The Future of Apple Watch
Mahdi Yusuf
424

Theres is so much Apple could do to make the Apple Watch more in line with other device/data systems out there. Here’s some quick thoughts and reactions.

GPS/Cellular Connectivity/Battery

Choose two… if we’re lucky.

Dan Moren wrote up a great piece on adding cell connectivity to the Apple Watch. To rehash: It’s the least important feature to add. The only consistent issue is getting app-connected GPS data when using something like Strava or Nike+ to track outdoor activity (side note: the automatic distance detection is reasonably accurate for indoor runs). That’s taken care of with onboard GPS. I’m with Dan here, I don’t see very many use cases where people go watch only and leave their phone at home.

I guess the streaming music could be interesting, but my guess there’s an good internal argument at Apple that’s pushed for keeping onboard music connected to iTunes/Apple Music. I know, walled gardens and all that….

Battery: engineering is hard. Duh. Physics and having to build within a limited (and probably shrinking) 3-dimensional enclosure make it difficult to squeeze more life out, especially if/when additional sensor are added (which is almost a given). But yeah, better battery life overall would be fantastic and should be a given with a new version.

GPS + Improved battery would be golden.

Sensors

Mahdi, you are spot on regarding the HR sensor. As a gentleman that sweats a lot, like too much, I am constantly looking down at my wrist and shaking my head (which gets sweat all over the treadmill, gross). Better sensor and algorithms would be great.

+1 on the increased sampling. My hope is that they start to do more background activity recognition and can adjust sampling rates accordingly. There is no reason why when I’m out on a walk that I need to go through four button presses to get it to a) know I’m walking and b) increase the HR sampling. Nearly everyone else has done some sort of auto-recognition at this point.

To this end, I’d actually like to see even more done with the HR sensors. Apparently the folks over at Whoop are able to get HRV data from a wrist-worn device. That’s huge, and can be even more huger for those of us who keep forgetting to use Marco Altini’s great HRV app. Plus it could allow more innovate apps that are seeking to understand and intervene on stress.

Software

I’ve never used a piece of Apple software as slow, buggy, and frustrating as Apple Health. Okay, maybe iTunes, but I’ve started to block out that period of my life. Apple Health and the Activity app should be great, but they’re just not. Maybe I just have too much data or maybe my phone is too old, but many I can’t get any real reliable information out of either without waiting a few minutes for data to load.

A better and unified software experience on the watch and the connected apps would make it a much better experience. Of course, that’s where you and Gyroscope come in. :)

Cost

Tiers would be great. A non-GPS plastic case Apple Watch at $150. Keep the current 1.0 model at $199. Add GPS for $50. Add nicer case for another $50. That would be great and in line with most smart watch brands. I can’t venture to guess how the financials work out for them, but those price points make sense to me and keeps it in line with the current model pricing.