Saturday, July 8, 2023

Apple Watch Is the iPod we Had Always Wanted

I’m on my third Apple Watch with Apple Watch 6 as my latest version. I’m also ready to upgrade (but I will not commit until I know what Apple has in store for us with the next upgrade with Apple Watch 9 and the Ultra 2). And I’m more excited about the Apple Watch these days than I am about the next iPad and iPhone that Apple is slated to refresh. To me, the Apple Watch has become my iPod. And given Apple commitment to the wearable market, I’m very excited about the future.

I started thinking of my Apple Watch in the way I felt about carry around my nano from, gosh, more than 10 years ago. To be honest, I had not kept it in good working condition because I had thought that Apple would continue to upgrade the iPod line forever.

In ways that the iPod and Apple Watch are similar, let’s begin with the size. Both devices are light. The nano has a bigger screen coming with a 2.5” screen while my watch comes in only at 1.7”. FYI, the Ultra comes in at a little more than 1.9” (there is suggestion that Apple is consider a bigger screen for the Ultra). So, in terms of screen size, there is no match between the two. But this is not a competition - simply to highlight some differences. As the Apple Watch has become bigger over the years, the amount of information that can be displayed at once has increased.

The iPod was a music player. Plug it into your Mac or PC and sync it to iTunes and off you go. I also used my iPod for playing podcasts. And that’s pretty much what I do with my Apple Watch these days in terms of media consumption. There a few things that are makes the iPod and the watch different from each other and most of it means that the Apple Watch is sort of an evolutionary device of the iPod.

  • The iPod has a FM tuner - that means you can listen to FM content on the go. The Apple Watch can access the Internet through WiFi or cellular. So while the Apple Watch lacks a FM tuner, you might be able to access radio stations if it is available. For instance, I can listen to some local radio stations and even the CNBC broadcast. 
  • The iPod has a bigger screen that supports video content. As far as I know, the watch doesn’t do video well at all. I don’t know if that will ever change. I might have received some video from the Messages app but I don’t recall if it even played. And if it did, it was not that great. I would not mind of Apple lets users download video content to listen to. We can do that on the iPhone and iPad so it would be great if I can do it on the watch as well.
  • The iPod is not wireless and, contrary to years of rumors, it never gain its freedoms from iTunes and needs a Mac or PC to update its firmware as well as content - music, podcasts, and videos. For the watch, there is synching with the iPhone involved but over the years and owing to the cellular connnection, I have felt a greater freedom from the iPhone and I have started leaving my iPhone at home during short trips to run errands or on days when I’m very sure I do not need or want my iPhone around.
  • You navigate the iPod through the scroll wheel, one of the most unique interface anyone has ever seen. for the Apple Watch, you navigate through a combination of touch and the crown. 
  • You carry the nano in your pocket. The Apple Watch obviously goes on one of your wrists. There are times when I keep the watch in my pocket when I am just walking around so I can keep track of the number of steps I take. 
  • Both the nano and the watch are very light. Goes comfortable in the front pocket of most jeans or pants. With the nano, you need an earbud or headset in order to hear sound coming from it. With the watch, it’s completely wireless via Bluetooth. I still use my earbuds with my iPad or iPhone because the microphone quality works better for me when I’m making an audio recording or phone call.
  • The nano was very versatile for its time. It did what it was designed to do very well - play audio media content. I 
Just this morning, I left the house without my phone and only my Apple Watch. Walked the dog, went for a run, took the car to get a wash through the automatic washer (paid using my Apple Watch), and got a coffee and donut. I received a few alerts of no consequence and decided that I was not going to worry about charging but I did put it on battery saving mode. Oh, having the reminders alert me about things like being mindfulness and such was awesome.

Now, I would not have been able to do that with just the nano years and years ago. Still, I cannot help but feel that the Apple Watch has its root from the iPod line. I do not think Apple is ever likely going to resurrect the iPod. It’s in Apple’s DNA to bring something back. What Apple does is take the best parts or something like the iPod and put those features in future products.

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