Apple Watch vs Pebble Time Steel

12 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 things the MacBook needs in the next generation.

The most detailed data on this problem, a July 2014 Endeavor Partners study, tells us that about a third of all smartwatch and fitness band owners abandon their wrist wearables after six months.

The 2010 MacBook Air refresh didn’t bring back everything we’d lost, but Apple did ditch the trap door, beef up the storage, and re-illuminate the keyboard. Here’s what I’d like to see in the second generation. (And I’ll skip such obvious gimmes like another USB-C port, faster processor, and lower price.) Adding Touch ID to a laptop would fix that, plus let me unlock the computer itself biometrically. Trust me: I’ve been reviewing smartwatches since they became a thing, and once you run out of juice the first time, you’re already on the path to giving up. According to Apple, the new MacBook is all about being wireless. “Fully equipped for a wireless world,” reads its page on Apple’s website, but I have a little niggle with that claim: Where’s the wireless charging? Jony Ive and his design crew could team up with some furniture designers to make the most beautiful wireless charging station the world has ever seen.

Yet on Monday Apple confirmed that the Watch will allow voice calls from your wrist, just like Samsung’s Gear, an ambitious but seriously flawed smartwatch pioneer. I’m still clinging to my unlimited data plan on AT&T—the company no longer offers unlimited data on new plans, so I’ve kept the same exact data plan since I got my first iPhone in 2008.

My Mac laptop is for work, and I work online, so I would pay a premium for the peace of mind of knowing I could connect anywhere I can find a cell signal. Perhaps a prepaid Wi-Fi hotspot like Karma is the way to go since that could get my iPad or my Mac online, but that’s another thing I have to carry and keep charged. It’s too soon to know if the changes—the keys are larger and have a new butterfly mechanism instead of scissor switches—will make it easier to type on. But it’s also essentially useless, as none of these watches’ heart rate sensors can provide accurate real-time readings during the jumping and jostling of physical exercise.

I remember being distinctly bummed that the first-gen MacBook Air released in 2008 didn’t have the light-up keyboard that I loved in my big ol’ 15-inch MacBook Pro. It’s an extremely difficult sensor trick to pull off, and if Apple offered it, it would already be a top-line promise.) I’m cherry-picking two very obvious copycat features, but the Apple Watch is packed with many more, from mail alerts to workout programs to mapping directions to even generous support for third-party apps. Now, sure, you could argue that some smartwatch features are must-haves, that a smartwatch isn’t a smartwatch unless these features are present and accounted for. I’ve taken a second to look around the crowd when covering big tech events and press conferences at CES, and I always get a little thrill to see a sea of glowing Apple logos perched on the laps of rows and rows of journalists. (Especially if the press conference is, say, Samsung’s. I think a much stronger Apple Watch would offer simple notifications, Passbook with built-in Apple Pay, HomeKit integration, and a full suite of timekeeping and personal messaging functions.

Indeed, Apple’s small, ostensibly trivial surprise-and-delight tricks (taps, sketches, stickers, and custom animated emojis) might be all the Watch requires to be a resounding success. So while you might buy the upcoming Apple Watch, you may not buy its second-gen follow-up if you feel you didn’t get your money’s worth, or some borderline features just didn’t work.

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