Running without iPhones, Thin Pipes and Keyboard Hell

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“When I take my iPhone with me on a run, my Apple Watch’s pace and distance estimates are highly accurate. Without my iPhone, it became so inaccurate it was useless.”

Source: Running without iPhone makes Apple Watch inaccurate | Cult of Mac

This is a giant problem.  Apple makes great devices, but more and more, Apple seems to be counting on our love of Apple to blind us to the things that these great devices inexplicably cannot do.

Bling is great, but you need to be at least as good at the basic stuff as the other devices you are trying to replace.  Sure, fitness is just one component of the Apple Watch, but if you agree with me that apps are not fun to use on the watch, then fitness and notifications are the primary things differentiating the Apple Watch from the watch John Cameron Swayze was hawking to the ladies the year I was born (I wonder how my Apple watch would like that dishwasher?).

When people ask how I like my Apple Watch, my answer is I like it, but don’t love it.  I (still) have to carry my iPhone with me when I work out, and I almost never open an app on it.  At least in my neighborhood, the Apple Watch is making slow progress in its efforts to claim the wrists of regular folks.  I’ve seen less than 5 in the wild.  I offered to buy my wife one.  She said no, because there are a ton of other options that do a better job of accurately tracking her runs.

Similarly, the new Apple TV has a lot of bling.  But under the hood, it lacks basic functionality (including, but not limited to, all those content deals Apple couldn’t get, and Amazon Prime Video), and requires far too much credentials keyboarding on the pretty but frustrating new remote.  Some of this (Amazon and other content) may not be Apple’s fault, but some of it is.  For example, on a slower internet connection,  my year old Amazon Fire TV still loads much faster than my brand-new Apple TV. That beautiful screen saver is awesome, but it’s not  why I bought the device.

If Apple wants us to continue to pay the Apple premium for new devices, those devices need to be mind-blowing, like the original iPhone and iPad, and not meh-inducing, like the Apple Watch and much of the new Apple TV.

Why Jesus Was Wrong About Apple Television

Jesus Diaz, that is.

I don’t know if Apple plans to manufacture a television or not, but it should.  If I had to guess, I’d say it will and that the current Apple TV is giving up its name for its forthcoming big brother.

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Why should Apple make a television?  I’ll give you 6 reasons:

1.  The trend is towards content on demand, and away from traditional content providers.  Netflix, Hulu, etc. are prime evidence of this.  In fact, I’d dump DirecTV and its never-ending “Searching for signal in Satellite In 2” message in a heartbeat if I could access most of the shows I care about online.  Apple is very good at identifying and accelerating trends.  I think on-demand TV via the internet is the next big thing, and I think Apple may be the one to ultimately drive the masses that way

2.  Everyone hates their current content provider.  I have fought with DirecTV for months trying to get a permanent fix to my signal problem.  DirecTV sent yet another repair tech out a week ago Thursday.  A week ago Saturday, the message returned.  I’m paying for service I’m not getting, for months on end.  Cable is no better (though in the absence of a third option, I may soon be a cable customer again).  There is a very dissatisfied population of satellite/cable customers waiting for a way to stick it to their current provider.  Apple may show them the way.

3.  Everyone loves Apple.  Apple has incredible brand loyalty, which is why people (like, say, me) stand in line for hours to buy the newest iPhone.  Part of love is trust, which means that consumers will trust a product delivered by Apple more than one made by another brand.  Recent antenna problems notwithstanding, Apple has a pretty good track record of delivering quality products.

4.  Who cares if you can buy televisions for less than $2,000?  You can buy every single product Apple makes for way less.  Apple is living at the high end of the market, where $2,000 for a television is not the hurdle it would be at the middle and lower end.

5.  It’s not really $2,000 anyway, when you consider all the gear it would replace.  You’d no longer need a separate DVD player, home theater receiver (assuming the Apple sets have adequate speakers and audio outputs) or universal remote control.   Depending on the OS and available apps, you might be able to get rid of a computer and monitor or two as well, along with the associated peripherals.  $2,000 for the iMac of home theaters would be a pretty good deal.

6.  Perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t have to be an either/or thing.  By the time any Apple television comes to market, there will be even more streaming and downloadable content available.  An Apple set, with an OTA antenna or just basic cable service, would still be a whole lot cheaper than the couple hundred dollars a month many people currently pay their cable or satellite provider.  That monthly savings would allow for a lot of iTunes purchases.  I think that’s Apple’s end-game.

If I were a satellite or cable provider, I’d be very nervous.  As a consumer, I’m hopeful.