Okay, wait one more day to buy from Apple

Side view of Apple iPhone 7

Strictly speaking, you could wait as long as you like: it’s less that there was anything so compelling that you must wait for it, more that what was announced is much better than what you’d get in the shop yesterday.

You can’t get any of the new products today, nor really tomorrow either. But from Friday 9 September you can pre-order the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. Usually I twitch if I don’t immediately tell you a price but with phones it’s complicated: many or most people buy them subsidised on a contract and not always predictably so. But as a quick guide, whatever you would’ve paid for an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus on Monday, that’s what you’ll pay for the 7 range from Friday.

From a productivity perspective, the significant improvements are in the battery life, performance and also capacity. In reverse order, the old small 16Gb model is no more and this can only be good. Then performance is fast. Faster than last time. Do you like the level of detail you’re getting here? And lastly the battery life is claimed to be two hours longer, on average, for the iPhone 7 and one hour longer on the iPhone 7 Plus.

There is also a radically improved camera which doesn’t happen to make much difference to what I work on but your mileage may be very improved.

Have a look at the official Apple site for all the details I’ve skimped on, all the other details I’ve skipped, and also the changes to the Apple Watch. I am placing a call to Ms Bank Manager and Mr Claus in order to get myself a jet black iPhone 7 Plus and a ceramic Apple Watch Series 2 but the big advantage in the new Watch is coming to the old one too. The Apple Watch on my wrist is already improved because I’ve been testing watchOS 3 which will be released in public shortly and genuinely makes the watch feel like new.

The new Series 2 Watch appears to be faster and to have a brighter screen: I’m not fussed about the screen, the old one is fine. But you know how it is with Apple gear: if it doesn’t look great in the demos, it does when you hold it in your hand.

Weekend read: Swiss watchmakers have no chance against Apple

If the Apple Watch is a hit, it won’t be because Apple is winning over would-be Tag Heuer or Rolex customers. It’ll be because Apple will have convinced tens of millions of people to wear tiny computers on their wrists. Those people will then have no need for “watches.” Apple has some work to do here—most people are still far from convinced that they need one of these things, and the design could be thinner and prettier. But it’s starting strong.

Meanwhile, there’s no reason to believe that the people who buy Tag Heuer watches for their craftsmanship have any interest in tracking their fitness or getting text message notifications on their horological heirlooms. And if you’re buying a classic mechanical watch, it’s supposed to last forever, to be passed down to your offspring—not to go obsolete after a couple of years.

Why Swiss smartwatches have no chance against the Apple Watch – Dan Frommer, Quartz (19 March 2015)

Right now I am wearing a wristwatch that has no hands and no digits: its face just has the word “now” written on it. By far the most accurate watch I’ve ever had, though lately I do think it’s been losing a few seconds. Still, much as I like and rely on it, it’s going. I will be buying an Apple watch because I already see how I’ll use it. At £300 it will be the most expensive watch I’ve ever bought yet I am persuaded, I see the value. I’ve never seen the value in expensive analogue watches – or rather, I’ve never seen the value to me. I definitely appreciate the artistry and engineering brilliance, but this is the first time I’ve recognised a specific worth to me of an expensive watch.

So I think Frommer may be right: Swiss watchmakers could even be wound up.

Read the full piece.

Jony Ive interview

The Financial Times has an interesting interview and profile of Jony Ive, chief designer at Apple, the company that today announced details of its Watch. Ive is credited with the Watch and, says the FT, with getting Apple to its current incredible financial worth:

In great part, that valuation rests on the shoulders of a 48-year-old Englishman. Yet as he lopes towards me down the corridor, in his comfortable suede shoes, bright-blue trousers and baggy, long-sleeved yellow top, his kindly features creased up in a welcoming grin, those broad shoulders seem remarkably unbowed.

Ive is arguably the most influential designer in the world, and yet he does that slightly disingenuous self-effacement thing characteristic of confident people who say they are just part of a team. There is a gentleness about him. He talks quietly and articulately in an accent unaffected by two decades in America. Even when he describes those who copy Apple as little better than thieves, it is with a smile and softness of tone that suggests he would far rather the unpleasant subject had never been brought up.

The man behind the Apple Watch – Nick Foulkes, Financial Times (6 March 2015

Read the full piece.


Microsoft is launching a smart watch that will help with your fitness, according to Forbes. Maybe it’s just the cheesy photo but I want to look at Microsoft and give them a friendly tilt of my head, a warm moment’s crinkling of my nose. Microsoft is a gigantic, astonishingly gigantic corporation yet it acts like a little kid, “we can do that, we can do it too, in fact we did it first, yeah, no comebacks, to infinity”.

Apple tends to roll up late to a category of product and then just totally change how everybody ever makes that stuff again. (Look at mobile phones before the iPhone and then look at mobile phones after it. It’s equal parts impressive, laughable and a bit depressing how you can spot a massive seachange and pin it down to the single hour when Steve Jobs unveiled that iPhone.)

Whereas Microsoft, not so much. I didn’t know that Microsoft would bring out a smart watch but I should’ve bet. I did read the top of the Forbes article and know this much for certain, for absolute certain: whether it was a leaked report or a formal Microsoft press release, it would still end with information that the company isn’t saying when it will be released or what it will cost. And to think I wasn’t impressed that Apple said “early 2015” for its watch. At least they gave a starting price.

Here’s Forbes, doing its thing:

Microsoft MSFT +2.08% is gearing up to launch a wearable device within the next few weeks, Forbes has learned. The gadget is a smart watch that will passively track a wearer’s heart rate and work across different mobile platforms. It will also boast a battery life of more than two days of regular use, sources close to the project say.

That could put it ahead of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch and Moto 360 which both need to be charged around once a day. The wearable will hit stores soon after launch in a bid to capture the lucrative holiday season, a timeline Apple AAPL +1.46% was reportedly targeting before it delayed its own Watch to early 2015.

Forbes first reported in May that Microsoft was working on a smart watch that drew on optical engineering expertise from its Kinect division, and which would sync with iPhones, Android devices and Windows Phones. It is unclear what Microsoft will name the device, or what it will cost at retail

Microsoft Plans To Launch A Wearable Device Within Weeks – Parmy Olson, Forbes (10 October 2014)

Read the full piece.

For when you still quietly fancy the Moto 360 round smartwatch

It does look very nice.


I’ve spent the last seven days with Motorola’s smartwatch strapped to my wrist, recharging it every night at around 10PM and re-equipping it immediately upon crawling out of bed. I’ve had it synced with my HTC One (M8) the entire time.

My experience over the past week has taught me a lot about the future of smartwatches, the importance of intuitive software on a tiny device, and all the ways Apple could make just about every other smartwatch — including my new Moto 360 — look like a joke

What a week with the Moto 360 taught me about the Apple Watch – Mike Wehner, TUAW (14 October 2014)

Read the full piece.

Will.I.Ever.Learn tries to beat the Apple Watch with a Teleport Bracelet

Pray you don’t get one of these for Christmas. I know you won’t buy it for yourself, but imagine someone giving it to you on Christmas Day and noticing that you stopped wearing it by Valentines. Because the Apple Watch is out. Now, that’s not to even pretend that the Apple Watch will be unbeatable, but it is being generous saying you could still be wearing Will.i.am’s new smartwatch by February.

I say smartwatch. Apparently he or some people are calling it a cuff. Okay. Looks like a black plastic version of the teleport bracelets from Blake’s 7 to me.

A site called The Next Web got that image and says:

When you think wearables, you don’t usually think international superstar or Salesforce. Push aside that old way of thinking aside because Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am just unveiled his Puls smartwatch at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.

Pronounced “pulse,” the smartwatch is voice controlled via a Siri-like feature called Aneeda (get it? Aneeda. I need a…). It ships with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (called Twitrist. get it? Twit wrist. Puns!), and Salesforce. It also has the expected photo, email, contacts, call, texting, calculator, music and fitness functions.

Will.i.am Introduces the Puls Smartwatch – no author named, The Next Web (16 October 2014)

Read the full piece for much more detail and much more photography. There are a couple of shots where you’ll think actually, that’s not bad. But then there are some where you’ll need drink a couple of shots before you think that.

Watch Windows 95 on your watch

Some people criticise this fella – you know it’s a fella – because he’s got Windows 95 running on his Android Wear watch but it crashes.

If you ask me, he’s just faithfully reproducing the Windows-for-the-D’oh experience. I do remember watching Windows 95 start up, in 1996 naturally, and wondering if this was really the future. And if there were perhaps another future I could switch to, please.

No more callers, we have a winner: Apple Watch

That’s it, I’m done. I’m buying an Apple Watch.

Previously, I’ve ignored the whole smart watch fad, I’ve been tempted by the announcement of Motorola’s Moto 360, I’ve got bored and lost all interest, I’ve been re-tempted by the eventual launch of that same Moto 360.

It got to the stage where yesterday I would recommend the Moto 360 being worth your having a look. And I had decided yeah, maybe, that is good and someday that will be a really great thing. But I didn’t know whether I would actually want one.

That’s over now. No chance I will ever buy or even bother to look at the Moto 360.

But I will have an Apple Watch on my wrist next year. Yes, it looks good but what sold me is the depth of thinking they’ve done on this: the myriad tiny details that make this watch something genuinely useful that you will genuinely use.

Go take a look at the mass of detail now available on the Apple site.

The 319 news stories I won’t read

It’s 319 now, it’ll be 320 any second and by next Tuesday evening I reckon it’ll be over a thousand.

All about Apple.

And I won’t read any of them.

I like Apple, my work has been transformed by some of their products and I am very aware that next Tuesday’s company event looks pretty big. I’m aware of the rumours that it will feature a watch too.


Apple has a lot of events and while I enjoy them, I’ve grown very weary and also wary of the news coverage beforehand. Afterwards, fine: there can be some useful and interesting details. But beforehand, there isn’t news, there is a smash and grab attempt to get hits on news sites. One site has been posting stories most every day for months now with headlines, written in all caps, that begin with words like “BIGGEST APPLE LEAK EVER”. Sometimes the leak is around the level of an exclusive revelation that there are two Ps in Apple.

You can argue that I’m doing something similar here: I wanted you to click on this piece and it is ostensibly about Apple yet I’m not giving you any news. But it’s really about you and it’s really about news in general. I’m finding it surprisingly hard to ignore those Apple news stories in my RSS feed and I suppose that must mean I usually enjoy reading them.


I’m sick of the cycle. After an event, you get news stories saying how wonderful Apple is and you get news stories saying how crap Apple is. You get companies that make iPhone cases going giddy, you get Apple’s rivals rubbishing everything. No way anyone will ever buy an iPhone. I rather enjoyed last year’s outcry of mockery over how Apple’s iPhones have now got 64-bit processors instead of 32-bits. Now, one reason I like Apple is that they usually say nuts to specifications, they concentrate on what you can actually do with the stuff. Whereas PC manufacturers are all about who has one more Ghz or one more pixel. I’ve been in a store with a sales woman telling me that it didn’t matter what I wanted to use the computer for, this one was using an Intel Pentium 99 XX YY ZZ Top processor. QED.

Consequently this 64-bit processor bit was unusual and it was on turf that Apple’s competitors usually scrap on. Which meant kneejerk reactions, instant kneejerk reactions. This is purely and simply a marketing stunt, you see, nobody would ever need that extra performance. So said every company who has since announced they’ve got a 64-bit model come out soon anyway, so there. And so said the one company that has actually done it, a year after Apple. I can’t remember what company that is, I just remember that they’ve released a 64-bit Android phone before Android can handle 64-bits.

Fine, that was fun.

What wasn’t was the few times that journalists have slammed Apple for not doing something. That would be fine, that would be fair comment, except that Apple does not ever say in advance what it’s going to do. So this criticism was really a condemnation of Apple for not doing something it didn’t say it would. That irritates me as a reader, that obfuscates the times when Apple actually makes bad moves or poor products, and it cuts me as a journalist because it’s speculation built atop bollocks.

I thought I was immune to this but that’s like saying adverts don’t work. There was one Apple event where I was disappointed because it didn’t include a particular thing. Now, I would say that this particular thing was something I wanted and knew I would use – as opposed to the smartwatch which I’m just curious about – but I can’t.

I’m sure it’s true, I’m sure that’s why I was disappointed, but I can’t tell you because it was many Apple events ago. Each one supersedes the last so they don’t so much blur together as fade away. I have re-watched Steve Jobs introduce the iPhone for the first time back in 2007 because that is a rather finely done presentation. (Though Microsoft does tend to go for a quieter, more subtle approach to its presentations.)

So there is a lot of kerfuffle before an Apple event, there is a lot more after it, and in the middle there is this event which gets erased by the next one.

It’s still an event.

And I enjoy them. So I intend to watch next Tuesday (6pm UK, 10am California) and hopefully have a good time. But without any rumour-fuelled bollocks in my head. Also without any genuine facts, but.

By the way, it’s now 332 stories I’m ignoring.