Tag Archive for ‘David Pierce’

The Secret History of Apple Watch ➝

Great behind the scenes profile of the Apple Watch development process by David Pierce. It’s a long read, but it’s chock full of interesting tidbits — like the first working prototypes for Apple Watch being iPhones that they would strap to their wrists and run a simulator on for software testing:

The team built a simulator that displayed a life-size image of an Apple Watch on the screen. Software was moving much more quickly than hardware, and the team needed a way to test how it worked on your wrist. There was even an onscreen digital crown—a facsimile of a watch’s classic knob—that you could swipe to spin, but it hardly replicated the feeling of twisting a real crown. Swiping, after all, is what the knob was supposed to replace. So they made a custom dongle, an actual watch crown that plugged into the bottom of the phone through the cord jack.

I also found the bit about Apple’s work on the Taptic engine interesting. Translating sound effects into physical sensations that capture what a text message or a tweet would feel like is the kind of attention to detail I’ve come to expect from apple.

The Verge Reviews the Withings Activité ➝

David Pierce:

It’s one part standard wristwatch, one part fitness tracker. It tracks your sleep, steps, and activity. It costs $450. It’s beautiful: made of carefully machined sapphire, calf leather, and stainless steel. It looks like a watch in the most traditional sense.

It’s exactly what you think it is, exactly what it should be. It’s not the future of smartwatches — it’s not even a smartwatch. It’s just a watch, with more in common with century-old chronographs and calculator watches than the Apple Watch. And the Activité, or something like it, is almost certainly the future of watches.

I’ve never really worn a watch — my entire adult life I’ve had a cell phone in my front-left pocket and don’t understand why anyone would wear something around their wrist that does what their smartphone already does. And, the difference between turning my wrist and pulling my phone out of my pocket isn’t large enough to warrant the cost of a smartwatch (both in terms of monetary cost and time spent managing the device).

But watches shouldn’t be about features, they should be pieces of jewelry that are meant to be worn for their looks. If I was ever going to wear a watch, this is pretty close to what I would want in a smartwatch. I would wear it, not because of what it can do, but because of how it looks. It would be a fashion accessory, not something meant to be fiddled with for several minutes every hour or two.

It doesn’t have to be charged every day, it doesn’t beat you over the head with a long list of features, and it doesn’t steal your attention from social situations with a bunch of notifications. It’s simple, just some sensors and a beautifully made time piece. It’s exactly what a smartwatch should be.

Wearing the Microsoft Band ➝

A quick preview of the Microsoft Band by The Verge’s David Pierce. It looks uncomfortable to wear, but there’s definitely tons of technology built into it.

I’m still not convinced that smartwatches will take hold in the mainstream market, but at least everyone is starting to figure out that the fitness features is where they should be spending their time. Little screens aren’t great for apps. But, sensors strapped to your body are very good at gathering data that can be displayed on a device with a bigger screen or used to give you suggestions about how to improve your overall health.