Horace Dediu: ‘The Watch’

Horace Dediu:

Realizing that on the iPhone the “phone” is but an app — one which I find populated with FaceTime calls rather than cellular calls and whose messaging history is filled with iMessage threads rather than SMS — I consider it safe to say what the iPhone is today not as much a phone as a very personal computer. And so the question is whether the Watch will quickly leave behind its timekeeping anchor and move into being something completely different.

I had the chance to use the Watch for a few days and can say that timekeeping is probably as insignificant to its essence as it’s possible to be. It feels like a watch in the physical sense, looking good in the process (as the iPhone physically felt like a phone, also without being hard on the eyes)

However it does not feel like a watch conceptually.

Great piece, and I think Horace is onto something important. But I subtly disagree. The more I live with Apple Watch, the more I think it is just a watch. Pre-iPhone, a “phone” was something we used for voice calls and text messaging. Post-iPhone, a “phone” now means a networked personal computer in your pocket or purse.

If you think of a “watch” as purely a device for telling the time of day, then Apple Watch is not just a watch. But if you think of a “watch” as a wrist-worn glance-able display of status information (including, perhaps prominently, perhaps not, the time of day), and as a signifier of your personal taste and style, then Apple Watch is very much a watch. The difference is that it’s a watch imagined from the ground up for the modern era of ubiquitous wireless networking and powerful minuscule computers.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015