Kakuweb Blog Rants and raves. Some interesting stuff, most of it not.

The Apple Watch is a Gimmick

I’m an old Apple fan boy, but I don’t like the Apple Watch, I don’t own one and don’t want to own one. I think it’s a gimmick. What good is a timepiece that can’t fulfill its one, major, function: telling time, half the time? A timepiece that goes to sleep on you and won’t show you what time it is, one that you have to plug in every night because the damn thing’s battery won’t last even 20 hours? It’s useless.

And the programming APIs for it are crap, this device cannot do anything on its own, without the aid of a recent iPhone. Yes, that’s right, if you don’t have your iPhone with you, paired to the watch (which means it’s sucking even more battery power from both devices) then your watch is even more useless! We all know Apple has been releasing beta products for the past decade, branding them as version 1, making us pay for them, and then have us do their debugging for them. This is nothing new, don’t ever buy a version 1 of any product, especially from Apple. But this feels more like a pre-alpha build, not even a beta.

So yeah, fuck the watch.

Now, having said all this, the only reason I would ever even consider throwing away 350€ on a worthless piece of crap is for fitness. This is the one area where the Apple watch is attractive to me. I’m not a gym rat, in fact, I hate going to the gym, I’m a lazy bastard. The idea of going to a gym and doing an hour of aerobics, or tae bo, or musical pilates chairs, or whatever the fuck the latest fad Madonna is doing, makes me want to kill myself. Swimming laps in a pool? I’d rather drown!

I hate exercise for exercise’s sake, it bores me, I’m against it in a fundamental, human rights way. If that’s your thing, good for you, it just doesn’t work for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always done sports, I love exercise, I love the way it makes you feel, during and after, I love endorphins, it’s why I eat dark chocolate. But I need an objective, I need a goal. Putting the ball in the net, kicking it to your teammate for an almost score, enduring frostbite just to catch that nice wave, having a heart attack going uphill on a bicycle just so you can almost kill yourself going downhill at insane speeds, throwing a 6-foot bastard over your shoulder and then putting a joint-lock on them, kicking the other team’s arse. These are all lofty goals that I enjoy.

Up until six months ago, I used to get my kicks (literally and figuratively) doing martial arts and I loved it. But, as you get older (I’m 46 as of this writing), your body starts suffering, you don’t recover as fast and are more prone to injury. So eight years of Hapkido left me with a torn ligament in my knee and a fissured meniscus, also biceps tendinitis. Each of these conditions requires separate surgery with subsequent recovery periods of about six to nine months, for each one. So yeah, fuck that. I had to stop doing martial arts and am now focusing on mountain biking, with very little of the mountain part.

Martial arts provide an incredibly effective workout and they’re good for your mind too, but that’s a post for another time. The point is that without them, I, not only, started to get fatter and meaner but also more slovenly and lazy. So I need an alternative. And this is where the worthless hunk of shit known as the Apple Watch can help. It tracks your heartbeat and your movements and keeps encouraging you to move and not be such a lard-arse, and that’s great. Whenever I go out riding, I have to wear a heartbeat sensor around my chest and make sure to take the iPhone with me so it can record the calories burned, average heart rate, etc. The app I use on the iPhone, Strava, also records speed, distance, height and segments. All this data encourages you to keep improving, so, as meaningless as it is, it’s quite useful (who said meaningless wasn’t useful?).

But I have to remember to wear the dumb sensor, and I have to make sure I have pockets for my iPhone (if you’ve ever seen bike-riding clothes you know that pockets are not a big feature), and I have to remember to turn Strava on. This is all too taxing for my simple brain and I often forget to do one or more of the above. Wouldn’t it be great if I could just grab the bike and go? And have my data recorded automatically? That would be so Jetsons! Or, actually, it would be the future we were promised, where the fuck is my personal jet pack you bastards? Or my flying car?

Anyway, a device that records this data by itself and can then transfer it to your Mac or at least iPhone, would be great. The kicker would be a devise that had other uses as well so you could wear it even if you’re not going for a ride, now that would be something I could pay some money for, because I can guarantee you I would forget to wear the fucking thing if it wasn’t already strapped to an appendage. I even considered buying one of those bracelet thingies but I haven’t found one that looks that useful, or that I would want to wear even when not riding, hell, I haven’t found one that doesn’t make me feel like a fucking douchebag.

The Apple Watch looks like it might, one day, be this device, if the iPhone is any indication, we’ll have to wait until the third generation for it to get mildly usable. If Apple gets around to fixing the shittily unacceptable battery life, if they make it thinner, if they make it less gimmicky, if their programming SDKs actually allow developers to do something with the damn thing (Watch 2.0 is a good indication that things are moving in the right direction) and if they lower the price…

To paraphrase Rudyard Kippling: “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And— which is more —you’ll be useful, my son!”

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