Wednesday, April 6, 2016 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Improving the Apple Watch Without New Hardware

Tim Schmitz:

How often do you really want to send a drawing or heartbeat to someone using your watch? If you’re like me, almost never. On a device that has only two physical buttons, it certainly seems like a waste to devote one of them to a communication panel that almost always goes unused. At the very least, I’d like to see Apple let users assign that button to another function. Alternatively, it could bring up another menu (perhaps Glances?) that might be used more frequently. The same goes, at least in part, for the crown itself. Fixing the app launcher would help make it feel like clicking the crown at least opens something useful.

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Ultimately, a lot of the limitations of the first Apple Watch relate to the hardware. The CPU is too slow and/or the battery too small for the watch to be as snappy and responsive as I’d like. At the same time, a few software updates can go a long way. I hope Apple has enough of an open mind about the Apple Watch as a platform to re-think some things about how it works. Even with the same limited hardware, it could be a much more useful device with a few relatively small changes.

Update (2016-04-14): Nick Heer:

The Apple Watch of today is one that I like very, very much. It fits my life and what I do every single day. […] Weirdly, I have a hard time recommending the Watch to others. It works very well for me and my life, and it might work very well for you, too, but it feels a bit like an old Italian car right now: very desirable, but something that you’d recommend cautiously.

Richard Turton:

The watch is not just a small-screened iPhone, in the same way that an iPhone is not just a small-screened Mac. The usage patterns, interactions and user intentions are completely different. No matter how great the watch hardware becomes, users are never going to want to interact with it for more than a few seconds.

2 Comments

I've had a theory for a while now that Apple isn't going to significantly bump up the specs of the Apple Watch. They might make other hardware changes, like better/more health sensors, and of course the design will improve. But I don't think they're going to focussing on bumping up the CPU.

With the 2GB allowance of RAM in the recent Pro model of iPad I think I might be seeing a trend and wrote about it here: http://www.mackungfu.org/the-2gb-ipad-shocker-what-it-might-mean

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