The Apple Watch went on Pre-order today, and for about 15 minutes it was possible to believe that you'd have your own little piece of the magic of Santa's workshop on your wrist in a couple of week's time. Everyone else will need to wait 4-6 weeks, and so for a month or so your diligence and mid-night online lurking will have purchased you a sense of exclusivity and faux-periority.
Let me be honest for a moment: I own, and on most days carry, 4-5 Apple devices with me. I love my iPhone 6, my iPad Air, and my MacBook Pro. I'm not ashamed to say I'm a fan, and I'll curse to high heaven every time I have to use a PC. (I almost quit a job over being forced to use Windows once; instead I just limped along and did a real crappy job until my employer relented and bought something reasonable that an actual human could use.)
And, again to be honest - I woke up at 5am this morning to order an Apple Watch. Two hours after it went on sale, but I figured it would be soon enough to be near the front of the line.
And then I didn't. For the very first time, I couldn't justify splurging on a rather expensive consumer electronic device which has no practical use.
I thought back to something Tim Cook said during the release broadcast a few weeks ago, and it really stuck out.
"It'll last up to 18 hours on a single charge?!"
And he said this with no small degree of irony, as if it was something to be proud of. As if the technical accomplishment of making such a powerful computing device last so long on such a small battery were really the most impressive thing.
If the tradeoff is between something that's the absolute pinnacle of beautiful machinery and something that's useless 1/4 of the day - well, I've got to question why you'd want to put your name on something that fails at it's core purpose 25% of the time. (At least if you didn't absolutely have to - and it's hard to argue that Apple's in a position to have to do anything.)
But arguably, why not make something that millions of people will buy anyway? I can't say I'd have resisted the urge, either. But for heaven's sake: a watch that dies every. single. day. That just seems silly to me. And yes, I might buy one too, for a couple of hundred dollars.
To be clear: I have no doubt that the experience of using the watch will be beautiful. It looks lovely, it seems finely tuned to the ergonomics of a wrist-mounted interface, and as much as the "innovative digital crown" is really just a new version of the Blackberry click wheel, the UI navigation does seem to be rather intuitive.
But for a device that claims to be as much about monitoring your health and improving your well being as it is about telling time, it makes little sense to me that it can't do those things while you're sleeping. It can't gently tap you on the wrist to wake you up. It can't monitor your sleeping patterns and help improve them.
So much for my idea for an app that simulates the sensation of a dog licking your wrist while you sleep - the possibilities for lucid dreaming were literally endless.
Apple: get your act together. Invent an air- and motion-powered battery recharging module that turns my dreams into electricity.