Thinking about buying an Apple Watch — Listen to Walt and Nilay first

Two leading personal technology journalists parse the Apple Watch into bite size morsels

Thinking of buying an Apple Watch or other smartwatch — listen to this regular podcast on personal technology that should be on your podcast list. RE/Codes Walt Mossberg and the Verge’s Nilay Patel’s opinion about the future of smartwatches is insightful and complete. This might be the best Ctrl-Walt-Delete podcast so far. I’ll merge Walt and Nilay (which is impossible because Walt is ever the deliberately accurate statesman and Nilay has late actor Peter Ustinov’s suspicious incredulity and subtle sense of humor.)

Their consensus opinion smart — watches are great but not finished yet. Most of Walt’s and Nilay’s opinions were sourced reviewing the Apple Watch.

Awkward gestures needed to turn on the screen make watches bad at telling time.

Notifications are good and bad; good if users like Walt filter their apps but Nilay thinks watches need an intelligent agent to filter notifications.In my opinion Google’s machine learning give it an advantage to create this intelligent agent.

Fitness tracking is sort of good, but not really accurate if you are a pro athlete. The watch will tell you if you are a couch potato.It reminds sedentary people like Walt to burn more calories and move around. I have to insert my disappointment with watch designers who have not chosen from the really great sensors that would provide more useful metabolic information. It strikes me that the watch designers don’t dare to include more expensive, more accurate and more interesting sensors.

Authentication is a real opportunity. Apple Pay works conveniently but QR codes for boarding passes and the like can be awkward because the reader terminals aren’t designed for wrist worn screens. NIlay points that something like an EKG authentication would be necessary to tie the wearer to his or her identity. NYMI introduced at the MIT Technology Review’s Emtech conference a couple years ago can accurate authentica a person’s identity. NYMI uses EKG heartbeat readings that are claimed to be as accurate a biometric identifier as the fingerprint. Information about NYMI has been public for two years and EKG authentication hasn’t been added to any watches yet makes my point that designers aren’t stretching to find useful new sensors.

Verdict, buy a smartwatch with eyes open after listening and put Walt and Nilay on your drive time or gym podcast RSS list.

Follow everything I read and write on twitter @stevep2007

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