Smart watches dumb


1 Like

I very much agree with the author of the article, except for one thing. I think a watch that does vibration notifications - and that’s it - is a useful idea. He describes himself as being surrounded by a superfluity of gadgets and suffering notification overload. But, when I’m out, I often don’t feel the phone vibrate and sometimes in noisy environments don’t hear it ring. A little gadget that tickles my wrist to tell me someone is calling or there is a message is useful. If I can’t do anything now I can check later. If in addition it warns me if I go too far from my phone, that’s a bonus.
Really I don’t need any more than that. Touchscreen - do not want. Scrolling - do not need. Simple vibrate codes for the types of message I want to know about is enough.

However, Apple can’t do that because of the expectation overload they have created. If they had added an accessory to the Apple Store that did what I describe and told the time as well with an e-ink display - the shareholders would have freaked out. It wouldn’t be the Next Big Thing.


This reads like a lot of iPhone reviews just as they were first hitting the market. To paraphrase:

"I may own many Apple products, but I can already get all the information I need by using multiple other products that are similar to this.

// I personally own a dwindling supply of Apple products, but have used a Moto360 since it hit the market. While the Android watch is useful for driving, navigating, or occasionally getting emails, I cut down the notifications to core apps to avoid my wrist and pocket buzzing insistently when I’m trying to focus. Wrist buzzing is obnoxious and tends to be more noticeable for people directly around me.

1 Like

Sheesh, next thing you know someone will introduce “smart” glasses. When will this end?

I don’t think the author figured out how to use the Watch effectively yet. The reason he thinks that it is a scaled-down version of the iPhone is that he is trying to use it as a phone.

I was skeptical of the Watch since Pebble was such a disappointment for me, but I really love it after using it for over a week now - it’s leaps and bounds better than Pebble. I find myself using my phone much less often than before, which is the whole point of the device.

1 Like

I don’t see myself getting a smart watch any time soon. But then, it isn’t that many years since I was sure that I’d never own a smart phone. Especially one without any physical buttons. Anyway, I’m thinking about why wristwatches replaced pocket watches to begin with. I remember reading somewhere (here on Boing Boing?) that it happened during WWI when it was necessary to be able to check the time quickly even with your hands occupied. So what need would be filled with a smart watch?

Then I recently saw a picture of someone cooking while having the recipe on his watch. Bingo! There’s definitely something there. I am terrible at remembering recipes or keeping track of them while cooking,and a cookbook or printout from the Web keeps getting in the way.


You know what I’m disillusioned with right now? Medium, which seems to have already burned through most of the good writing and now features shitposts like this one. He doesn’t like the idea of the Apple Watch because he got a Pebble and seems to assume that Apple’s is just as bad. (You will note that nowhere does he say that he actually got the AW or even got to try one out.) It’s fairly obvious that a lot of app developers are still not quite getting the new form factor, but apparently this dude decided that if version 1.0 isn’t perfect then it’s the form factor’s fault. And his obsessing with the watch face not being on at all times reminds me of the people who bitched when the original Macintosh came out about having to take one hand off the keyboard because that wasn’t how they were taught how to type. tl;dr–disappointed early horseless-carriage owner predicts failure of automotive industry.


I do find it odd that apple is selling the lifestyle idea of cutting down on electronic noise by selling you even more electronic gadgets. More is less!

Too many notifications? We are going to imbed a device in your head, giving you even more sensors and notifications than you had before!


I have the original Pebble, and it has allowed me to skip looking at my phone when I’m doing other things. I get a buzz on my wrist, take a quick look at my watch and move on. I definitely spend less time with my phone in my hand when I want to be doing other things. Also, I keep my phone on silent, and often miss calls when it’s in my pocket. The Pebble buzzing on my wrist is much more noticeable and I can see who is calling and dismiss or answer as I choose.
I think the dumbness of all our gadgets depends on how we choose to interact with them.


That’s basically the way I feel about my Microsoft Band. It can tell time and it does vibrating notifications better than my phone. There is literally nothing else I feel like a smartwatch could offer me until the day they start coming with non-invasive continuous glucose monitors.


I, for one, welcome our future transhuman implants.

As someone who hasn’t had a chance to use the Apple Watch yet, he echoes some of the same concerns I have. However, it’s not entirely clear to me from the article, has he actually used it for any period of time? I don’t see where that is stated explicitly, one way or the other.

If he has used it, then his opinions (many of which depend upon having actually used it) should be considered; if he hasn’t used it, then most of the article is meaningless.

this is exactly what I came to say. If you use the notifications correctly, then you should be looking at your phone less with a smart watch.

1 Like

I read the headline and was immediately came here hoping it contained videos of people doing dumb things to the tune of ‘You’re the Best’

To be fair, I have NO business criticizing you if you did this on purpose. I recently tried to get people to love jumping spiders by renaming them to octokittens (I really do want that to be official)

Also. Excellent article and I agree with the dumbosity of ‘Smart’ watches.



Yeah, this dude is a fucking idiot.

When someone would comment on a Facebook post, or send me an iMessage, I would get a notification on my desktop monitor, then my phone dings, then my watch buzzes. Maybe my iPad too if it was nearby. I’d pick up my phone to respond, then get a message back, with all my devices buzzing away.

So he’s basically saying that he’s terrible at configuring the tech he’s already got, plus who the fuck turns on notifications for facebook except noobs. For that matter who would be stupid enough to run the FB app, which harvests even more information on you than their site?

What time is it? Have to hit a button on the watch to clear the notification and get back to the clock.

This is a design flaw with the Apple watch, not smart watches.

But 9 times out of 10, I still had to pull my phone out of my pocket to respond.

This is a complaint relevant to his particular use. He may get 9 actionable notifications for every 10 received, but many people get a bunch of notifications and messages that don’t require actions. Furthermore, it would be handy if he clarified what “respond” means, but both Androidwear and Apple Watch can be spoken to to compose messages.

The Apple Pay integration is interesting, but that hasn’t really panned out as something people really want.

O RLY? Thanks for speaking for us, guy. People do “really want” mobile payments, as proven by its inclusion in mobiles and continued use in Japan for over a decade. The reason it hasn’t taken off in America is because you guys are so far behind when it comes to the ubiquity of contactless terminals. Every store in Australia has them. I don’t remember the last time I went to a store that didn’t have contactless payment terminals.

And again, you can use the phone you already have as well.

Yes, yes you can. The phone that’s in your pocket, or in your handbag or on your desk in the office.

But if even Apple hasn’t been able to make it work, what hope is there?

Android? You know… the thing that Apple has silently been taking features and design cues from for a couple years now?


They need to come out with a smart thimble you wear on the end of your finger and can stick into your ear to listen to messages or your nostril to monitor your health - or whatever orifice works best for you. They could even have costumes for them, like finger puppets.


Feck. My university has just banned ALL watches at exams (see No.9 on the list there)


No, it’s not. Because it doesn’t actually work that way.


Geez, hate from all directions. I’ll put on my tweed, smoke my pipe, and wait for my phone to ring.

It was foolish of me to take the word of someone who owns the thing, I know.