As Apple customers, we're accustomed to seeing the most popular consumer products updated annually. Like the iPhone and iMac. However, there are very good reasons why we won't see a new Apple Watch in March.
This thesis is derived from my Particle Debris standout article of the week. It's an exceptionally astute analysis by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet titled: "Apple Watch 2 probably won't land until September, and that makes perfect sense." In this article, Mr. Kingsley-Hughes makes the following important points.
- There us little in the way of competition that would force Apple to rush Apple Watch 2. [However, see below.]
- The Apple Watch is a luxury item that has enduring value, not something that must be updated on a schedule.
- It's more important, right now, to accumulate sales of this product than to upgrade current owners. Many of whom, by the way, paid a pretty penny for their original Apple Watch.
- The rate of change of technology and the limits of technology for this product preclude a quick, dramatic update.
This is a great list. It also complements my own previous argument, an expansion of item #4. "Can the Next Apple Watch Be Any Thinner?" In that article I looked at the conflict of user desires: more features, faster apps, a thinner design, and longer battery life. We can't have them all.
It's like all the US defense projects: You always want your system Faster, Better and Cheaper. The fact is, you can only have two at a time. Pick any two.
In a small device like this, making the battery last longer, to first order, is in conflict with making the the watch thinner and more powerful. And so, I concluded, that it will be several more years before the electronics and battery are small enough to make the watch both more powerful and thinner.
All these arguments, by Mr. Kingsley-Hughes and myself, are another way of saying that it would be unrealistic and unproductive for Apple to release a new Apple Watch after roughly a year. The technological leap would be modest and a new Apple Watch at this point would only serve to alienate Apple's current customers.
Not only that, but many Apple Watch customers, who didn't get up in the middle of the night on April 10th, 2015 to pre-order, weren't able to acquire a watch until mid-May or perhaps later. That makes March of 2016 only a 10 month anniversary. That's so soon, it would only serve to offend the early adopters and luxury smartwatch aficionados.
However, Apple's can't go too long without an update. See, for example, "Smartwatches now more popular than Swiss watches, thanks to Apple." The smartwatch competition will watch for signs of weakness or complacency by Apple, and the Swiss will most assuredly get into a higher gear—the more time they have to work with.
And so there's a middle ground for Apple. The best estimates I've seen are for an announcement in September, 2016 with, perhaps, delivery in time for Christmas. And what's even more interesting? Apple had to be thinking about all of this last summer, planning the hardware, while we were still oggling the first version.
Next: The Tech News Debris for the Week of February 15th.
Page 2 - The Tech News Debris for the Week of February 15th
Speaking of the Apple Watch, I found this remarkable article last week, but didn't have the space to include it. "One Year In: Why A Die-Hard Mechanical Watch Lover Can't Get The Apple Watch Off His Wrist (And Why That Matters)." While Apple Watch long-term-experience articles hit their peak last fall, this one is exceptional in both its analysis and its brilliant photography of the product. Whether you're a current owner or still on the fence, this is must reading.
From the article above.
We know that Apple is capturing all the profits in the smartphone business. But what's the explanation? At Fortune, Philip Elmer-DeWitt charts the Average Selling Price (ASP) of the iPhone and Android smartphones over the years. "The Apple iOS and Android Price Gap Just Gets Wider." (Click the labelled boxes at the top of the chart to toggle). Then the answer is clear. As the ASP of Android phones has fallen, presumably to capture more market share, the percentage profit, in dollars, has shrunk. Meanwhile, Apple's profit, in dollars, has remained high. R&D makes Apple iPhones desirable, and people will pay close to $700, directly or over time.
So much for market share when you're in a race to the bottom and have little money for the R&D war with Apple.
You've heard of Moore's Law, right? Actually, it's not a law of physics. Rather, it's a technological observation made by Gordon Moore, the founder of Intel, back in 1965. I've linked to the Wikipedia article if you want to brush up. And so, in this well researched article, Arik Hesseldahl at re/code looks at how the "Global Chip Industry Readies for a Future Beyond Moore’s Law." This one is also must reading.
4KTV. Are we there yet? Is HDR all worked out even with edge-mounted backlighting on premium sets? Apparently not. John Archer at Forbes has "slightly worrying" observations in "Hands On With Sony's Troubling X930D And Dazzling 'Backlight Master Drive' 4K HDR TVs." This is a troubling situation.
Do you go home from work and study? Do you research the literature and technology related to your profession? If not, you could be working yourself right out of your job. See: "People who don't spend 5 hours a week online learning will make themselves obsolete, says AT&T CEO." Just because you don't work for Apple, Google, or Microsoft doesn't mean you don't have to work on continuing education.
Is Apple working on a social network to compete with Facebook? Capital Market Laboratories thinks so.
What’s more, Apple is firing over the bow of not just Facebook, but of a huge range of other companies including Uber, Lyft, Yelp, and many more. The implications are staggering.
Here's the prognostication: "The Secret is Out: Apple's Social Network is Here."
Think about it. A vast social network from Apple without the creepy factor. And appropriate privacy enforced by Apple. (I hope.) Could be cool. Or it could be just plain ... creepy.
I love my iPad Pro. I loved it the moment it came out of the box. I still love it. But many did not feel that way at first. CIO Magazine's astute Jim Lynch had his doubts early on. But now, he's recanted and joined the fold! "iPad Pro: I bought it and I love it!" If you have any doubts yourself, this article will put you at ease.
Firefox 2.0 is now out for iOS and invokes iOS strengths. (I like it a lot.)
Just above I wrote about working at home to keep up with technology. Here's one article that will, perhaps, inspire you about the current and coming technological era. "A 19-year-old made a free robot lawyer that has appealed $3 million in parking tickets."
In recent podcasts and articles, I've talked about autonomous cars. One issue is whether such a car should have manual controls as a backup system, especially for emergencies. Here's some food for thought. "Here's why Google's driverless cars don't have steering wheels." Has Google really thought about all the emergency situations? Somehow, my gut feelings says No.
Finally, did you buy an Apple MacBook last year? Some of the charger cables that came with it might be defective. Below, I've linked to the story and the fix. Make sure you registered your email with Apple at purchase. If not, you'll need to take your old charger cable into a local Apple retail store for a replacement. (See this article for details on how to determine if your cable might be defective.) "Apple begins shipping replacement USB-C cables to Retina MacBook owners."
Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.