty full; clipboard, camera, tape measure as a minimum, my iPhone is consequently in my pocket. Any emails or calls received previously required me to stop, put things down and pull out my phone to see if it needed dealing with. Now I can see who is calling and decide to answer or drop the call from my wrist. I can also see if that email or text is important or can wait in the same way. This sounds a small thing but it can make a huge difference to my time spent on site.

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An example of different screens…

This last weekend in London I kept my phone in a pocket to keep it away from any ‘undesirables’ – if I was on a noisy street that in the past would cause me to miss calls or messages as they came in. Not anymore – a vibration on my wrist and I can ‘filter’ them without having to pull out my phone and draw attention to it.

And the last and perhaps coolest thing is an app I have for the Pebble called Pebbgps, it allows me to get directions from the gps on my iPhone direct to my wrist, so walking across London from A – B was so easy (and it worked really well). Again no iPhone out for someone to snatch.

So all in all a very good piece of kit – it will be interesting to see what Apple come up with in their upcoming iWatch – it will need to be very good to better the Pebble.