back to article Apple succeeds in failing wearables

An expensive and clunky-looking watch that can’t tell you the time* is once again clear winner in the failing smart wearables space. Overall the market for things-on-your-wrist-with-a-chip-in dipped 2 per cent, or 17.3 million units, in Q3, but Apple regained top spot, according to Canalys, thanks to the third generation Apple …

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"You have to tap or flick your wrist."

Probably lots of wrist flicking by Apple fans

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Pint

Re: "You have to tap or flick your wrist."

Have an upvote and a pint for your troubles.

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Re: "You have to tap or flick your wrist."

If they only included Seiko’s Kinetic technology the short battery life would cease to be a problem. Overcharging would be the issue.

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Re: "You have to tap or flick your wrist."

>> An expensive and clunky-looking watch that can’t tell you the time*

*Footnote

You have to tap or flick your wrist. Still.<<

So, your footnote contradicts your earlier sentence - it does tell the time, and it tells the time in whatever format you want. And if it didn't dim the watch you would be complaining that battery life was not very long. But it is good that mostly watch is not showing until you make a motion to look at it. It's called contextual computing.

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Re: battery life

My Garmin has a 9-day battery life, yet the display is always readable in daylight. You only need the backlight if it is so dark you also need a torch.

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ARTHUR DENT: My left arm’s come off too. How am I going to operate my digital watch now?

(H2G2 - 1978)

Nothing changes ...

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Coat

ARTHUR DENT: My left arm’s come off too. How am I going to operate my digital watch now?

With one of your digits?

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Failing? I'm on the verge of upgrading my launch day Apple Watch to a Series 3. I could live without one, but i would not choose to. Everyone has different needs, but the Apple Watch is useful for me and many others. I have to now really think who does NOT own an Apple Watch out of the people i know.

It very accurately monitors my calorie burn throughout the day, i use it to pay for things in shops, it filters the many notifications i get during the day, it makes using the underground in London easier and safer (no getting wallet out in congested areas) and is handy for taking calls in situations where using your phone would be akward, ie whilst cooking. I like being able to skip tracks without having to get my iPhone out of my pocket when walking and my next calendar appointment on the watch face is a handy reminder.

Add to this its watching my heart rate in the background now and will let me know if something irregular is happening, its a lot more useful than some will have you believe. O and it tells the time too!

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Is that you, Jonny Ive?

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Nice to hear it's got a niche in which it is useful. However, do you really have to think to work out who doesn't own one?

Apple phones are about 40% of the UK smartphone market, and this article says 1 in 7 iphones sells with a watch. So by a very rough calculation, approx 5.5% of the UK own one.

I guess either they are all concentrated in a small area (which wouldn't be surprising, several of your uses make sense in London, but not so much elsewhere), or you mix with a really small cross section (also not surprising - everyone does to some extent).

Personally, I can't see a single compelling use. All those listed, perhaps with the exception of the Tube payments, are either such marginal improvements or are just a solution looking for a problem. Maybe if I lived in London it'd be a different story.

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'I have to now really think who does NOT own an Apple Watch out of the people i know.'

I fortunately have almost exactly the opposite problem.

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If anyone still didn't believe that we tend to bubble ourselves away with like thinking people, this should be plenty of evidence.

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Talking on phone whilst cooking - I do that, it's called speakerphone mode, no watch required.

As for heart rate, IIRC I learned to take a pulse before I was into double figures age... and if you are exerting yourself (and so in situartion where rate and blood pressure will be higher) you can usually "hear" your pulse as it transmits through bones of skull. (You can do this at normal heart rate and BP, just harder to detect)

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I have to now really think who does NOT own an Apple Watch out of the people i know.

I wish I was part of your social circle who all have money to burn, clearly. Here on planet Normal, I was looking at the $14.99 for the Xiaomi smart watch, and thinking "why would I pay fifteen bucks for something so pointless?"

Then I realised, in relative terms, Apple watch buyers are as parsimonious and sensible as the rest of us, when you compare them to rich morons blowing the price of a decent car (well, for me, not them) on huge, hideous, mechanical watches, even from companies with no real historic pedigree, and for devices made of rubber and plastic. Take this fine piece of rich man's jewellery. At over £18k, certainly something I'd associate with the term "wrist action".

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Anonymous Coward

"taking calls in situations where using your phone would be akward, ie whilst cooking"

Do you cook with one hand only? Most of the time when I cook I don't wear watches, because they would just become dirty... nor I never put everything into a single wallet, i.e. a transportation card - there are other pockets for that...

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How do you know it's accurate?

It very accurately monitors my calorie burn throughout the day

Can you outline the procedure you used to verify that? I presume you monitored O2 uptake throughout the day? Calculating calories burned from heart rate is famously bogus.

It would be pretty impressive if Apple watches did accurately monitor calories burned, since they don't have the sensors required to do that.

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How?

Please explain how you verify your assertion than "It very accurately monitors my calorie burn throughout the day".

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@David Lawton

> I have to now really think who does NOT own an Apple Watch out of the people i know.

I've never seen an Apple Watch, or any other wearable except fitness devices like the Fitbit.

> It very accurately monitors my calorie burn throughout the day

Are you a professional athlete or morbidly obese? Why do you need your calorie burn constantly monitored?

> i use it to pay for things in shops

I find cash convenient or a card if I don't have enough on me, neither will ever run out of battery when I need them. Anyone I've seen paying by phone takes longer than I do to pay by cash.

> it makes using the underground in London easier and safer (no getting wallet out in congested areas)

You have a bit of obvious expensive electronics on your arm. Are you sure that makes you safer?

> is handy for taking calls in situations where using your phone would be akward, ie whilst cooking.

If you absolutely can't pick up the phone then don't. That's what the answering service was invented for.

> I like being able to skip tracks without having to get my iPhone out of my pocket when walking and my next calendar appointment on the watch face is a handy reminder.

Oh the effort required to get my phone out of my pocket, one of these days it'll give me a hernia. Oh you know, not.

> Add to this its watching my heart rate in the background now and will let me know if something irregular is happening

Have you suffered a heart attack, have a congenital defect or arrhythmia or are in imminent risk of a heart attack? If not why do you need your heart rate constantly monitored?

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Re: "taking calls in situations where using your phone would be akward, ie whilst cooking"

I got a skiing jacket over in france once with a little pocket in the left sleeve that you can slip a card into. I think it's meant for ski lift passes, but it's fantastic for keeping my office keycard in and letting me just wave my arm at the door without getting anything out.

At least it was until we moved to a new office with the sensor to the right of the door instead of the left.

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Re: "taking calls in situations where using your phone would be akward, ie whilst cooking"

At least it was until we moved to a new office with the sensor to the right of the door instead of the left.

Are you a milennial? Two obvious solutions:

1) Wear your jacket back to front, telling people that's how the top male models in GQ are wearing all the latest puffer jackets. before you know it everybody will be copying.

2) Walk backwards, and it'll still work a treat and button at the front.

Waste not, want not, eh?

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Holmes

re: Comment by David Lawton

Thanks for explaining your use case for the Apple Watch.

I've never seen one in the wild so it was interesting.

But the Apple Haters are out in force today hence the downvotes. Your post (and this one as well) is like a red rag to a bull for them.

It is nice though for an article mostly about Apple on this site has not used the usual words to describe the Fruity Company. Don't worry people normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

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My biggest concern with the iWatch is battery life. Batteries lose the ability to hold charge over time, and if you can only get 1 day worth of life when you've first taken it out of the box, how much life will the watch have a year or two from now? I'm not one of those people that is willing to drop large quantities of money on updated accessories, so I expect my watch to have a generous life span.

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> it makes using the underground in London easier and safer (no getting wallet out in congested areas)

Really?

Because it's a very rare (and an exceptionally good) day when I have £300+ cash in my wallet which I then show off to all around me when I go through a turnstile.

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You may be able to take your pulse, but you can't do it continuously, and record the data for further analysis.

It's a niche use case, but a device that can handle that use case well will be very valuable to those that need/want it.

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Anonymous Coward

My biggest concern with the iWatch is battery life. Batteries lose the ability to hold charge over time,

When this becomes apparent, you can pay £80 to have the puny £18 battery replaced, but its more likely you'd buy yourself the latest version. Buy yourself an Apple product, and YOU are the gift that keeps on giving.

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I get mine "free" with my work's health scheme to track my every movement.

Battery life on my first watch, 42mm series 1, was about 36-40h so could just about do 2 days activity tracking. Even 2 years old it was still doing 30h+ quite easily.

My new 42mm series 3 seems to be doing around 90h between charges and recently did do 4 days activity tracking while I was away for a long weekend and forgot my charger.

I'd say I was a fairly typical user but obviously YMMV and if you do a lot of on watch activity (I read emails/texts in meetings usually and check the time a lot) or try to record lots of work activity if may be much less.

I did find the watch transformed my activity levels and made me aware of just how inactive I was previously. I'm not sure I'd splash £300-400 of my own cash though and that £14.99 tracker sounded interesting :)

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if you can only get 1 day worth of life when you've first taken it out of the box, how much life will the watch have a year or two from now?

I recently replaced the original battery in my $25 ca. 2007 Timex Iron Man.

It has alarms, timers, and a more sophisticated stop watch than any phone app I've ever tried. It is waterproof. It keeps perfect time on its always-on display, with battery life measured in years.

It has survived significant (accidental) abuse from smacking into door frames and various other immovable objects, with only minor cosmetic damage and no noticeable loss of performance.

It does not require software updates or cell service. It has had zero compatibility or pairing issues with any phone I've had, from flips to Androids to iPhones, because it does not give a shit about phones; it is a watch. And IMHO, a pretty damn smart one...

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Skip a track

Double-click the button?

Oh, you're wearing those white ear-ring substitutes. Do be careful when cooking as one could end up in the pan.

There's one big problem with the iWatch: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To my eye they're fugly as uck - a massive black square with as much artistic refinement as ornamental columns on a house in Essex.

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Re: Skip a track....as ornamental columns on a house in Essex.

A bad choice of example given that Audley End House is in Essex. And has columns.

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It has survived significant (accidental) abuse from smacking into door frames and various other immovable objects, with only minor cosmetic damage and no noticeable loss of performance.

I could tell a similar tale of an ancient Casio. Unfortunately I did find the one way of destroying it, the fires of Mount Doom for digital watches. And you don't need to journey to Mordor, the crack of doom was casual dragging across the tile cement used in municipal swimming pools. I'd swear the watch was proof to all forms of abuse other than that, but the tile cement obviously contains something hard enough to scratch the mineral glass face. And on an inexpensive watch a very badly scratched face isn't economic to repair.

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WTF?

Wow, sounds amazing! Will it work with my Android?

Disclaimer: I was not paid for mentioning Android in this post.

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Anonymous Coward

Hoxton barista spotted! I win £5!

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Similarly, I've put a very small scratch in a sapphire watch face from dragging it across the bottom of a swimming pool. Otherwise, it just seemed to shrug off all sorts of abuse - snacking it again a wall whilst carrying boxes was a favourite.

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Boffin

How do you know it 'accurately monitors your calorie burn'? To do that scientifically we need to put you in a large calorimeter and keep you there all day. All these things make enormous assumptions based on height and weight, it assumes your body composition, thin and scrawny? Fat and scrawny, large and musclular? I'm 90kg odd with a flat stomach, I'm a 6' lifelong distance runner with uncoupled mitochondria to burn, literally. I've always been thus and we know endurance exercise releases a substance which turns brown fat on and makes white fat beige.

Where your uncoupled mitochondria/brown fat set point is is not measured by your app. Neither is your Thyroid hormone levels. I've got good levels but my youngest is hypothyroid, on drugs to help it.

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@AndyS

I will give you an eminently compelling use. If I had not bought my watch a couple of months ago I would have died four days ago. It woke me and convinced me to call an ambulance and now four days later I am home, alive, healthy and happy. Otherwise I would not have made it through the night.

Compelling enough for you?

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"It very accurately monitors my calorie burn throughout the day,"

And that's important because you're in training for the next Olympicstm?

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I'm betting you would be impressed with the stock stopwatch on the AppleWatch and there are hundreds more to precisely meet your needs. The AppleWatch is no wall flower, it can take quite a beating and is also water resistant 50M. Sure, you have to set it on it's wireless charger nightly or every other night for some, but the benefits for many are worth it (or it wouldn't be selling this well).

Being able to glance at the watch for incoming email's, alerts, texts, and even phone calls saves dining into my pockets for my phone through out the day. Accurately monitoring my heart rate and over all movement and exercise is a helpful if not motivating tool for me and many others. Having access to make calls and respond to texts with my phone across the house or office even without cellular is very helpful. Making payments is mostly just cool, but as it becomes more common it will allow me to leave my cards behind.

Finally, access to a voice assistant for quick direction, info about opening and closing times for businesses, access to my smart home lights, locks etc and even a convent way to unlock my laptop just to name a few reasons I enjoy my watch.

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I get mine "free" with my work's health scheme to track my every movement.

Gave up your freedom for a "free" watch?

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I will give you an eminently compelling use. If I had not bought my watch a couple of months ago I would have died four days ago. It woke me and convinced me to call an ambulance and now four days later I am home, alive, healthy and happy. Otherwise I would not have made it through the night.

Good example.

Do you have two iWatches; one on charge, one on the wrist?

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Try Polywatch repair polish to remove scratches on plastic and mineral glass (unless it has an anti-reflective coating).

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"Add to this its watching my heart rate in the background now and will let me know if something irregular is happening"

Er, it shouldn't be. And if it did, I think you might notice without resorting to looking at your watch, like radiating pain in the arms and chest, turning blueish, getting sweaty, and perhaps falling over.

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Re: @David Lawton

You are an idiot.

Wanting to monitor health data is useful for most people and motivating to some, just because you don't care doesn't make not useful, and I'll match your anecdotal cash is better statement by saying paying with a watch is far faster and ultimately safer.

As for the ease of taking a quick call when your hands are otherwise occupied, it is an obvious benefit to not have to miss a call, with your attitude we should all ditch cell phones and get answering machines. I get that you were trying to be glib and cute but it came off as stupid. The whole point of smart watches is to make using a phone easier.

But it was your final statement that took the cake. Seriously? Heart problems affect millions and seeing as some of the issues can lead to death, I'd say knowing more about your heart is never a bad thing.

I probably shouldn't have started this with the idiot comment but then maybe......

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Yes, really! Is the cash in your wallet protected by encryption that makes the cash unusable to anyone else without your credentials? Apple related phone and watch theft is way down because of AppleID protection on the devices. A snatch and grab of an Apple device gives you a brick at best, or a tracking beacon at worst.

Knowledge is power!

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“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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Anonymous Coward

An poor old Douglas Adams died of heart attack, but if he'd had a digital watch that constantly monitored his heart to look for irregular rhythms...

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... he'd probably still be dead as they just monitor... don't call emergency services, don't kick off any treatments such as nitro meds or CPR or defibrolation. They just monitor and maybe beep quietly if something goes amuck.

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From everything I've read in The Salmon of Doubt, Douglas Adams would have an Apple Watch and iPhone if he wasn't in heaven* now.

Yes, DNA was was a humanist, I was referring to an address by Kurt Vonnegut to the American Humanist Association following the death of their previous president Isaac Asimov. "Isaac's in Heaven now" he said, and had the attendees rolling in the aisles.

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Le monde a l'envers

Funny, over in PC land they're desperately trying to eke out more sales by fashionizing their laptops, while here in wearable land, where you'd think that going for haute couture over high performance would be the key to selling hordes of the things to gullible consumers, they're still producing clunky bits of tat and worrying about functionality. This is the market where the right name on a pair of sneakers will double the price, where close fitting thin yoga pants are required wear no matter the weather. All they need is a sleek wearable with nice colours and a designer brand name. How difficult can that be?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Le monde a l'envers

This is the market where the right name on a pair of sneakers will double the price, where close fitting thin yoga pants are required wear no matter the weather.

Loiter outside your nearest Weatherspoons, and you'll find the height of fashion is stained, saggy, shapeless grey jogger bottoms, no matter the weather. The same unwashed grey vestments can often be seen waddling to the nearest Greggs.

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Re: Le monde a l'envers

Sorry old chap, I've looked all over and not found a single Weatherspoons here in U$A. However I can testify as to the shaggy soggy sagginess of the People of Walmart.

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