Stuart Breckenridge

Apple Special Event on March 15th

Matthew Panzarino:

Now, it looks like the date has solidified. March 15th is the date, according to sources, and we should indeed be seeing a rumored 4″ iPhone and a new iPad.

My bet is that we’ll also see the launch of iOS 9.3 with support for Apple Pay in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Spain (via Amex).

Thoughts on Apple Watch from Around the Web

Brent Simmons:

Here’s the thing, though: the Apple Watch contains a hundred miracles of engineering and design, surely, but serious problems with software and services can turn even the most incredible hardware into something you just sit on your desk and ignore.

Nick Heer:

I’ll add one more to the mix: since watchOS 2.0, I haven’t been able to launch native third-party apps on my Watch. Apps from TestFlight work fine, as do WatchKit apps, but native third party apps continue to experience an issue associated with the FairPlay DRM that prevents them from loading — they simply crash at launch.

Marco Arment:

The result is promising, but clunky and slow. It could be so great at its three most useful functions — notifications, activity tracking, and timekeeping with robust complications — if only they were more reliable and better executed. Someday, I hope they are.

Running Without Apple Watch Workouts

This week I’ve been running every day: five days on the treadmill and one day pounding the pavement. I could have used the Workout app on my Apple Watch to track these workouts, but it lacks basic functionality that all other fitness trackers have, which make it of little use to me.

#####A Lack of Context After completing any workout which is tracked by the Apple Watch, the resulting data set is shipped into Activity app 1 on your iPhone. From there you can see:

  • Type of Workout
  • Active/Total Calories
  • Total Time
  • Total Distance
  • Average Pace (plus Splits)
  • Average Heart Rate

Things you can’t see, which result in a lack of context:

  • Maps (for outdoor activities)
  • Heart Rate at any given point on a run
  • Elevation (for outdoor activities)

Maps are perhaps my most sought after feature. If I want to know where on a route I am gaining or losing time, they are essential. If I want to recall where my Saturday Morning Run was a year ago, they are essential. It’s something Apple could easily implement, given that they have their own mapping service.

These features are available–and have been for a long time–in competitor apps such as RunKeeper or Strava.

#####Inability to Edit Another bugbear is the inability to edit workouts logged by Apple Watch. For outdoor workouts, this is OK, as I’ve found the GPS to be accurate. For indoor workouts, it’s criminal. For every 5KM run I’ve completed on a treadmill, Apple Watch has logged it as somewhere in between 4.25KM and 4.75KM2. Once it’s logged, that’s it, forever inaccurate.

I’ve been using RunKeeper this week. Workouts has been a huge letdown.

  1. And the Health app. ↩︎

  2. This is after several hours of outdoor calibration runs. ↩︎

Matt LeBlanc to Co-Host New Top Gear

Via the BBC Media Centre:

Iconic American actor Matt LeBlanc has today been revealed as one of the new presenters of the upcoming and eagerly awaited return of Top Gear - the planet’s biggest motoring entertainment show.

LeBlanc’s appointment marks the first time the show has ever had a non-British host in its 39-year history.

In what promises to be an explosive cocktail of car-obsessed entertainers and cultural clashes - the eagerly anticipated return of the revamped show is expected to noisily announce itself on BBC Two and TV screens everywhere this May.

An inspired choice. I genuinely hope that the new Top Gear and the as yet unnamed Clarkson, Hammond, and May show, are good!

Innovation Time. Or Not.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes for ZDNet:

…Apple is facing a challenge that it’s not previously faced with the iPhone, and that is that sales have plateaued.

Have they? Based on the results of one financial quarter this is quite a statement. I’m sure it takes into consideration the pent up demand that existed for larger screened iPhones that resulted in huge sales for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. I’m sure it also takes into consideration the 60%1 of users on pre-iPhone 6 devices that haven’t yet upgraded.

On the subject of the innovation needed for the iPhone 7:

Think there’s not much left that Apple could do? Think again! Here are just a few ideas off the top of my head:

  • Waterproof iPhone
  • More durable iPhone
  • VR integration
  • New battery technology
  • Built-in health sensors
  • Gesture control

Waterproofing has been attempted by Samsung and Sony, where it was abandoned by the former and discouraged by the latter2. The iPhone 6s is waterproofed to a degree; making it fully waterproof can’t be classed as innovation.

Is there a durability crisis with iPhones I’m not aware of? Does the use of stronger Gorilla Glass not make iPhones more durable? Or, for that matter, the use of stronger aluminium3?

VR is interesting, but what is the use case for integration in an iPhone and how would it work? VR, to me, makes no sense on an iPhone.

New battery technology: moving from Li-ion to something newer, longer lasting, and faster charging would be innovative. No disagreement here.

Health sensors for a device that’s mostly in your pocket? How would they work?

Gesture control is nothing more than a gimmick. Importantly, gesture control is not innovative as it’s been done before.

It’s a strange set of feature requests, to say the least.