» Apple Watch

It’s a nice enough looking “smartwatch” if not a terrific looking watch. But the bands are what really make it shine. They’re also going to make Apple’s bottom line shine. Having a smaller, 1.5-inch model goes a long way to alleviate the “can of tuna on your wrist” effect.

The software has some great touches. I am not enthused about the notifications part as I’ve said but payments and fitness are both there (although it’s unclear how verification works with payments — TouchID or do the sensors on the back of the watch do something similar?). With first release products I usually get the low end model on the assumption that the early refinements could be dramatic.

UPDATE: Rene Ritchie says payment on the Watch works with a passcode and skin contact. The passcode unlocks the device and it stays unlocked until skin contact is broken.

» Apple Announces Apple Pay

Cha-ching. This is some serious grease in the skids of Apple’s ecosystem which in this analogy is a tank, I guess.

» ‘Reddit user made famous off celeb nude photos wants his privacy back’

From the “you can’t make this stuff up” files.

» ‘The Powerlessness of Not Saying No’

Jeff Carlson on the Galaxy Alpha’s headphone jack bulge:

What is obvious, and what blatantly contrasts with Apple, is that someone at Samsung failed to say, “No. That’s ugly. Make it better.” As we know from its past products and interviews with Jony Ive and others, Apple wouldn’t let something like that hit the market. It’s a visual distraction. It looks like an error, like someone at Samsung said, “Ehh, it’s good enough. Customers won’t care. Ship it.”

Is that a headphone jack bulge or are you just happy to see me? Ah, you’re a poorly designed phone? OK, then. Carry on.

» ‘Fire Sale for Amazon’s Fire Phone’

Ina Fried for Re/code:

Although Amazon still won’t say how many phones it has sold, the online retailer tacitly admitted weak demand for its Fire Phone Monday, cutting its price to 99 cents with a two-year contract.

Of course, Apple dropped the price on the original iPhone by $200 after it came out. Back in 2007 before the modern smartphone market had really been defined. And it did so by leveraging carrier contracts. And it gave everyone who had bought one at the previous price a $100 store credit.

Also, the lesson here is not that the Fire Phone isn’t selling well. It’s that Apple will surely crumble under this price pressure. Obviously. I mean, duh.

» Grading on a curve

Because of my vast experience with Apple rumors, Macworld has asked me to write a weekly column grading the rumors. Here’s the first edition of “Rumor Has It”.

If you’re hesitant to click over, yes, of course it includes a Bob Mansfield joke. I mean, come on.

» Sponsor: Need / A Monthly for the Modern Gentleman

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Need, a web publication for men. Each month, we take care to source — and frequently co-design — some of the finest products for the modern gentleman. Have a look through both Need, Vol. 9 and our exclusive Need x NYMD collection

» ‘Marc Newson to Join Apple, Jony Ive’s Design Team’

Turns out if you want people to wear your devices you have to design them to be nice looking instead of, well, what’s been done on most of the smartwatches to date.

Here’s a video of Newson talking about his watch design background.

Much-needed iWatch thoughts

Since literally no one is offering their thoughts or speculation on the “iWatch”, I thought I’d weigh in to fill this tremendous vacuum and blah, blah, blah, more jokes pretending no one’s talking about it. I can’t tell you what an “iWatch” might do and I can’t tell you what would actually sell. All I can do is tell you what I would want in one, so here’s my lame list of things I’m interested in seeing in an Apple wrist-wearable thingamabob.

  1. I don’t want notifications. It’s OK if they’re there as long as I can turn them off (or down). I don’t want to be distracted any more than I already am by my phone. My kid sends me 10,000 Game Center notifications a day. My MacBook Air frequently informs me of FaceBook activity that I could not possibly care less about. If I have those on my wrist I will go insane and I will somehow spontaneously combust, possibly taking out several kittens and puppies nearby. Nobody wants that. Most of the wearables so far seem heavily focused on notifications because many are driven by Android which desperately wants you to keep using the software in order to get your activity data and/or show you ads.
  2. Payments? Yes, please.MagicPass I posted the picture on the right to Twitter the other day after rumors were floated saying Apple was set to announce a new payments systems and devices that use NFC. To tell you the truth, this is the first time an “iWatch” really made sense to me. If you’ve ever used Disney’s MagicBands you know that they’re kind of scary because they make it so easy to buy crap but, on the other hand, they make it so easy. As an added feature to the other things on this list, the ability to pay for something by tapping my wrist on a reader would be pretty great (assuming security haha iCloud LOL).
  3. A watch. This watch thing? It needs to be a watch. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here. And a nice-looking watch, too, not those monstrous freaks of nature that have dominated the category so far.
  4. Maybe an iPod. I’m not very excited about plugging my headphones into my wrist, but if I didn’t have to take my iPhone when I go running that would be a plus.
  5. Sensors. I don’t want other people to know about my movements and vitals, but if I could know about them that would be nice.

That’s all I’ve got. I’m sure there’s some other stuff that would be cool that I’m not thinking of. I mean, that’s pretty much a given.

» Countdown to the Apple Special Event

They’re kinda playing this one up a bit, dontcha think?