Originally written in April 2016. Updated 25 October 2016 following release of new Watch hardware and OS.
Last year I wrote and progressively updated an extensive blog post on Apple Watch Accessibility with Voiceover which expands on some of the points I make here.
I received my Apple Watch as a 50th birthday present, and now I’m a few days away from 51, I thought a new post exploring my experience and hopes for the next release was in order. Here it is 🙂
Like a sizeable majority , I do like and use my Apple Watch, but it is a far cry from what I wish it could do and quite a bit less reliable from time-to-time than I’d like.
Many bugs I’ve reported have never been addressed, these are predominantly Voiceover bugs – and I can only assume that is because work is well on the way for a new Watch os release for new hardware.
The processor just isn’t fast enough, the wireless and Bluetooth are not reliable enough and few if any apps lived up to the Apple Hype of Watch os2
Still, there are lots of good elements of the first hardware release of the Apple Watch.
I find it difficult to believe that Apple would have done so much work on the Watch casing and band design that they would abandon it for the next hardware release.
It seems to me that it should be a Tick Tock for the Apple Watch 1S or 2 – to gain greatest benefit from the tooling and production investment.
Before its release, people complained about the size of the Apple Watch for a while, but overall no-one seems particularly upset that it is as thick as it is.
Logically , the Band design is here for at least the next hardware cycle.
People said it at the time and in hindsight it is pretty clear that Apple would have liked a more capable first release, but they had to put a stake in the ground and get the Watch out there and on to wrists.
That assumed, it would be clear as soon as it was released that an upgrade was needed, but not so soon that people laying out up to a Grand would feel ripped off by an immediate upgrade. 18 months is the right timeframe here.
If I’d been involved, the logic would have been “lets determine the size of the casing and inner shell and lets plan that the next series internals will be fitted into it.
I think the only risk to this is – and we don’t know – that the current casing has some unanticipated shortcomings – such as perhaps negatively impacting wireless and Bluetooth – meaning that – after prolonged testing in the wild that a newer case design is really needed to reliably move forward.
I’m probably being way too optimistic, but I dream of an Apple who appreciates those who purchased the Stainless models and may even offer a discounted upgrade swap or internals upgrade. Sapphire Crystal Stainless shell, these could be re-used.
Perhaps they have a robot that could open your watch, drop in the new internals and ship it back to you – you scratched your saffire, you can buy a new watch or save some money and keep the casing and glass.
Update: in hindsight I was too optimistic, and I’ve gifted my series 0 watch to my brother.
It seems unlikely this would be an option for the Sports due to its lower-cost materials and its price point.
Its pretty evident that since Watch OS2 that no real work has gone into features or even bugs in the current watch releases, which suggests there is a next generation Watch OS well under-way, and hopefully with a more powerful version of Voiceover too.
The key change in the most recent release was the ability to connect two watches to a single phone. Seems like a small use case for Apple demonstrators, but essential if the next Watch version is in some kind of internal and managed external testing stages.
None of this stops new sensors being included and perhaps the electrical connector bus will be employed to create smart bands with other sensors embedded in them.
I don’t see that the size and shape urgently needs to change – and it saves a lot of work on what is supposed to be somewhat timely – the look and design of a watch.
I can’t see Apple wanting too many old watches out there – they are just too limited. That is a key reason why I expect that they will be working hard to encourage current watch owners to upgrade.
I confess I have not invested huge effort into what Apple might include in the next watch as I’ll likely be disappointed. But a few things I’d like include:
How did I do?
Update: well they made it a shortcut to up to ten apps, so pretty close.
Update: this is improved, and faster hardware and a Voiceover upgrade makes this less problematic now.
Update: better quality speaker with better frequency response If not louder, then easier to understand overall.
Update: the AirPods should address this nicely – but remains to see if they handle a call on the phone and Watch output simultaneously, or in separate ears.
Update: there is the barometric sensor, but what role it plays is unclear at this stage.