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Apple disables Walkie Talkie app due to vulnerability that could allow iPhone eavesdropping • TechCrunch
Matthew Panzarino:
<p>Apple has disabled the Apple Watch Walkie Talkie app due to an unspecified vulnerability that could allow a person to listen to another customer’s iPhone without consent, the company told TechCrunch this evening.

Apple has apologized for the bug and for the inconvenience of being unable to use the feature while a fix is made.

The Walkie Talkie app on Apple Watch allows two users who have accepted an invite from each other to receive audio chats via a “push to talk” interface reminiscent of the PTT buttons on older cell phones.</p>

People use the Walkie Talkie app? Amazing.
apple  watch  security  vulnerability  hacking 
6 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple Watch has record breaking quarter and it's not letting up • Wareable
James Stables:
<p>“The [Apple Watch business] is now about the size of a Fortune 200 company, an amazing statistic when you consider it’s only been four years since we delivered the very first Apple Watch,” said Tim Cook, Apple CEO.

Impressive stuff, as Apple CFO Luca Maestri explained:

“Wearables, home and accessories revenue set a new March quarter revenue record at 5.1 billion, fuelled primarily by the strong performance of our wearables business, which grew close to 50%.

“Within this category, Apple Watch is the best-selling and most loved smartwatch in the world, and produced its best results ever for a non-holiday quarter. It’s reaching many new customers, with three-quarters of purchases going to customers who have never owned an Apple Watch before,”

This confirms what we already know – that Apple is totally bossing the smartwatch market.

But it shows how much appetite there is for this segment, and that’s good news for everyone. The walled garden of iOS and high ticket price means there’s always room for other companies to play, which explains the success of the Fitbit Versa and Samsung Galaxy Watch.

However, as CCS Insight’s Ben Wood tweeted, it’s also a great lock-in. The Apple Watch can only be used with iPhones, so those millions of people who are investing are far more likely to stay within the iOS ecosystem with a new iPhone.</p>

Since you're wondering, Fortune 200 companies in 2018 had annual revenues of more than $14.6bn. If you assume a $400 ASP, that's 36.5m Watches sold in the 12-month period. Meanwhile, everyone in London seems to have AirPods.
Apple  watch  smartwatch 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Tiny new Palm at Verizon positioned as 'accessory' smartphone and we guess that's a thing now? • Android Police
Corbin Davenport:
<p>Last year, TCL announced that new devices with Palm branding would launch in 2018, and the first phone leaked a few months ago. The tiny 3.3-inch Palm phone is now official, and it's coming to Verizon next month for a whopping $349.99.

Rather than being an independent phone, it functions as a 'Connected device,' similar to a smartwatch. You have to pay an extra $10/month, and it will receive the same phone calls and SMS messages as your main phone. TCL is positioning it as a secondary device for when you need a break from your regular phone.</p>

A... what? So a smartwatch, basically. Except phone-shaped and won't fit on your wrist. The basketball player Stephen Curry launched it... with <a href="">a tweet from an iPhone</a>.

palm  watch 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple Watch, hired jet, mystery vehicle figure in search for missing Saudi dissident • Reuters
Orhan Coskun, Sarah Dadouch, Stephen Kalin:
<p>[Jamal] Khashoggi flew back to Istanbul from London on Monday evening, Oct 1. The following morning, he spoke again with consul worker Sultan, who told him to collect the document at 1 p.m the same day.

Outside the consulate, a low rise building at the edge of one of Istanbul’s business districts, Khashoggi handed Cengiz his two mobile phones, the fiancee told Reuters. He left instructions that she should call Aktay, the Erdogan aide, if he didn’t reappear. Khashoggi was wearing his black Apple Watch, connected to one of the phones, when he entered the building.

A senior Turkish government official and a senior security official said the two inter-connected devices are at the heart of the investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“We have determined that it was on him when he walked into the consulate,” the security official said. Investigators are trying to determine what information the watch transmitted. “Intelligence services, the prosecutor’s office and a technology team are working on this. Turkey does not have the watch so we are trying to do it through connected devices,” he said.

Tech experts say an Apple Watch can provide data such as location and heart rate. But what investigators can find out depends on the model of watch, whether it was connected to the internet, and whether it is near enough an iPhone to synchronize.</p>

The Saudi regime has denied up and down that it knows where Khashoggi is - or was. Non-Saudi CCTV at front and back shows him going in, but not out; the Saudi consulate says "oh wow, our internal CCTV wasn't working that day."

But open source data (such as flight trackers available to everyone, showing two private flights arriving and departing Turkey and Riyadh that day) - and his Apple Watch - could be enough to demonstrate what increasingly is feared: a despotic regime killed a vociferous opponent. If the Apple Watch's signal died inside the consulate, or went somewhere else, it tells you all you need to know.
saudi  apple  watch 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
watchOS 5: The BirchTree Review • BirchTree
Matt Birchler:
<p>The Apple Watch journey has been all about figuring out what people like to do on their smart watches and optimizing watchOS to match. Those categories seem to have settled on activity tracking, listening to audio, handling notifications, communicating with others, and getting general information quickly. watchOS 5 addresses all of those categories and almost all changes are for the better. The worst thing I can say is that a good number of these updates require third party app developers to update their apps to use them. Given how much better this makes the watch experience, I’d expect to see updates very soon that include these changes.

There are a lot of changes to activity tracking and workouts, including things that FitBit users used to be able to lord over the Apple Watch. Automatic workout detection is only the tip of the iceberg here, there’s much more. The Siri watch face, my favorite new feature from last year, got the best update it possibly could: third party app integrations. This means that all your favorite apps, not just Apple’s, will be shown on your watch face. Podcast and audiobook apps can now make honest-to-goodness amazing apps on the watch, and they can even download content and play in the background. And if you don’t want to use a third party app, Apple’s brand new Podcasts app for the Apple Watch is quite nice.</p>

He picks up on a lot of subtle little points; this captures them all neatly. The easier access to "Now Playing" (so you can change the volume or change the track with a tap from the home screen) is huge; so is being able to edit the Control Centre - which, as he says, you'll do once and never again, but of course it'll be perfect (for you) after that once.
apple  watch  os5 
september 2018 by charlesarthur
This startup CEO says that Apple is using 'alternative facts' to market the new Apple Watch • Business Insider
Kif Leswing:
<p>"We were watching [the announcement], and we were surprised," Gundotra said. "It was amazing, it was like us being on stage, with the thing we've been doing for 7 years," referring to AliveCor's product for detecting atrial fibrillation (AFib), a tough-to-spot heart disorder that manifests as an irregular, often quick heart rate that can cause poor circulation.

"Although when they said they were first to go over-the-counter, we were surprised," he continued. "Apple doesn't like to admit they copy anyone, even in the smallest things. Their own version of alternative facts."

The fact that a huge tech giant is entering their corner of health-tech validates AliveCor's approach, Gundotra said. "I commend them, it's the very mission we've been on," he said, saying making ECG readings more accessible is "insanely important" and "will save lives."

One key difference that will distinguish AliveCor from the Apple Watch is price, says Gundotra: AliveCor's hardware starts at $99. The new Apple Watch Series 4 with ECG hardware — it won't be enabled until later this year, through a new app, Apple said — costs $399. Many people who need at-home ECG are price sensitive, he says.

"Ours is $99, theirs is $399, our sales popped yesterday, big time," he said.

Gundotra is also hopeful that his company's expertise in machine learning and branching into other conditions will help it fend off trillion-dollar competitors. Earlier this week, AliveCor received "breakthrough status" at the FDA for its work detecting hyperkalemia, a potassium disorder.

"We love that Apple is validating AFib; just wait until you see what AliveCor is going to do next," he said. "We were a great restaurant in a remote section of town, and someone just opened a giant restaurant right next to us, bringing a lot more attention."</p>

An embedded tweet in the story by Christina Farr explains: though AliveCor is OTC, a doctor reviews the first ECG to "unlock" it (within 24 hours). Apple's FDA clearance means it can be used right away.

Oh, and one of AliveCor's <a href="">two consumer products</a> is... an Apple Watch band. Too expensive, eh?
watch  afib  health  apple 
september 2018 by charlesarthur
The Apple Watch is getting a new feature that can monitor heart health — here's why that matters • CNBC
Christina Farr:
<p>That's according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who issued a research note seen by CNBC on Monday. The note said that the ECG "will attract more users." Kuo is known for having a particularly strong track record for predicting updates for Apple products.
Assuming Kuo is correct, Apple releasing an ECG is a big deal for people with certain diseases. But it's also complicated because the company would need to figure out how to communicate sensitive medical information to consumers without freaking them out. The last thing Apple would want to do with its device is send tens of thousands of anxious users into the emergency room thinking they're having a life-threatening medical problem when they're not.

So after talking to a series of health experts, including cardiologists and technologists, here are some questions we're asking on the eve of the event:

1) Will Apple need approval from federal regulators?

It depends. If Apple shows the ECG reading to a consumer, then yes. That would make the Apple Watch a regulated medical device. But Vic Gundotra, CEO of AliveCor, a start-up making big waves in the space, sees another path. He suggests that the company could use the ECG to get more accurate heart rate data, which wouldn't necessarily require an approval process. That's because Apple might not want to take on the risk of providing erroneous information back to a user.

"Is Apple ready to take on that kind of liability? I doubt it," he said.

If Apple decides to go down the regulatory route, the company faces another decision. It might need to the green light for its ECG sensor as well as the algorithms that sit on top of it that provide feedback to users ("abnormal" or "normal", for instance). AliveCor did that, so we know it's possible. As Gundotra recalls, the FDA approved both the algorithms and the hardware at the same time.</p>

Gundotra, of course, is the ex-Microsoft, ex-Google guy (famous for tweeting about Windows Phone tying up with Nokia that "two turkeys don't make an eagle").

Farr seems awfully confident about the ECG facility.
Apple  watch  ecg 
september 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple looks to develop chip for processing health data • CNBC
Jordan Novet and Christina Farr:
<p>Building custom chips for narrow functions can help Apple add new features and improve efficiency of its hardware while protecting its intellectual property from would-be imitatotrs.

A July 10 job posting from Apple's Health Sensing hardware team says, "We are looking for sensor ASIC architects to help develop ASICs for new sensors and sensing systems for future Apple products. We have openings for analog as well as digital ASIC architects."

It's not clear what the sensors would measure, but it appears to be information from the body. An Aug. 1 posting said simply that the team wants to bring on an engineer who can "help develop health, wellness, and fitness sensors." And a June job listing shows the team was looking to keep working with optical sensors. Currently available Apple Watches have optical sensors that can measure heart rate.</p>
apple  watch  medical  health 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
The Apple Watch has found a surprisingly useful home with everyone that works on their feet • Quartz
Mike Murphy:
<p>You might’ve noticed that the person who took your order at the bar, brought you the shoes you wanted to try on, or perhaps even patted you down at the airport security line, is sporting an Apple Watch, which starts at $329 for the newest Series 3 watch. And there’s a pretty simple explanation: Many service-industry jobs where employees have to be on their feet all day don’t allow workers to check their phones while they’re on the clock. But that rule doesn’t necessarily apply to a piece of unobtrusive jewelry that happens to let you text your friends and check the weather.

Quartz spoke with airline attendants, bartenders, waiters, baristas, shop owners, and (very politely) TSA employees who all said the same thing: The Apple Watch keeps them in touch when they can’t be on their phones at work. Apple has increasingly been pushing the watch as a health device, and seems to have moved away from marketing it as one that offers more basic utility, as Apple continues do with the iPhone. But given that roughly 23% of the US labor force works in wholesale or retail operations, perhaps it’s a market Apple should reconsider.</p>

I don't think Apple is "not considering" the market of people who aren't meant to be standing around looking at their phones. Though it might consider some adverts targeting them.
apple  watch  wearable 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
The last Apple Watch boutique is closing, and good riddance • Macworld
Leif Johnson:
<p>Far on the other side of the world, an Apple store is dying. It’s not the usual blocky space filled with randos checking their email on carefully arranged display iMacs, but rather the last dedicated Apple Watch boutique in Tokyo’s Isetan Shinjuku department store. Apple probably would prefer you not know about it, and indeed most of the world learned about its May 13 shutdown not through an official announcement but rather from a tweet depicting a simple printout. Only three of these stores ever existed—the last two died back in London’s Selfridges and Paris Galeries Lafayette early last year—and this one’s closure seems to mark the last gasp of Apple’s push into explicit luxury marketing.

Good riddance. May we never see its like again.

Never before was Apple so unintentionally successful at making a mockery of itself than it was in the early days of the Apple Watch. Even The Onion may not have anticipated that a company known for pricey items would slather an Apple Watch in 18-karat gold and slap a $10,000 to $17,000 price tag on it. Apple, a company known for making devices that people seek out of their own volition, found itself practically begging celebrities like Beyoncé and Karl Lagerfeld to slap its lavish new watches on their wrists. It was embarrassing, in a way, as it reeked of the trend of celebrities praising their sponsored non-Apple devices from the comfort of their iPhones, save that this time Apple was on the receiving end.

But more importantly, never before had Apple strayed so far from Steve Jobs’ claim to Fortune in 2008 that “Apple’s DNA has always been to try to democratize technology.”</p>

Indeed - the Edition never fitted into the Apple aim of being like Andy Warhol's description of Coca-Cola: that everyone could drink it and it would be the same product.
apple  watch  store 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Watches, not phones, fuel Verizon's subscriber growth • Bloomberg
Scott Moritz:
<p>Smartwatches, meanwhile, have helped bring another source of revenue to the industry -- even if the devices aren’t as lucrative as phones. The latest wearable devices, such as the Apple Watch Series 3, have their own network connections. That means they don’t need to link up with smartphones to communicate and - good news for carriers - require a separate wireless subscription.

Verizon added about 359,000 subscribers last quarter who are using watches, wearables and other devices. That helped make up for the loss of 24,000 phone customers and 75,000 tablet customers in the period. But watch customers pay $10 a month, compared with the $40 or more that phone customers typically shell out.

That effect was evident in Verizon’s wireless service revenue, which fell 2.4 percent last quarter.

Verizon’s FiOS landline service, meanwhile, added 66,000 internet customers in the first quarter. But it lost 22,000 TV subscribers.</p>

Wonder how many of those 359,000 subscriber adds were Apple Watch users, compared to Samsung or others. The lost tablet customers is a big number, too.
apple  watch  verizon 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Global wearables market grows 7.7% in 4Q17 and 10.3% in 2017 as Apple seizes the leader position • IDC
<p>"The 10.3% year-over-year growth in 2017 is a marked decline from the 27.3% growth we saw in 2016," said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC's Wearables team. "The slowdown is not due to a lack of interest – far from it. Instead, we saw numerous vendors, relying on older models, exit the market altogether. At the same time, the remaining vendors – including multiple startups – have not only replaced them, but with devices, features, and services that have helped make wearables more integral in people's lives. Going forward, the next generation of wearables will make the ones we saw as recently as 2016 look quaint."

Apple, meanwhile, suddenly finds itself atop the wearables market. "Interest in smartwatches continues to grow and Apple is well-positioned to capture demand," added Llamas. "User tastes have become more sophisticated over the past several quarters and Apple pounced on the demand for cellular connectivity and streaming multimedia. What will bear close observation is how Apple will iterate upon these and how the competition chooses to keep pace."</p>

Fitbit is in real trouble; its sales are shrinking and it isn't getting users to upgrade. Xiaomi, well, it has the whole of China to sell to. I bet a lot of those who left the market were in the Android Wear space. It's Huawei and nobody else there just now.
Androidwear  wearable  apple  watch 
march 2018 by charlesarthur
The LTE Apple Watch is a glimpse into the not-so-distant future • BirchTree
Matt Birchler got an Apple Watch Series 3, and has a mobile connection set up, and he's really happy with making calls and sending messages while not having to carry a phone on his run:
<p>AirPods also behaved swimmingly on this workout. I’d never paired them to this Apple Watch before, but since they’re both linked to my iCloud account, the watch was able to see the AirPods and connect to them without a fuss. Interacting with AirPods is nice and easy too. I have mine set up where tapping the left will play/pause and tapping the right will skip to the next track. watchOS 4 helpfully displays your media controls on screen and in the Workout app, but being able to just tap my ear to move onto the next song is a little easier to do mid-run.

And like I said, because my Apple Watch has an LTE connection, I was also able to place and receive messages during this workout, I could check when the Packers were playing the next day, and even place a call (just to see if I could). The only smartphone thing I really missed was the camera. It was a night run, so I would not have taken any pictures anyway, but I do sometimes shoot quick photos while out in the world on a workout, and I would hate too miss a cool moment because =I simply didn’t have a camera with me. God help me, I think I want a camera on the next Apple Watch!

As any Android fan will tell you, Apple is not the first to this game. There have been LTE Android Wear watches for a couple years now, so I’m just an Apple fanboy who has never left the Apple bubble and thinks Apple does everything first even though they’re years behind. So left me make it clear, I have a drawer full of Android phones that I use regularly, and I have had the uh, pleasure of using an LTE-equipped Android Wear watch and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt the experience was far more clunky and less enjoyable than my experience last night. My short time doing similar things with all Android devices made me think “maybe we will always need smartphones for everything, because this sucks” while the watchOS experience left me literally giddy with excitement for the future.</p>

(That point about being able to specify what taps on each AirPod will do might have passed you by, but it's new in iOS 11.)

The integration of the Watch and AirPods is remarkable, and this is definitely what Apple sees as a tempting possibility - but is it limited only to those who want to exercise?
apple  watch  applewatch  wearable 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple Watch Series 3's "LTE problems" are actually an existing Wi-Fi bug • iMore
Serenity Caldwell:
<p>Like your iPhone, your Apple Watch has a Wi-Fi antenna inside of it, which allows it to connect directly to Wi-Fi networks (or via your iPhone) rather than always using your cellular data.

Where the two devices differ is in how they can connect: The Apple Watch doesn't have an Auto-Join Wi-Fi screen, or a place to select networks. Nor does it have an option to dictate or Scribble in passwords. In short: Your Apple Watch can't connect to Wi-Fi unless your iPhone has first connected to it.

Essentially, when your iPhone connects to a Wi-Fi hotspot and enters in the password while you're also connected to Apple Watch, your iPhone syncs that information over to your Watch.

Apple Watch can then access that information and connect to a network — even if you visit that location in the future with only your watch. That way, you can use all of your Apple Watch's online capabilities in Wi-Fi areas (like Messages, Maps, and any third-party apps) whether you have a GPS + Cellular model or a Series 0 Apple Watch.

Sounds easy enough, right? Unfortunately, there are a few limitations.</p>

It seems like it grabs onto open Wi-Fi networks (eg Starbucks) that you've previously joined, but can't authenticate, and so gets stuck. Neil Cybart, though, points out that the people who had trouble with the LTE calling were using AT&T - and thinks there's something going on there. We'll have to see how things go in the UK.
apple  watch  wifi 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
After crisis and collapse, Jack Heuer’s time has come again • FT
Simon de Burton:
<p>Mr Heuer [as in Tag Heuer, the watches] has already experienced one calamity in the watch industry. In 1958, at the age of 26, he had gone to work for Heuer, the company founded in 1860 by his great-grandfather, Edouard. Twenty years later, the “quartz crisis”, when Japanese companies’ cheap quartz-powered watches destroyed historical Swiss brands, brought a 22% drop in Swiss watch exports and coincided with a 20% fall in the value of the Swiss franc against the dollar. In 1982, the financial situation defeated him: Heuer-Leonidas was sold to the first of a succession of owners, before being taken over by TAG. As he writes in his autobiography: “I was five months away from my 50th birthday and ruined.”

Now, almost four years after officially retiring as TAG Heuer’s honorary chairman, a role he had held since 2001, he will step aside for good at the end of this year. So how does he compare the difficulties faced by today’s watch industry to those he battled 35 years ago?

“I think the big difference this time is that there is both a technical challenge from the smartwatch [comparable to the arrival of quartz] and a mental slowdown with the end consumer — people have become used to being able to see the precise time on their mobile phones and perhaps feel they no longer have a need for a traditional watch.

“To me, that is a more disturbing factor than the competition from the smartwatch. In fact, I think it could be a potential killer for the industry because, unlike the smartwatch, the mobile phone does nothing to help the worldwide development of wristwatch sales — and I don’t think that danger has yet been fully addressed.”</p>
heuer  watch  smartwatch 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Screw my iPhone, I just want the new Apple Watch • Fast Co Design
Jesus Diaz:
<p>This is a tiny device that I can wrap around my wrist to connect me to other people beaming signals through space without having to look like too much of a douchebag. I can take it with me at all times without worrying about it getting dropped or stolen. I use it to do everything I do with my iPhone except take photos and videos. I can access all the music I have in the cloud and listen to it in my AirPods. And it has new, enhanced heart monitoring software–the icing on the cake that will alert me when I have a heart attack on my way from the sofa to the fridge to lick the actual icing on the actual cake that is waiting for me right now.

Can I ditch my iPhone and live with an Apple Watch Series 3? Yes, if it truly works as advertised, I think I can. Like me, I suspect millions will look at this watch as an alternative to their phones–if not as a complete replacement, at least as a replacement for a large part of their day. The phone is still better for things that require concentration, like extensive writing, reading, or viewing large photos and videos. But I only do those things for work, and only on very specific occasions.</p>

Alas, US carriers are pricing the data plan for the new Watch at $10/month - which is a ripoff. Consider: when you're using the Watch, you're pretty much certainly not using your phone, so you're not using data on it. And you'd have to be going some to use any appreciable amount of data on the Watch. US carriers are greedy. (Three-month free trials don't solve anything. Drug dealers do the same.)

One can hope for better in the UK and elsewhere. The first partner will be EE; don't expect that to be cheap either. Competition is needed from those who realise the marginal benefit of really cheap data plans.

Diaz's broader point, about the shift to smaller screens, is worth considering.
apple  watch  lte 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit well-positioned with new ionic smartwatch • Kantar Worldpanel
<p>Contrary to gloomy forecasts for some vendors resulting in part from the Apple Watch attracting much of the attention and enthusiasm, activity trackers continue to hold a strong lead in the market, making up 65% of the installed base versus 35% for smartwatches. But the momentum belongs to the smartwatches, which have experienced growth rates of more than 50% year-over-year, while the base for activity trackers grew just 15% during the same period.

In the US, Fitbit dominates the overall wearables space. Nearly half (47%) of all US wearables owners have a Fitbit. While 16% of owners in the wearables category have an Apple Watch, Apple dominates the smartwatch category, with a 41% share. Apple has performed very well in terms of wearables customer satisfaction, with buyers rating the Apple Watch an 8.6 out of 10. Fitbit customers give that company a slightly lower satisfaction rating (8.2 out of 10), but Fitbit’s latest offering, the Charge 2, draws level in satisfaction with the Apple Watch, also at 8.6 out of 10…

…Unlike the rapid growth seen in demand for smartphones, there does not appear to be a significant group of potential buyers for wearables waiting in the wings. Amongst those who do not currently own a wearable, a mere 4.6% tell us they will “probably” or “definitely” purchase one in the next 12 months.

Of those that intend to purchase, 39% say they will buy a smartwatch, 30% a fitness tracker, and 31% remain undecided.</p>

So about 1 in 20 looking to buy a wearable; overall, 1 in 50 looking for a smartwatch. Out of 100 million smartphone users, that would be 2m sold. Apple's doing better than that, so either demand is falling or it's very uneven.
wearable  watch  apple  fitbit 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple plans to release a cellular-capable Watch to break iPhone ties • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman, Scott Moritz and Ian King:
<p>Intel Corp. will supply the LTE modems for the new Watch, according to another person familiar with the situation. That’s a big win for the chipmaker, which has been trying for years to get its components into more Apple mobile devices. Qualcomm Inc. has been the main modem supplier for iPhones and other Apple mobile gadgets, but the two companies are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute. Apple added Intel as a modem supplier for some iPhones last year.

Apple is already in talks with carriers in the U.S. and Europe about offering the cellular version, the people added. The carriers supporting the LTE Apple Watch, at least at launch, may be a limited subset of those that carry the iPhone, one of the people said. However, AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. in the U.S. plan to sell the device, according to other people familiar with the matter. The new device could still be delayed beyond 2017 – indeed, the company had already postponed a cellular-capable smartwatch last year. Apple, Intel and the carriers declined to comment.</p>

It "could still be delayed"? Schrödinger's Watch. This would make sense, but only in the limited situations - as I see it - where you don't have your phone with you. When is that? In my experience, when you are out exercising. While a lot of people who have a Watch might use it to exercise, I'm not so sure many of them would want a data-capable Watch just for getting messages or similar while out and about.

Unless it could really do apps - such as Uber and so on. That might change things a little.
apple  watch  lte  intel 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
Artificial intelligence automatically detects atrial fibrillation • Heart Rhythm Society
<p>A new study shows that the Apple Watch's heart rate sensor, when paired with an artificial intelligence-based algorithm, can detect a serious and often symptomless heart arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation (AF). The new research uses a deep neural network based on photoplethysmographic (PPG) sensors commonly found in smart watches. The results of this study were presented today at Heart Rhythm 2017, the Heart Rhythm Society’s 38th Annual Scientific Sessions.

AF, the most common heart arrhythmia, affects more than 2.7 million American adults. While AF may present symptoms such as palpitations and fatigue, it is often asymptomatic, causing no alarm to doctors or patients and making diagnosis difficult. According to a national survey of 1,000 Americans, one in five Americans owns a wearable fitness tracker such as a smart watch or Fitbit1. With the growing number of people using this mobile technology, there is an opportunity to address public health issues such as undiagnosed AF in a way that is convenient for many.

The study enrolled 6,158 users of Cardiogram for Apple Watch into the UCSF Health eHeart Study. Data from those participants—including 139 million heart rate measurements and 6,338 mobile ECGs—was used to train a deep neural network to automatically distinguish atrial fibrillation from normal heart rhythm.</p>

Can this algorithm - and others like it - be incorporated into Watch OS 4? Seems like a pretty useful addition.
apple  watch  heart 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple watchOS 4 brings Intelligence to the wrist • Tech.pinions
Carolina Milanesi on the changes coming with the update later this year:
<p>With watchOS 4, Apple is making it simpler to get to the music you want for your workout thanks to a new multi-playlist support and automatic import.

Apple also introduced the new Siri face that makes Apple Watch much more context-aware by delivering information that is relevant to you at a specific moment in time. While Apple did not talk about it, one could see how that Siri Watch face could integrate very well with voice when you are wearing AirPods. Siri could, for instance, tell you that you need to leave for your meeting while showing you the calendar appointment on Apple Watch.

So, as Apple Watch becomes more like a coach, Siri becomes more a visible but discreet assistant that is being liberated from the iPhone. I think this is a very powerful paradigm and before nay-sayers jump to point out that Apple Watch penetration is limited, I underline that Apple Watch users are highly engaged in the Apple ecosystem and represent Siri’s best opportunity. Similar to CarPlay, Apple Watch also has a captivated audience not just for Siri’s brains but also for voice-first. With Apple Watch, voice interaction is the most natural form of interaction, especially when wearing AirPods. So much so that, with watchOS 4, SiriKit adds support for apps that are used to take notes, so that now you can use Siri on Apple Watch to make changes in any note-taking app.

Some Apple Watch critics have used the news that circulated last month that Google, Amazon, and eBay were killing support of their Apple Watch apps as evidence that Apple Watch failed. The reality is, however, as I explained numerous times, that Apple Watch cannot be seen as an iPhone on your wrist and therefore its success will not be driven nor defined by the same enablers.</p>

The fitness focus for the Watch is really, really effective. Those who have been trying out the beta of WatchOS 4 suggest the Siri face is really good too. Question is how to break out from the fitness niche.
apple  watch  os4 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Introducing the H. Moser Swiss Alp watch zzzz • Hodinkee
<p>The Zzzz has a white gold case in that familiar soft-rectangle shape and with those familiar wire lugs that give the Swiss Alp Watch its character. But, below the curved crystal sits a deep glossy black dial with no signatures at all and just a simple pair of white gold leaf hands floating over the top. You could, from even a relatively close distance, mistake this for an Apple Watch if you weren't paying close attention.

To me, it's the most successful play on the idea of the Swiss Alp Watch yet, being both a little subversive and a little playful, all while still being a quality mechanical watch.</p>

It looks *exactly* like an Apple Watch. So Jony Ive is the designer not just for Samsung but for the Swiss watch industry too?
Apple  Watch  Swiss 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple looks to face down Watch critics • FT
Tim Bradshaw:
<p>For some, it has excelled where other smartwatches have failed, seducing consumers with its classy design and posing a threat to Swiss watchmakers. Others claim it is a clunky dud that never lived up to its fashionista billing, failed to create the promised new app platform and barely registered financially next to the iPhone.

Entangled with both perspectives are questions of whether Apple can still innovate or if it will find another hit product as profitable as its smartphone.

Apple’s refusal to reveal Watch sales figures has only fuelled the argument. On Tuesday, Apple finally took its first steps towards revealing the Watch’s performance by indicating that total sales for its “wearable” products exceeded $5bn over the past 12 months.

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, told analysts on Tuesday’s earnings call that revenue from “wearable products”, including Apple Watch and its headphones, Beats and AirPods, “in the past four quarters was the size of a Fortune 500 company”.

Discount clothing retailer Burlington Stores, the lowest-ranked member of the Fortune 500 by revenues, posted $5.6bn in sales for its most recent fiscal year, according to regulatory filings, giving analysts at least a hint of the figure Mr Cook had in mind.</p>

Gene Munster (Whom Saints Preserve) reckons about $4.7bn is Watch revenue. And the wearables total puts it in spitting distance of Swatch ($7.6bn).

It's not the phone. But nothing is. Drawing level with Swatch would have been a dream 15 years ago.
apple  watch 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Baselworld 2017: even Switzerland is obsessed with smartwatches now • WIRED
David Pierce:
<p>The Swiss watch market exists within a blissful parallel universe. In this magical place, people celebrate the contemplative beauty of a perpetual calendar complication, and happily pay five or six figures for mechanical timepieces that don’t actually keep time accurately. This universe arose during the Renaissance, and changes slowly. The heritage, the history, the—ahem—timelessness of it all remains precisely the point.

That universe is unraveling. The watch industry is in a precipitous decline, one that started when people realized their smartphone does a pretty good job telling the time. Last year, Apple bragged about being the second-biggest watchmaker on the planet. Swiss watch exports, meanwhile, fell 16.1% in the first half of 2016, the fastest decline ever.  The industry faces intense competition from companies like Apple, Samsung, LG, and Huawei that don’t know much about complications but know everything about making the connected devices people love.</p>

Though a lot of Switzerland's problems are to do with crackdowns on sales to China.
swiss  watch  smartwatch 
april 2017 by charlesarthur
It's time to admit Apple Watch is a success • iMore
Rene Ritchie:
<p>the narrative around Apple Watch was so lost that when Google delayed Android Wear 2, vendors like Motorola/Lenovo exited the market, and Pebble sold itself off, hot takes tripped over each other claiming the "smartwatch market" might be dead.

Fitbit, which makes a wide range of fitness-focused wearables, also didn't face the same kind of pessimism from the tech community. Indeed, they were promoted as incredibly popular and far more flexible thanks to their greater diversity of styles and price-points. Yet their last quarter painted a very different picture.

Apple Watch, meanwhile, just had its best quarter ever. Which, when you combine Apple Watch Series 2's improved hardware, Apple Watch Series 1's lower cost of entry, and watchOS 3's greater coherence, performance, and fitness focus, pretty much anyone could see coming. (Interest in Apple Watch purchases briefly peaked even higher than iPhone on iMore, based on Black Friday and holiday pageviews.)

It could be that there is no real "Smartwatch market", just an Apple Watch market. Much like there's no real "tablet market", just an iPad market. Since it's such a new product category and most of the existing products are still bound to phones, it could also simply be too soon to tell.</p>

I don't see Android Wear 2 making any difference to this dynamic, and I don't see Fitbit's attempts to escape into the smartwatch space being a huge success.
Apple  Watch  smartwatch 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
The elephant in the smartwatch room • Above Avalon
Neil Cybart:
<p>There have been only three legitimate players in the smartwatch industry.

Apple; Garmin; and Samsung.

Combined, these three companies have represented 78% of smartwatch shipments over the past two years. Even more remarkable, no other company has come close to these three in terms of unit sales. Since the beginning of 2015, only seven companies have shipped more than 200,000 smartwatches in any given quarter. Out of those seven, one will soon be broken up in a fire sale (Pebble), another just announced it was getting out of smartwatches (Motorola), and two have shown little interest in releasing new smartwatches (Huawei and LG). This leaves Apple, Garmin, and Samsung. 

Even more astounding, the "Other" category, the usual industry catch basin for dozens of other companies, is on track to account for just 11% of smartwatch shipments in 2016. One group of companies found in the "Other" category are the original sellers of utility on the wrist - watchmakers. The Swiss watch industry continues to dabble with connected watches. However, one would be correct in questioning the motivation guiding some of these companies. TAG Heuer, apparently in an attempt to claim its position as one of the more successful Swiss watchmakers when it comes to smartwatches, announced it will sell just 75,000 connected watches in 2016. Those kinds of sales make the Swiss watch industry completely irrelevant in terms of the broader smartwatch market.</p>

It is brutal. May come down - as these markets seem to - to just two principal players, one of them being Apple.
Apple  fitbit  smart  watch 
december 2016 by charlesarthur
Recovery from watch market slump within sight • FT
Ralph Atkins, in September:
<p>Much of the gloom has surrounded Hong Kong, previously the biggest export market for Swiss watches. Luxury consumer goods sales in Hong Kong have been hit over the past few years by shifts in tourism flows as Chinese customers shopped elsewhere; Swiss watch exports to Hong Kong were down 33% year-on-year to July, causing sales there to fall behind the US.

Excessive stock levels mean improvements will take time to feed through in Hong Kong, despite steps by some companies, such as Richemont, to help reduce inventory in storerooms, including recycling parts from unsold watches.

But luxury goods manufacturers report signs of sales recovering in mainland China. Chinese consumers largely powered the sector’s revival after the global financial crisis of 2008. Spending on luxury watches was subsequently hit by Beijing’s clampdown on corruption, which resulted in less “gifting” of high-quality timepieces.

The effect of such factors on Chinese sales has started to fade, says Adrian Hofer, consumer goods industry specialist at Boston Consulting Group in Zurich. “I’m pretty convinced that we’re down at the levels that make growth possible again.”</p>

This, from reader Philip Cunningham, could well be the explanation for the collapsing levels of Swiss watch sales noted here yesterday.
watch  swiss  china 
november 2016 by charlesarthur
Richemont cuts send shockwaves from Geneva to mountain valleys • Bloomberg
Albertina Torsoli:
<p>In Le Sentier, a town perched in the middle of the Jura mountain range, straddling the border between France and Switzerland, some 400 people protested Thursday against plans to cut the workforce of Vacheron Constantin and Piaget. Forty of the positions destined to go are in the Joux Valley, a rural area about 60km from Geneva that’s home to luxury timepiece makers including Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Breguet.

“We live in anxiety now,” said Alemao Ricardo, a 48 year-old Portuguese who works in the nearby town of Le Brassus decorating Vacheron Constantin watches, which sell for as much as $150,000. “It could be me going, it could be my colleague.”

Swiss watch exports had the <a href="">biggest monthly drop</a> in seven years in October, with plunging demand in almost every major market. After churning out more than 20 million timepieces annually for two decades, demand is drying up. The downturn is now a threat for smaller Swiss towns and larger cities including Geneva, which have been making watches for centuries and where almost 60,000 people work in the sector.</p>

This has been going on so long it can't honestly be the Apple Watch, or smartwatches, causing it. Seems instead to be a slowdown in buying from the Far East. Question is, why is that happening?
Watch  applewatch  smartwatch 
november 2016 by charlesarthur
Apple hits roadblocks in cutting watch ties to iPhone • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman, Alex Webb and Scott Moritz:
<p>Ever since its inception, network carriers have been urging Apple to release a version of the watch that can connect to data networks independent of the iPhone, and the Cupertino, California-based company had been working to untether it from the handset, one of the people said. As it is now the watch must be synced with an iPhone to download most types of content and consistently track location.

Apple had been in talks this year with mobile phone carriers in the U.S. and Europe to add cellular connectivity to the watch, according to people familiar with the talks. A cellular chip would have theoretically allowed the product to download sports score alerts, e-mail and mapping information while out of an iPhone’s reach.

During the discussions, Apple executives expressed concern that the cellular models may not be ready for release this year and that the feature may be pushed back to a later generation, according to the people. Apple warned that, even on an aggressive schedule, the earliest possible shipment time-frame for cellular models would have been this December, one of the people said.

The source of the delay is that current cellular chips consume too much battery life, reducing the product’s effectiveness and limiting user appeal, according to three of the people. Apple has begun studying lower-power cellular data chips for future smartwatch generations.</p>

I bet the carriers want Apple to have a phone-independent watch. Think of the data charges they could ring up. (Apple would use a software SIM, as in the iPad - no fiddling about putting them in.)
apple  watch 
august 2016 by charlesarthur
Swiss watchmaking in March 2016: steep decline • Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry
<p>The deterioration in the trend of Swiss watch exports observed since July 2015 gathered pace in March. With a decline of 16.1% compared to last year their value totalled only 1.5bn francs (US$1.55bn), making these the lowest March figures since 2011. The scale of the downturn is also unusual, since we must go back to the crisis of 2009 to find rates of variation of this order.</p>

Gosh, that's surprising. Wonder what could have caused that?
swiss  watch 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
Builder life saved by Apple Watch » The Sun
Daniel Jones:
<p>A builder who was suffering a heart attack had his life saved by his Apple Watch.

When Dennis Anselmo started to "feel terrible" he thought it was because he was coming down with a fever.

But when the 62-year-old glanced down at his Apple gadget he saw that his heart rate was more than 210 beats a minute.

Doctors who later cleared the blockage in his arteries told him if he had gone home and slept he would have likely had a second, fatal attack, in the middle of the night.</p>

Happens that he was fascinated with checking his heart rate, but maybe it should flash a warning if your heart rate goes over something safe? Also of note: he owns 35 other watches. (He now doesn't wear them.)

Pretty priceless advertising for Apple - this is the second case I've seen in the media where a heart problem has been highlighted by the Watch.
apple  watch  health 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Smartwatches need to get smarter » Re/code
Walt Mossberg:
<p>I don’t think the smartwatch needs one “killer app,” but I do believe it needs a capability more compelling than what’s out there so far. It needs to do something, all on its own, that’s useful, quick, secure and cool.

I have no crystal ball on this question, but I believe that one way to make the smartwatch indispensable is to make it a sort of digital token that represents you to the environment around you.

For instance, while the phone often is faster and easier for, say, using maps, the watch is much better positioned for communicating with smart items in your home, or even your car. It’s likely to be on your person more than your phone is, it knows who you are and it can be secured to be used by only you. So, with your permission, it could open your door, tell your thermostat you’re home, maybe even start your car remotely.

With your permission, it could open your door, tell your thermostat you’re home, maybe even start your car remotely.

In stores, you could opt in to letting the watch not just pay for items, but order frequent purchases automatically, as you approach. These tasks can be set up and customized on a bigger screen once, and then just happen, effortlessly and often, with the watch.</p>

It's the proximity thing - which Apple sort-of talked about with a hotel door that could be opened by the Watch when it was first unveiled. Then again, this model relies on the much-vaunted Internet of Things, and we know how swimmingly that's going.
apple  watch  smartwatch 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
When Will We See A New Apple Watch? » TechCrunch
Matthew Panzarino:
<p>Several things that I’ve heard (from several sources) indicate to me that we won’t see a major new hardware model of the Apple Watch in March. Design partnerships, accessories, that kind of thing maybe but not a “Watch 2.0” with a bunch of new hardware features. I could be wrong, of course, but I’ve heard enough to put it out there.

I’ve now heard a bit more that suggests that Apple might ship a minor revision of the Apple Watch that includes a FaceTime camera and not much else — but still that it would not be a full “Watch 2.0” with casing changes and major improvements. Still no word on timing but that could explain the reports of a camera have been showing up. Like I said, tea leaves!

I spoke to Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin, who says that supply chain checks are showing no movement that would indicate a new Watch model in production as of yet.</p>

Which makes it sound like June (WWDC) at the earliest, September more likely. That would give time for the technology to improve enough to make it an obvious replacement for those who want an upgrade, and a more attractive product for those who wavered.
apple  watch 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
Time ticks on chances of the Apple Watch catching on »
Tim Bradshaw:
<p>The pollsters quizzed 1,017 Britons over the age of 15. They found 66% were aware of smartwatches. Awareness was down to 60% among respondents aged 35 and older, and to 57% among the lowest three social and economic groups.

Only 2% said they owned a smartwatch, down to 1% among those over 35. The poll showed 43% believed people did not need a smartwatch; but that doesn’t mean 57% of people believe you do need one.

Similarly, 24% saw a smartwatch as a gimmick, but that’s not an indication that 76 per cent regard it as a life necessity.

Possibly the glummest news for enthusiasts was that only 6% of the smartwatch-aware were likely to buy one in the next year.

So, unless I’m reading the figures wrongly, enthusiasm for this kind of wearable technology is several degrees below lukewarm.</p>

Wearable technology, in general, hasn't proven its worth to the general population. Then again, smartphones didn't prove their worth to the general population for quite some time either - about three years from the launch of the iPhone. I'd love to see a comparative study from that time. (Links welcome.)
watch  wearable  smartwatch 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Wearable technology in the car » Canadian Automobile Association
Mark Richardson:
<p>Jeffrey Macesin says he was changing the music playing through his car speakers when the Montreal police officer pulled him over and charged him with distracted driving.

The music was coming from his iPhone and wired into the car’s stereo, but the phone was tucked away in his bag, out of sight. In fact, he was using his Apple Watch to change the track, another potential new distraction in a world increasingly crowded with them.

Macesin says he was astonished by the ticket, which carries a $120 fine in Quebec and four demerit points.

“I understand (the officer’s) point of view,” he told CTV in May, “but the fact is, he thought I was using my phone and I wasn’t using my phone – I was using my watch. I tried explaining this to the guy and he just ignored me. I told him I’d see him in court.”

I sent Macesin numerous requests for a chat but he didn’t respond – maybe his lawyer told him to keep quiet. But he acknowledged in outtakes to CTV that his left hand was on the wheel – the same arm that wears his new Apple Watch – and he was tapping on the watch dial with his right hand to change tracks when the officer saw him from an overpass. The Apple Watch was connected wirelessly to his iPhone and controlling its functions.

The actual charge is that he “drove a road vehicle using a hand-held device equipped with a telephone function,” and his argument against it, he said, is that a watch is not “hand-held” – it’s worn on the wrist. “That’s where it gets really controversial,” he said to CTV. “Is it? Is it not? But I think this needs to be talked about.”</p>

Similar to <a href="">the Google Glass driving ticket case</a> (which was dismissed)?
watch  driving 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Popular Apple blogger stops wearing his Apple Watch every day » Fortune
Philip Elmer-DeWitt quoting John Gruber, speaking to developer Guy English on his own Talk Show podcast:
<p>“I’ve been intrigued. And I do wear mine, but I don’t wear it every day. I foresee a bright future for it. But I just don’t think I was ever squarely in the market for it. It’s just not the sort of thing that speaks to me.”

[Here Guy English jokes about Gruber’s lack of interest in fitness — fitness tracking being one of the device’s key selling points.]

“Yeah. Right. Once I stopped wearing it every day… there is this weird motivating thing where you want to keep filling these circles everyday. And you get this streak going and you keep going. And I’m sure people are more fit. But then once you stop wearing it every day you definitely by definition have days where you didn’t fill all the circles. [It] just ruins it. It means you don’t care anymore. I don’t know. It just doesn’t excite me that much.”</p>

Personally, still wearing mine each day; does so many things I need (such as, on Thursday evening while driving, starting navigation home via Siri because my normal route was blocked. Would have been tough and distracting with the phone).
apple  watch  gruber 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple Watch India launch delayed due to lack of interest » India Today
Sahil Mohan Gupta:
<p>Sources in the supply chain have revealed to that the delay is more to due to lack of interest in Apple's channel partners in India. They aren't convinced about the product and no one is willing to take on a massive inventory for a product, which belongs to a category that's not yet developed in India.

As per the IDC, Apple has shipped 3.6m units of the Apple Watch in the last quarter trailing only FitBit which shipped 4.4m units. IDC estimates that the Cupertino-based company will ship around 22 million units of the product in the calendar.  

Apple is tailed by Chinese start-up Xiaomi, which shipped 3.1m units of its Mi Band. The wearable market is expected to be the next growth category for technology companies. 72.2m wearables will be shipped in 2015, estimates IDC, which will be massive 173% jump over 26.4m units in 2014.

Apple faces stiff competition from Android Wear based wearables which after a recent update also work with the iPhone.

In India, the wearable market hasn't taken off.</p>

So that's stiff competition from products in a market that hasn't taken off?
apple  india  watch 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
How to swap iPhones and not lose Apple Watch data » Finer Things in Tech
David Cartier:
<p>When you unpair an Apple Watch from an iPhone, your iPhone creates a backup of your Watch data and configuration, then wipes the Watch. Since so many people will be getting a new iPhone 6S [from Friday], I wanted to see if there was an easy way to pair an Apple Watch to a new phone and restore all important data.

According to <a href="">this Apple document</a> (thanks to <a href="">Rob Wensing</a>), iPhone includes your Watch backups when it runs an iCloud backup. So, in theory, and supported by a few of my Twitter followers, here is the easiest way to switch your Apple Watch to a new iPhone and keep all your data. I don't know what your schedule is like, but it might be best to start this the night before you get your new iPhone.</p>

It's a five-step process but it could take a while; crucial to it is making iCloud/iTunes backups.
iphone  watch 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Swiss watch exports fall in July » Business Insider
Ben Moshinsky:
The Swiss-watch bubble may be about to unravel.

After years of stunning growth, in which exports more than doubled from 2000 to 2014, Swiss watchmakers had a terrible month.

China led the fall, according to <a href="">export figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry</a>.

Overall exports were 9.3% lower than a year earlier, at 1.9 billion Swiss francs (£1.3 billion, $1.97 billion) with the Chinese market segment dropping by more than 39%. Sales to the United Arab Emirates also tanked 29.8%.

Biggest fall? Those costing <a href="">between CHF200-500 and CHF500-€3,000</a>. (1 CHF = US$1.05.) Anyone know any watch-like products released recently around that price not coming out of Switzerland?
august 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple helps push US watch sales to biggest drop in seven years » Bloomberg Business
Thomas Mulier:
US watch sales fell the most in seven years in June, one of the first signs Apple’s watch is eroding demand for traditional timepieces.

Retailers sold $375m of watches during the month, 11 percent less than in June 2014, according to data from NPD Group. The 14% decline in unit sales was the largest since 2008, according to Fred Levin, head of the market researcher’s luxury division.

“The Apple Watch is going to gain a significant amount of penetration,” he said Thursday in a phone interview. “The first couple of years will be difficult for watches in fashion categories.”
The market for watches that cost less than $1,000 is most at risk, as consumers in that price range have indicated they’re the most likely to buy an Apple Watch, Levin said.

Well, it's a data point.
apple  watch 
august 2015 by charlesarthur
Thoughts on Mark Gurman’s 9to5Mac article about Apple Watch rumors » Mobile Forward
Hristo Daniel Ushev, who worked at Motorola for eight years, on Gurman's likely source, who he reckons is probably not an Apple employee:
It’s probably someone helping Apple with consumer research. I’m saying that because the leaked information concerns:

• “Considerations” (as far from a shipping product as a PowerPoint slide)<br />•
Visible features, but no granular attributes (spec-level knowledge or software features)<br />• Price point variants<br />• Granular information from consumer research

Let’s combine these: a likely-external person, discussing feature “considerations”, without spec or software detail, about price point variants, and quoting granular information from consumer research. Based on that, I think it’s probably a low level employee (or attention-seeker) from a research firm that Apple trusted. The “considerations” may be features that appeared in a research aid.

Rings true. Takes nothing away from Gurman's work in developing sources, of course.
apple  watch 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple previews new Apple Watch software » Apple
Coming in autumn (when the new phones come out, one assumes):
Additional watchOS 2 features include: 
• Nightstand Mode that transforms Apple Watch into a bedside alarm clock, with the Digital Crown and side button serving as snooze and off buttons for the alarm;<br />• the ability to use merchant rewards and store-issued credit and debit cards with Apple Pay™, which can be added to Wallet; <br />• support for Transit in Maps*, so you can view detailed transportation maps and schedules, including walking directions to the nearest stations with entrances and exits precisely mapped;<br />• workouts from third-party fitness apps contributing to your all-day Move and Exercise goals;<br />• using Siri® to start specific workouts, launch Glances and reply to email; and<br />• Activation Lock, which lets users secure their Apple Watch with their Apple ID, preventing another user from wiping or activating the device if it is lost or stolen.

That last touch is neat - you remember the discovery of how easily the Watch could be stolen and wiped. Now it has something that sets it apart from any Rolex or other expensive watch (well, apart maybe from an engraved one): stealing it becomes pointless.

Lots of stuff that feels as though it just didn't make the cut for version 1.
apple  watch 
june 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple Watch: faulty Taptic Engine slows roll out » WSJ
Daisuke Wakabayashi and Lorraine Luk:
A key component of the Apple Watch made by one of two suppliers was found to be defective, prompting Apple Inc. to limit the availability of the highly anticipated new product, according to people familiar with the matter.

The part involved is the so-called taptic engine, designed by Apple to produce the sensation of being tapped on the wrist. After mass production began in February, reliability testing revealed that some taptic engines supplied by AAC Technologies Holdings of Shenzhen, China, started to break down over time, the people familiar with the matter said. One of those people said Apple scrapped some completed watches as a result.

Makes sense; some reviewers have complained about not getting anything noticeable "taps" in Watches they tried. Apple has moved to a different supplier, it seems, but is supply-constrained.
watch  taptic  supply 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
My rocky first 24hrs with the Apple ᴡᴀᴛᴄʜ » Medium
Matt Haughey with a ton of really good criticism of the Watch setup for the novice user:
My phone has been downloading dozens of updates of apps made for the watch for weeks, but after getting the watch on my wrist, I realized none of those apps automatically added to the watch, but recent (meaning: as I was setting up the watch) app updates were automatically on the watch like my bank, which I don’t want on my watch. Five minutes later I learned the older apps had to be manually enabled one-by-one. Ugh. Again with the tedium. Additionally, apps asked if I wanted “Glances” enabled too, but in this first half-hour of watch ownership, I didn’t know what “Glances” were yet so I guessed and enabled it on apps I like most. I hope it doesn’t do awful things that I will have to disable one-by-one.

Hope Apple is watching stuff like this closely. As Haughey points out, the problems are also partly to do with third-party devs not having had experience when they wrote their apps and notifications. (The notes by the paragraphs are worth reading, especially those relating to your "Favourites" on the Watch itself.)
apple  watch  ux 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple Watch: an overnight multi-billion dollar business »
Carl Howe used to analyse this sort of stuff for a living. Here he helps you think of the supply chain issues involved in the Apple Watch by likening it to producing a million origami lobsters:
Now let’s make this a little more realistic. As it turns out, we really want a million lobsters of two different sizes. Further, ordinary paper tears too easily and is the wrong color for Origami lobsters, so we’ve decided to make our own paper; that will require its own process. We also need to be able to deliver some of the lobsters with glitter and others with hand-painted decorations; we’ll need to plan to supply and apply those materials too. Oh, and we want to make a few thousand out of two colors of pure gold leaf instead of paper. You’ll have to manufacture the paper for that too.

What’s your plan look like now?

There’s no rush; you can deliver your million lobsters any time during the month, provided that you don’t mind people complaining that you are way too slow at getting this done. Oh, and you’ll be criticized in the international press for every failure to produce perfect lobsters.

And now, imagine this same plan, except with this twist: no one has successfully folded this particular type of Origami lobster before, so you really don’t know how it’s all going to turn out. And your reward if you are successful will not be praise, but demands that you build even more next month.

This is such a wonderful post for wrapping your head around supply chain issues - as good in its way as <a href="">Greg Koenig's commentary about the amazing mechanics of how the Apple Watch is made</a>.

Howe has a number for how many Watches have been sold, but you need to read his piece to find out. He's probably right. (He also notes in <a href="">an update</a> that there's only one module - that is lobster - so the Watch is even more profitable.)
analysis  apple  business  watch 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
What the Apple Watch means for the Age of Notifications » Medium
Steven Levy:
the Age of Notifications is about to face its biggest mess yet, as alerts move from phone screens to watch faces. Notifications are just about the entire point of a smart watch — you’re not going to be reading books, watching movies or doing spreadsheets on them. And a tilt of the wrist is the perfect delivery system for those little blips.

But having that delivery system on your body makes notifications much harder to ignore. It’s jarring enough to get a phone-buzz notifying you of an alert. When it’s something zapping your skin, it’s even more compelling. What’s more, because it’s so easy to simply twist your wrist to see what the fuss is about, the temptation is all the harder to resist.

I don't get this. It makes it sound as though people are helpless children who can't figure out what classes of notification (as in, from which app) interest them. The example he gives - a pointless notification from MLB - would have me deciding that MLB was never again going to get the chance to bother me. You don't need to know about every incoming email (VIPs is fine, for me). Perhaps some people need to retreat a bit from their phones. But that's no bad thing, whether it comes from buying a smartwatch or just realising they're failing to live in the moment.
apple  watch  smartwatch  notifications 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
Angela Ahrendts says a 'significant change in mindset' to launching Apple Watch online » Business Insider
Jim Edwards:
For observers, shortages of Apple products have appeared to be a PR advantage. When Apple ran out of the gold iPhone 5S shortly after launch, it generated yet more publicity for the product. Some people have even thought these shortages are part of Apple's marketing strategy — to make them seem more desired and scarce than they actually are.

The Ahrendts memo, however, is an indicator that Apple does not like being unable to meet demand or leave customers frustrated. Channelling customers online partly solves that problem. Customers will still have to wait if there isn't enough product, but at least they know the product is on its way — and they're not wasting their time showing up at Apple's stores.

For the Apple Watch launch in the UK, <a href="">the only way to get an Apple Watch will be to order online</a> and then have it shipped to your home, even if you're in the store. 

So much for "observers".
apple  watch 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
It's time for the Watch » Above Avalon
Neil Cybart, in a thorough recap of how the Apple Watch got to where it is, makes a salient point about how we try to rationalise, or find a story thread, in stuff that's more accidental:
Looking back at the iPad and iPhone, many have developed elaborate stories around those products in order to address the mystery. In reality, they were simply great products that relied on a revolutionary multi-touch user interface. After launching at a too-high price (and different business model based on mobile revenue sharing) and without an app store, it took Apple and the iPhone three years and additional features and changes before hitting mass-market awareness. However, the legend was that Apple foresaw the coming mobile app revolution. Stories are told to provide answers to the unknown. The problem occurs when those answers are fabricated. Apple is launching the watch as a fun, personalized iPhone accessory with different use cases dependent on the user. If one doesn't leave the complicated stories and theories at the door, it will be difficult to see the Apple Watch for what is and, more importantly, isn't. 
apple  watch  journalism 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
The Apple Watch, China Edition » MarkDMill
Mark Miller:
This is the political and social environment in which the gold Apple Watch Edition enters China. Luxury watches are worn in China as a display of one’s wealth, but right now displaying wealth on one’s wrist is dangerous and, legitimately or not, is taken as a sign of corruption. The gold Apple Watch will sell,  but I would wager an Apple Watch Edition that it won’t be seen on the wrists of government officials or successful business people with political connections (which is most successful business people)–or, if it is seen, that person will quickly be sanctioned or even sacked.

This, then, is why Apple’s positioning of Apple Watch is so brilliant: by releasing Apple Watch Edition at the luxury price of RMB 74,800 ($12,062),1 the “normal” Apple Watch seems downright frugal at RMB 4,188 ($675). Even the most expensive Apple Watch (RMB 8,288; $1336) looks cheap in comparison to the most expensive Apple Watch Edition (RMB 112,800; $18,190). By pricing one collection so high, Apple has managed to make Apple Watch seem downright moderate2–even though it costs 15-30% of the <a href="">average Chinese annual salary</a>!
apple  watch  china 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
iPhone killer: the secret history of the Apple Watch » WIRED
David Pierce:
one thing was clear [to Kevin Lynch, who was surprised to find himself in charge of the project - already underway - on his first day in the job, and two days from a top-level review] from the start: The Watch would succeed or fail on the strength of what’s prosaically called the user interface. The interface would determine whether the Watch ended up displayed in a dozen museums or remembered as Apple’s biggest flop since the Newton.

That’s where Alan Dye comes in. As chief of Apple’s human interface group, he’s in charge of creating the ways you tell your device what to do and how that device responds. Those cool little experiences you have with your laptop and phone and tablet, like when the app icons quiver because they’re ready to move around your screen? That’s the human interface team.

Pierce has written a fantastic piece. The amount of access seems comparable to that afforded the New Yorker. Clearly, Apple wants both the fashion crew and the tech crew to like it; but note how it's approaching them, in different ways.
apple  design  watch 
april 2015 by charlesarthur
Hands-on with the Apple Watch: a developer's experience at Apple's WatchKit labs » Mac Rumors
Juli Clover:
The design and the feel of the watch were described as "absolutely amazing" and software was described as "fluid" and not like other smart watches available on the market. "Animations on the Apple Watch are really what separate it from its competitors," he said. Handoff works very well, letting users transfer tasks from the Apple Watch to the iPhone with ease, and Siri's functionality was described as "absolutely phenomenal."

He also shared a bit of information about battery life. Wearing the watch all day, he used it regularly to send messages and test his app, and he said the watch battery lasted all day with some to spare. He was really impressed and said, "When Apple says all day battery life, they mean it."

Overall, the developer that we spoke with thought his time at the Apple WatchKit lab was an "inspirational experience" and in his opinion, Apple is on the right track with the Apple Watch.

Unsurprising that a developer would say this, but the battery life point is worth noting.
apple  watch  developer 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
How will Apple Watch teach people to love watches? » aBlogtoWatch
Ariel Adams points out that Apple has put a lot more, well, love into its watches than Android Wear rivals:
While the Samsung Gear models have some traditional looking watch dials, they clearly didn't put the effort or apply the same type of understanding to the watch world as Apple did in their hardware. With that said, is passion and a love of watches by some key Apple employees why the Apple Watch is so much like a traditional watch? I think there are more practical reasons than that, and here is where Apple confuses so many of the journalists who traditionally cover the brand. Things people wear are part of fashion, a category that tech writers tend to not cover too much. Fashion is what gets people to wear something, and technology is what gets people to use something.
applewatch  watch  fashion 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
How Apple makes the Watch » Atomic Delights
This link has been shared all over the place, but you might have chosen to avoid it. That's a mistake; you can discover so much just about manufacturing from reading it. Here's just a tiny piece of <a href="">Greg Koenig's</a> writeup, based solely on the <a href="">Apple Watch manufacturing video</a>:
Apple chooses to not show what is likely the most unique and important step in the production of the Watch; cold forging. In production forging, a blank of metal is placed between two extraordinarily hard steel dies that have the bottom and top halves formed into open faced molds. The hammer - a piece of capital equipment roughly the size of a house laid on it's end - slams the dies closed with force measured in tens of thousands of tonnes. Under such pressure, the metal reaches a state called "plastic deformation" and literally bends, compresses and flows into the shaped cavities of the die. For complex, or high-precision forging, multiple dies with successively deeper cavities are used to gradually tease the material into the desired shape.

Forging produces what's called a "net shape" part; the process is unable to create precision holes, pockets, threads and other features that will require a trip to the CNC mills. What forging does do is create parts of exceptional strength.

A <em>hammer</em> the size of a <em>house</em>. Consider that for a moment. Koenig merits your attention.
manufacturing  apple  watch 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple Watch isn’t good enough (that’s great news), and overlooked jobs » Valuing Disruption
Bill Esbenshade looks at Apple's Watch as a low-end disruptor:
A lot of people are looking at the Watch and saying “it’s not good enough” because of a range of issues related to functionality/reliability: battery life too short, watch too thick or clunky looking, too tethered to the iPhone, not enough health sensors, etc.

The irony is that these shortcomings should be good news for the Watch’s future. That’s because under disruption theory, when a product isn’t good enough on a range of performance dimensions, then the vendor has lots of things to improve — through new product versions — before the product starts overserving. See Concepts page and discussion of Clayton Christensen. This means there’s lots of room for Apple — as an integrated manufacturer — to making sustaining leaps ahead of more modular smartwatch competitors relying on Android. See post titled Apple’s Long Term Advantages. Apple has plenty of room to improve the user experience and move up the improvement trajectory without overserving.

(Esbenshade owns Apple stock.) My own query is - shouldn't this sort of disruption be coming in from the high end or the low end? The Watch seems to approach from somewhere around the middle.
watch  disruption 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
The most hated design trend is back » FastCo.Design
John Brownlee on how smartwatches are trying to be "watch-y", with good reason:
this new wave of skeuomorphism isn't just limited to their digital interfaces. The industrial design of smartwatches themselves are inherently skeuomorphic. After all, a smartwatch is a computer that you wear on your wrist. It aspires to be the same kind of connected portal of information that your smartphone, your TV, and your laptop are. It can be any shape, any size, but the reason it looks like a watch is simply for the sake of familiarity: to ease you into something new. This goes double for the Apple Watch and its primary interactive element, the digital crown, which repurposes the age-old watch component as a new way to zoom in and out of digital interfaces.

You don't check your pulse, or remotely control your phone camera, or control Netflix, or pay for a cup of coffee with a traditional watch, but you will do all those things with the Apple Watch. Just like the iPhone was a sci-fi device come to life, the Apple Watch is a Dick Tracy communicator, and its very existence raises all sorts of questions: What is this thing? What's it for? How are we supposed to interact with it?
skeuomorphism  watch  smartwatch 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
Wristwatch industry statistics » Statistic Brain
Fascinating data: 1.2bn watches sold annually, 29.2m Swiss watches, almost all the rest from China and Hong Kong. Average values hugely different. It'll be fun to see how the annual revenues for Swatch/Omega and Rolex look in a year's time. (Via <a href="">Robin H</a>.)
february 2015 by charlesarthur
What the tech world doesn't understand about fashion » Racked
Leslie Price:
at the biggest fashion houses in Europe, there is a general disdain for the connected future that the tech world fetishizes.

"We don't like [e-commerce]. I don't care," Miuccia Prada said in 2013. "We think that, for luxury, it's not right. Personally, I’m not interested." As Bloomberg details, this is the case for many luxury brands. Some fashion OGs, like Valentino, don't even use computers. Anna Wintour famously carries a flip phone. "The problem with technology is it's a bit cold. It's a bit sharp," said Carine Roitfeld, CR Fashion Book EIC and former French Vogue chief.

This aversion actually makes perfect sense. Fashion is, by its very nature, exclusive. It's about creating an identity, a brand, that is so cool that people will spend thousands and thousands of dollars to acquire a tiny piece of it. If you make that identity widely available, you risk diluting it. This delicate balance is something that the oldest fashion stalwarts have spent a hundred or more years perfecting.

Terrific piece which neatly illustrates (with examples) the gulf between tech and fashion: quite a lot of it is in the language that attaches to things.
apple  fashion  watch  google 
february 2015 by charlesarthur
Slick, useful apps put the wow in Apple Watch >> WSJ
Chris Mims:
I’ve seen some of the applications that will launch for the Apple Watch when it makes its debut as early as March, albeit in simulation, and some are extraordinary. Along with the details Apple has already released about how the watch will work, it’s convinced me Apple Watch will be a launching pad for the next wave of billion-dollar consumer-tech startups…

To use a historical analogy, the shift to mobile is one reason messaging supplanted email. Email was a product of a particular set of behaviours, including sitting down at a computer at a designated time and putting a certain amount of thought into responses. BlackBerry turned email into something like messaging, and touch-screen smartphones made it apparent that email was itself an anachronism, merely one conduit among many for what has become real-time communication.

Consider the same sequence of events for contextual information—that is, alerts delivered at a particular time and place, such as reminders. Our phones buzz, we pull them out of our pockets or purses, read a push alert, swipe to unlock, wait a split second for an app to load, then perform an action that might have been designed with more free time and attention in mind than we have at that moment, if we’re on the go or preoccupied. All that friction is one reason, I suspect, why location-based social networks like Foursquare never took off.

An insightful piece; Mims isn't just lauding the idea of a watch, but the interaction model. (Subscription required.)
apple  watch  wearable 
january 2015 by charlesarthur
Expectations for WatchKit >> David Smith
<blockquote class="quoted">Apple has said we can expect for there to be a two-phase rollout of the WatchKit APIs. The most concrete exposition of this is the <a href="">Press Release</a> announcing the Apple Watch (emphasis mine).
Apple introduces WatchKit, providing new tools and APIs for developers to create unique experiences designed for the wrist. With Apple Watch, <strong>developers can create WatchKit apps with actionable notifications and Glances</strong> that provide timely information. Starting <strong>later next year</strong>, developers will be able to create fully native apps for Apple Watch.

So to start with we will be given the ability to implement actionable notifications and Glances. This is what I believe we are getting with the SDK release this month.

It will only be later next year that full apps will be possible. It is not a stretch to think that later next year is code for WWDC next June.
apple  watch  api 
november 2014 by charlesarthur

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