The future of Apple Watch and Apps

A few days ago, M.G. Siegler wrote a wonderful post entitled “A Tale Of Two Wearables” in which he describes how simple and carefree your life is at Disney World when you wear the theme park’s all-purpose “MagicBand.” In his piece, Siegler suggests that, one day, maybe Apple Watch will become the “MagicBand for real world.”

Ever since that post, my mind’s been swirling with ideas about how many things society could possibly replace if that were to actually happen. House keys, car keys, garage door remotes, gym membership cards, and about a billion other trivial-but-not-really things we take for granted right here and now. All these things — whatever they might be — could potentially be replaced by one thing right on my left wrist. How awesome would that be?

That’s when I realized something.

In an ideal world, none of these things would even require apps that you’d have to open. You simply walk up and boom! — whatever you were expecting to authenticate does so without any issue, just based on your physical presence and a learned pattern of expectation. IFTTT for the real world. There is no app for that.

What real benefit do I get from an app on my smartwatch when it tries to put a smartphone experience on my wrist? In watching the second Apple Watch presentation, you can see how terrible of an experience it is: When Kevin Lynch takes a moment to show us Instagram on the wearable, it literally takes him four taps to “like” a picture. This seems far more illogical and far less enjoyable than doing the same thing on my iPhone, and it’s a tedium that might make me forego that entire social aspect of Instagram out of sheer annoyance. If I have to tap-tap-tap-tap your marginally amusing photograph to show my marginally engaged approval, I’m just going to skip your snap altogether. And so the service itself suffers. Bad UX is a dealbreaker every time.

Which leads me to think: Are apps really the future of Apple Watch?

At this moment, I don’t feel that way. Instead, I see the future of Apple Watch as a product that demonstrates a masterful, seamless aptitude for authenticating our existence to corresponding terminals and locks. Sure, you may need an “app” with your login info to have some of that happen, but actually needing to expend any energy or attention interacting with it seems backwards. If the idea is to remove friction, then part of that mandates at least some removal of the need to touch the display. In fact, the way Apple Pay works on iPhone now is exactly how I’d want all my authentication to work: On iPhone 6, you don’t need to wake up your phone or open any apps. You just raise your phone to the terminal and your card shows up. Then you touch your finger to TouchID, it reads your print, and you’re done. That’s the equivalent of one tap. Much more than that, and you’re looking at more hassle than convenience.

I actually think this might be how Apple sees it too. In watching the Apple Watch guided tour, you can see that when you raise your wrist, you’re not greeted with apps, you’re greeted with the timekeeping function, the Face. As Apple says:

“Your experience with the Apple Watch starts with the Watch Face.”

From the Watch Face, you are able to see your Glances and notifications. In order to see apps, you have to engage the Digital Crown. This makes it seem pretty obvious that Apple has purposely designed apps not to be front and center like they are on iPhone. Instead, Apple Watch apps are mere repositories where stored information can be pushed to the user in the form of Glances and via Notification Center.

This may sound a little weird, and I think to some of us it is. We’re used to apps being the focal point. But on Apple Watch, on initial waking, they’re not. Ben Thompson, who was at last month’s Spring Forward event, explains:

Interestingly, Patel and I struggled with different things; he complained about confusing the external buttons, while I kept having trouble with understanding what “mode” I was in, for lack of a better term. Specifically, it was weird that “glances” could only be accessed from the watch face; the watch face, though, isn’t necessarily the “home” screen — the array of apps is. But on that screen you can’t bring up glances. It’s a bit confusing.

Again, this suggests that apps are not intended to be the focus of Apple Watch in the way we understand apps today. Some may think that this is worrisome, that it requires an unexpected and largely insurmountable learning curve. But I disagree. Rather, I think it’s simply a new way — and a more natural way — to think of apps. These new apps aren’t ones we interact with, but ones that hold the keys to unlocking whatever functions our merging physical and digital worlds require, quickly and effortlessly.

That, to me, is the potential magic of Apple Watch.

Check out more of my Apple Watch musings at WatchAware.com

Here’s how some people reacted to 2007 iPhone keynote

Reddit user, intensely, has posted a Web Archive link that shows how some folks reacted to the original 2007 iPhone announcement. Given that we’re just a few short weeks away from Apple Watch availability, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at how many short-sighted people viewed the iPhone nearly 8 years ago.

Here are some of my favorites:

Apparently none of you guys realize how bad of an idea a touch-screen is on a phone. I foresee some pretty obvious and pretty major problems here.

I’ll be keeping my Samsung A707, thanks. It’s smaller, it’s got a protected screen, and it’s got proper buttons. And it’s got all the same features otherwise. (Oh, but it doesn’t run a bloatware OS that was never designed for a phone.)

Color me massively disappointed.

Touch screen buttons? BAD idea. This thing will never work.

Yay, the widescreen Video iPod is here….

But, yea, a touchscreen?

And, whats the battery life on that thing? Huge 3.5 inch display = no room for batteries = not good for battery life.

Only 8 GB???

I’m not impressed with the iPhone. As a PDA user and a Windows Mobile user, this thing has nothing on my phone. It sure is good at what it was designed for, a phone that entertains and talks… other than that, I dont see much potential. How the hell am I suppose to put appointments on the phone with no stylus or keyboard?! I can sync it with my computer, but when Im on the go, I cant do either!

It took Apple how long to develop this ONE PHONE, Samsung and Motorola release new phones every few months lol, and constantly innovates and gets better. I’m sorry but if I’m sending text messages I’d rather have my thumb keyboard than some weird finger tapping on a screen crap.

These are just a few of the comments that folks on Engadget said back in 2007. I wonder how many of them use an iPhone or an Android touchscreen smartphone today? (Spoiler: all of them)

Will we be able to look back 8 years from now and laugh at the same people ridiculing the Apple Watch and other wearables? Maybe, maybe not. But given Apple’s track record over the last 15 years or so, I don’t think it’s very wise to call the Apple Watch doomed or a flop.

Check out more of my Apple Watch musings at WatchAware.com

Apple Watch guided tour

Today, Apple updated its Apple Watch website with a new “Guided Tours” section which includes a variety of Apple Watch video walkthroughs. The first video, titled “Welcome to Apple Watch”, shows users the many things Apple Watch is capable of doing.

Below are more videos that we’ll update as they become available.

 

Availability of Google Play to accept online poker gambling apps

When it comes to Android Smartphone users, especially those who are getting used to it, Google Play Store that was formerly known as Android Market is truly a blessing, as it brings a platform, from which users can download apps & games without searching for official sites and APK files of the apps.

Of course, it was a great relief, as most of people were somewhat dubious towards Android and availability of application as far as that new-born mobile platform was concerned. Now, however, everything is quite clear and even the basic users of Android are familiar with Google Play store and the way it serves them in such a way that they will hardly have to check out other stores or APK files to get some apps in their devices. Along with these, Google Play had made things clear for the developer community too.

APPLE PLAY STORE VS. GOOGLE PLAY STORE — THE DEVELOPER’S VIEW

Even when Apple’s App Store was making the app approval procedure stricter day by day, even by demanding fee to have membership in the app store as a developer, Google Play kept everything simple, by letting developers publish everything they have developed, despite the fact that apps CAN be removed if they violate content policy of Google Play Store, which is relatively liberal in the sense that it does not confine the developer from developing according to his views and mindsets.

THE CASE OF ONLINE POKER GAMES

Despite the liberal attitude taken towards developers, Google Play store is a bit strict when it comes to apps that are related to online poker casino. If you check out Google Play store, you can see that not that many apps are available in the store, regardless people’s attraction towards these kinds of games and apps. If you check out content policy of Google Play store, you can see that the store accepts apps that have to deal with simulated gambling but not the real version of online gambling, which is often considered dubious and fraud. In this case, however, Google Play store is a bit different from Apple App Store, as the latter allows gambling apps unless they violate Apple Development policy. So, in short, we would say that getting your favourite online poker app for your Android Smartphone or Tablet PC is, in many instances, rather a tough task.

THE OTHER WAY

Well, in spite of the fact that Android is a combined work of Open Source community; you will have to check another option when you want to download online poker apps. Now, however, you have a better option! Now, you can find your next android online poker room at pokerappsandroid.com. So, which is your favourite online poker game for Android? We are eager to know.

Magic

Yesterday, I was chatting with a friend (who happens to use Android) about the prospect of Apple Watch and other smartwatches in general. I was trying to explain to him that by removing tiny bits of friction over time, people learn to appreciate the little “superfluous” things and end up, in many cases, at the point where they can’t live without them.

I gave him the standard examples like TV remotes and power windows and keyless car entry. I explained to him that unlocking a car door isn’t hard at all, but that pressing a button is easier. I even explained to him how payment processing has changed so much in the past 20 years, using the example of today’s credit card experience compared against tomorrow’s Apple Pay. I explained how much faster and more convenient Apple Pay is than swiping a card and going through the POS dance that most folks still ambivalently put up with. His response was typical:

“C’mon, is it that much faster?”

“Yes, and it’s way more secure, too,” I replied.

“C’mon. It’s not that much faster!”

“Yes. It really is.”

(Notice he didn’t care about security. Convenience is king.) I tried explaining every single step that happens when you swipe a card: It begins with taking out your wallet, removing your card, swiping it through the reader on the terminal, and selecting “debit” or “credit.” If you’re using credit, you can skip the next few steps. But if you choose debit, you now have to enter your four-digit PIN on the keypad, select whether you want “cash back” or not, and answer a prompt that asks if you’re “OK” with the amount you’re about to be charged. If that amount is over $20, you’re now caught up with credit, as you’ll probably have to sign your name on a poorly calibrated digital screen with a dangling stylus (that you’ll have to fish out of whatever crevice it’s currently wedged into) to complete the transaction. Except, it’s not actually complete yet. Now you have to wait for a receipt to print out while having an awkward staring contest with the cashier as he or she anxiously waits to rip the paper off its spool and hand it to you. Then he or she wishes you a compulsory nicety, to which you’d better mind your manners and answer in kind. (Apple Pay or no Apple Pay, you be nice, you hear?) Then you can leave.

Apple Pay is that experience versus holding up your iPhone and taping the Touch IDfor a total of something like two seconds. No, really, I’ve timed it. Two seconds.

But even as I explained this to my friend, he remained unconvinced. And that’s when it dawned on me — You can’t explain time saved. You just can’t. Tell someone that something takes two seconds versus six seconds, and they don’t really understand it as anything all that special. Six seconds seems like a trifle on paper and in theory, not much different than two seconds could ever be in the grand scheme. But let them experience two seconds compared to six seconds and it feels unbelievable. And then let them experience it again. And again. Then they might start to get it. In fact, I’m sure they will.

Do you know why I hate when my phone has to be restarted because of software updates? Because it means Touch ID is temporarily disabled. Because it means I have to enter my PIN to get through the lock screen. Because it means I have to type in my password the next time I download an app. Before Touch ID, I’ve actually passed on purchasing apps I would’ve otherwise been happy to drop a dollar on because I missed that 15-minute “no password needed” window. It takes me one second to type that password, and I can even do it without looking at the keyboard. But I hate it, and compared to the ease of Touch ID, it’s completely unacceptable.

Long story short, even though I love telling people about Apple Watch, sometimes I feel like just telling them about it isn’t going to really help sell them on the device. At least not at first, when there aren’t any examples out in the wild to sneak a peek at. And that’s probably why the tech press didn’t “get” Apple Watch, even after two keynotes. Because Apple Watch can’t be explained. It has to be experienced. It has to be worn. And it has to be felt and seen before most folks will understand and appreciate its value.

Steve Jobs used to use the word “magical,” and people would laugh. I have a feeling this could be Apple’s most magical creation yet.

And guess what?

You can’t explain magic.

Our favorite Amazon tech deals for March 25, 2015

Here are our favorite Amazon tech deals for March 25, 2015. Get more deals by visiting TechHunter.co or get these deals delivered to your inbox by signing up for the newsletter below.

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Resolve Podcast: The Apple Watch is Coming

Apple Watch is Coming

This week Ariel Adams from A Blog To Watch joins us to talk about the Apple Watch and how the tech industry doesn’t understand why people buy watches. We also talk about its possible effect on the watch industry as a whole.

After Training People To Forget About Watches, How Will Apple Teach Them To Love The Apple Watch?

Follow A Blog To Watch on Twitter

Follow Resolve on Twitter

Support this show on Patreon

Apple Watch Polling In Line With 2010 iPad Figures

Video: Scott Galloway on Apple and Luxury Markets

Video: People Try The Apple Watch For The First Time

John Gruber: I’ve heard that ‘USB-C is an Apple invention’

usb-c macbook

During the latest episode of The Talk Show (minute 54), the well-respected and well-informed John Gruber states that he’s heard that USB-C – the new USB standard being used on the new MacBook and Chromebook Pixel – was invented by Apple.

I have heard, can’t say who, but let’s call them “informed little birdies”, that USB-C is an Apple invention and that they gave it to the standard bodies. And that the politics of such is that they can’t really say that. They’re not going to come out in public and say that. It is an Apple invention and they do want it to become a standard.

Gruber goes on to question whether Apple may use it in place of Lightning in future products, but admits that he doesn’t really know. You can listen to the entire episode here with guest Matthew Panzarino.

The problem with Android

Android is a wonderfully imperfect operating system. Once known as the anti-iOS, solely for the use of power users and nerds. Times have changed in a big way. Android has changed drastically since then. The problem with Android lies within Google itself, as well as some of the vocal user base that can scare new users. Google has long struggled for control over Android, but are fighting an uphill battle against carriers and OEMs. Google is also attempting to turn Android into a consistent, accessible experience for everyone; a more common consumer based Android. Finally, Android is a wonderful operating system. But the underlying problem is some of the user base and “solutions” that ultimately cause more problems.

Now, before you get up in arms and start threatening me on the internet(you big bad person, you). Let me preface this by stating a few facts about me.

I have used Android consistently since 2010. I have converted many, many people to Android and have been their crutch when problems arise. I write about Android, it is what I am probably the most known for. This is an article that offers a dose of perspective from someone who constantly deals with the common consumer. The grandparents, the parents, the students, and the iPhone converts. I am the resident Android guru tasked with handling every bug and issue. I do not hate Android, I do not hate the fan base, I do not hate rooting. I simply take issue with Google’s former lackadaisical attitude and some solutions given that cause more problems.
End disclaimer, let’s begin.

Google is one part of this problem. Android is designed to be an open operating system,which is a great thing. This allows for Android to be everywhere in various shapes and sizes. But this also allows for companies like Samsung, Motorola, and LG to dictate way too much of Android. While Google is slowly attempting to regain control over Android, the problem still very much persists. Updates are constantly delayed or missing in action due to device makers and carriers. Google has been slowly tightening the grip on Android to better control the ecosystem that has become so valuable. But the gears are grinding slowly in turning the tide of Android. As a user, it is frustrating to have drastically different experiences device to device.

It is also unsettling to know that the device you purchase may not be updated or supported consistently by any means. It makes competition like iOS much more lucrative due to the promise of consistency and support. Google is working on creating a more consistent experience by putting more parameters in place in order to have access to Google’s services. But when it comes to support for issues that might arise on your device with no official fix in sight, you are left to fend for yourself. Which introduces you to the next problem, the incredibly vocal, mainly well meaning, and sometimes condescending community of Android power users.

The Android community, let me first tell you that I love you. I have been helped by eighty-five percent of you in wonderful ways. If it were not for comprehensive guides, walkthroughs and countless accounts of Good Samaritan dedication on your part, I would not be where I am today with Android.

Thank you

The Android community is one of the greatest strengths of the Android ecosystem. It is also the greatest weakness. For within our ranks there are people who believe that rooting should be the first line of defense for every user. When that is simply not the case. Rooting is not the answer for everyone, plain and simple. Rooting can become immensely complicated and can void your warranty. If you void your warranty by rooting your device and something goes wrong, you are completely out of luck. Now, a counter-argument to that would be, “just go Nexus. Rooting is easy on a Nexus!”.

Android collage

Google is working on getting people to go Nexus. This is ones of the reasons the Nexus 6 is offered through carrier subsidy. I mentioned above that they are working on regaining control of Android, but it is moving slow. But just because someone owns a Nexus device does not mean they can or want to root.

The entire process of rooting a device is complicated to those uninitiated with the vernacular. Take this encounter here with Troy White, a friend who helps maintain the custom ROM “omniROM”.

1-f3OPQ0ml7dJuzFOOGVC-RA

The method he just described is one of the easiest manual methods to gain root access to your Android device. But to those that are not well versed in the lingo of Android development, that has to be daunting. It was for me when I first rooted my devices.

The final part of the problem with the current identity crisis taking place with Android. Take the common consumer. They walk into their local carrier store(they do not read what I am writing) and start perusing phone selections. An entire store filled with phones, most unfamiliar. You have your glowing white lights that lead the customer to the walled garden of Eden. Take a bite of Tim Cook’s Apple, and you are stuck for life. If this consumer wants something other than an iOS device, the clear choice is Android(Sorry Windows Phone, Sorry Blackberry). But, to them, they do not see Android devices. They see Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola devices. They see those devices for their gimmicky or interesting features. Laser Auto-focus? Sign me up. I can control the phone with my hands, but WITHOUT touching it? I’ll take fifteen, please. The normal consumer could not care less about the underlying power of Android. They want their phone to text, Facebook, Instagram, and take selfies without issue. That’s it.

android pile

Consumers have never cared about what operating system a phone runs, they care more about brand recognition and word of mouth. Ask an iOS user why they choose an iPhone. Seven out of ten will say because it’s the best, but not much else. Tons of Samsung owners chose Samsung because it looked kind of like iOS, but was different. It had a bigger screen than iPhone at the time, too. They switched because someone sometime told them Apple wasn’t the same without Steve Jobs. Blah, blah, blah. Go ask everyone with an Android phone that you see today about what version they are running. Get ready for some blank stares. Most Android users have no idea that Lollipop is more than a sucker.

android--samsung

Even Pebble, a company of nerds that make wrist worn computers are aware of the lack of Android brand recognition by the common consumer. They took the time to state Samsung AND Android, even though Samsung devices run Android(Don’t give me the whole Tizen thing. Tizen isn’t a thing, and it will never be a thing).

Now, you have this idea of the normal consumer in your head. Imagine explaining to them the rooting process, and what it can do for their device. But, you can under-volt your processor for longer battery! You can get this feature through Xposed! You can create a new boot animation! You can get CM12 nightly 2/14/15 that only has forty bugs! They’re going to look at you and say, “Huh?”

Let me make this abundantly clear. Rooting is not for everyone. Just because you prefer to root, does not mean that everyone can or should. Some people simply do not care about the underlying power of Android. I love Android, yet I do not care about under-volting my CPU, overclocking my mobile GPU, and running bleeding edge, unstable nightlies. I want my phone to work out of the box, period. If you root your Android device because that is what you prefer, that is perfectly fine. If you use Android without rooting that is perfectly fine. Android users do not prefer iOS, hence why we are on Android. But Android users should not be expected to root solely because we run Android. There is more to Android than the power behind it.

android nexus

Now, I’m going to counter my argument here for a second. I do truly believe rooting devices can add benefit to the user experience, in certain situations. I have rooted devices in the past, but I prefer not to today. I am completely comfortable rooting my devices and going through the process. Rooting can definitely help elongate battery life and stabilize performance. There are definitely advantages to rooting a device. But the process to root the device simply isn’t for everyone, and that is perfectly fine. The bigger problem with this lies with device makers not supporting their products adequately.

If an Android user wants to dive into rooting a device, that is phenomenal. But to simply tell someone, “Just root it” without giving them any type of guidance or help is just shy of foolish. There are many, many users that might want to take the plunge into more control. But that does not mean they want to go through the sometimes complicated process of rooting their device. If you don’t own a Nexus device, the process is far from simple and straightforward.

Remember, rooting is not for everyone, and there is no need to discriminate against them because of this. This elitist nature that is present in sects of the Android community is toxic and is hurting users. Apple users have nice, shiny Apple stores to walk into for council and support. Android users are left in a warzone of conflicting opinions and solutions. It can be incredibly overwhelming at first glance. But the community is really all we have. The Android community is left to pick up the pieces Google, manufacturers, and carriers will not.

The problem is so multifaceted it makes my head spin. Manufacturers and carriers maintain a control over Android that simply should not exist. The problems that may arise can be fixed by rooting, yes. But that in no way means that those problems should be fixed by rooting. Not everyone cares enough to delve into their device at that level. With Android shifting to a more widespread, user friendly approach; that has to be taken into consideration. The common consumer does not need to root their device, given the potential complications and often confusing process.

Android is still fantastic. In my opinion, it is the best mobile operating system on the market. It is gorgeous, functional, and powerful. But not everyone wants the power of Android. They simply want to get on Facebook and text their friends. Android has changed, adapted and grown over the years. The problem with Android is that it holds such a massive market. Kids, grandparents, technophiles, technologically unaware, and people who simply do not care. That is such a broad range of users. The best experience for each and every one of them is so vastly different, there is no right answer on how to attain that best experience. We need to respect those users, because they still use Android, just not the same way as some of us. Be together, not the same. That is Android’s new slogan, it is important we all remember that.

Mark Gurman: Apple Watch will have iPhone-like Notification Center

notification center apple watch

Speaking on the 9to5 Happy Hour podcast, well-respected Apple reporter, Mark Gurman revealed that Apple will have an iPhone-like pulldown Notification Center on the Apple Watch.

There’s some features that Apple hasn’t discussed yet on the Watch that really take advantage of the square display. Like, one of my many friend with an Apple Watch told me that there’s actually a full Notification Center slide-down menu on the Watch. So, if you’re on the Home screen, instead of sliding up for Glances, you slide down and there’s a Notification Center that’s based on the exact same concept as on the iPhone and the iPad and it looks really nice and pretty.

On the podcast, the chatter was over the fact that Apple elected to use a square watch face instead of a round one and the effect it has on the consumption of information.

Given that it’s Mark Gurman reporting, we’ll assume this is very likely given his track record. You can listen to the podcast here.