You're prone to notice plot holes in movies you dislike. A plot hole is something that doesn't make sense in the narrative, for example, how Indiana Jones survives the submarine trip through half the world in Raiders of Lost Ark. If you're enjoying a movie, unless these screw ups slap you in the face, you won't spot them. That's the magic on leading someone through a 2-hour experience. This is the bubble Apple burst in their latest keynote.
After you break the experience, there's no way to bring it back. It is difficult to point the exact moment when it happened, but checking back my tweets on the event, I skipped the iPhone announcement since I was more worried to rant about the streaming. My only tweet directed to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus reads: Honestly, I think they're ugly as hell..
Looking back, I understand Apple's need to level the game against Samsung, and that seems to be the sole purpose for the new iPhone family. Besides the size, can you recall anything truly new about these devices? Apple Pay is interesting, but may take years until it becomes essential, then we have a feature called Focus Pixels on the camera, which I couldn't bother less, and the A8 chip, barely mentioned. There was nothing as groundbreaking as everything we saw in last year's event. Just to prove my point, check Apple's own comparison of its iPhone models 1.
What truly worries me about the iPhone 6 is the raison d'être of its 4.7" model. See, if Apple released the iPhone 6 as a 4" device, people would buy it anyway because whoever is picking an iPhone 6 now is not due to its screen size, but because they want/need the latest iPhone model and can't bear the abnormal screen of the 6 Plus. I bet that if they could pick an iPhone 6 with a 4" display, they would, after all, there's barely no difference, even the layout functionalities introduced in the keynote were directed mostly for the iPhone 6 Plus.
This is the moment Apple lost me. I think the Apple Watch is the most poorly projected device I could expect from Apple. After the introduction of the different models, everything fell apart for me.
First, they avoid discussing the battery life, but let's pretend it goes as Tim Cook says and lasts a day. One of the reasons why I'd want something on my wrist would be sleep tracking, but if the battery lasts one day, they expect me to charge it while I sleep, right? Damn, one of the greatest things about a watch is that it just works without charging for months.
On a veiled critic to other smart watches, Apple stands they did not reduced the iOS interface to the watch size. But that's exactly what they did! There are some gimmicks here and there, but that's pretty much a smart phone on its own. Actually, it has all the bad stuff that comes with an iPhone, like third-party applications sending invasive push notifications, and not all the good stuff, such as a keyboard.
Here's the deal, no one expected Apple to port a keyboard on its watch2. We didn't expect plenty of the things announced. But we were not delighted by the surprise.
What raged me the most is how much information Apple simply omitted on our face at the event. Besides the battery life, while Kevin Lynch was showing how the digital crown works on Maps and how it was created to avoid gestures that would cover the screen, he swipes to move around the location, which covers the whole screen for a split second. Same for the home screen. The problem with a swipe gesture on such a tiny device is that you have no idea where you're going until you stop.
I believe the iPad works because you can detach yourself from it. No phone calls, no SMS messages. You can build a world within your iPad where you're out of reach, which makes it perfect for businesses, meetings, presentations, etc. The iPad is not your whole personal life, but a role you can pick whenever you need to. It is the non-personal version of the iPhone and that's why they never collide.
The bloat of functionality packed into the Apple Watch makes it divisively personal. We built our iPhone since the first we got to become our most personal device, it holds everything about us, even naked selfies. Now this new thing crashes the party and wants to take the iPhone's seat. Won't happen anytime soon.
Consider receiving a message. Your watch rings, you check it, but you can't reply it with an emoticon, a bad drawing or your freaking heart beat, so you pick your phone. After a while you stop trusting your Watch and every time it vibrates, for a split second, you consider if you shouldn't just skip steps and pull your phone anyway, because you know that, whatever it is, you'll be able to deal with it on your iPhone, the Watch, however, holds enough limitations to be a dependent device.
Of course, perhaps the Watch was conceived to be a companion device, that's why it needs to be paired to an iPhone. But then why pack so much into it? And why the hell would I want to play music from my wrist? To bother people on the bus? Wait, the Apple Watch was not made for whom take a bus, not even for those who walk their errands.
I bought my soon-to-be-replaced-for-a-5s second-handed iPhone 4 by the end of 2012, 2 years and half after its release for the amount that would be U$ 427 nowadays3. I had a Nokia 5130 before that and something changed after I got my iPhone: I feared losing it. I still don't pick up a phone call on the street or in the bus, sometimes I hide my phone (often between my glove and my jacket on winter) while crossing some alleys. I don't listen to music most of the time because the earplugs denounce me. I don't take my phone with me when I go out because I'm afraid to be mugged.
But here's the thing, the iPhone is in my pocket, so I'm less exposed. The shiny thing on your wrist? That's a freaking spotlight upon you in the street and I can sense thieves salivating to bump you in the wrong corner4. Worst, the damn thing doesn't even fit properly under the shirt cuff according to this review5, which explains why Tim Cook wrapped his sleeves on stage while we all thought he was only showing the product.
I can't add more fear to my life, I'll replace my iPhone 4 for a 5s soon, yet nothing will change. Its fear is already part of my life, but I wouldn't dare to stack another layer into it for such poor trade off.
The Apple Watch is so much of a replica of the iPhone in functionality I'd feel betrayed if it gained features absent on my phone. It offers so little convenience on what we already got for a steep price and high exposure that, turns out, it suffers from "existential issues" much deeper than the iPhone 6.
It is a show off device and, honestly, if you have nothing else to worry about, like bills to pay, go buy it, otherwise, I promise you, everything will be fine.
How could I forget the iPhone 6 also has a barometer? ↩
I've added the values only for you to grasp on how expensive Apple products are in Brazil. Just pick any unlocked Apple product in the US, double its price and you got the Brazilian price. Therefore, the entry level for the Apple Watch won't be less than U$ 700 in a country where the minimum wage is 3 times lower than the US. ↩
Think I'm being pessimistic? When the 5c/5s were released, I went to an Apple retail nearby to check the models. I saw a sales pitch that also mentioned theft insurance for extra $200/year. Nobody sells insurance because something will definitely happen, otherwise their profit would be nil, but something people fear to happen. That's how bad the scenario is. ↩
The Apple Watch doesn't fit under my shirt cuff without serious effort, if at all. I believe that great design should not disrupt daily life, and a watch that doesn't fit under a shirt sleeve is missing something.