Yesterday Apple held a “Spring Forward” event in San Francisco. There were two product announcements, to which my reactions could not be more different.
The Apple Watch will test any Reality Distortion Field Tim Cook might have inherited from Steve Jobs to its limits. One of the great benefits of mobile phones is that they made wearing a watch a matter of choice rather than a necessity for most people. Every so-called smartwatch I have tried has made me want to cry, and I do not think my reaction to trying an Apple Watch would be any different, even if I owned an iPhone, without which the device seems to be totally inoperable.
The range may supposedly start at $349, although it is unclear whether you even get a wristband with that. In any case, even if the claimed 18 hour battery life is real, and you do not have to rely on the power saving mode, which turns it into just a watch, having to charge the watch every blinking night only to be bombarded with notifications from your watch as well as your phone all day does not sound like a winning proposition to me.
The truly outrageous thing about the Apple Watch is the compressed molecule gold watch, which with a similarly compressed molecule gold bracelet will set you back $17,000. This is surely insanity on a level far exceeding Nokia’s Vertu diamond encrusted smartphone line. The Vertu phones were far cheaper, although possibly even more vulgar. The Apple Watch lacks Vertu’s only compelling selling, unless they did not want to admit to it officially, which was the worldwide 24-hour concierge service that would deliver 90%+ pure cocaine, and the healthiest and most vigorous prostitutes and rent-boys to go with the coke within the hour.
On the other hand, the MacBook which was announced is possibly the greatest ultrabook ever made, surpassing the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3. Not only is it considerably lighter at 900 g, but it is also sexier, at least judging by the Apple glamour shots. It is also, we assume, completely fanless, unlike the Yoga Pro 3.
Also, for an Apple computer, it is rather attractively priced, especially the entry level version at $1,299 which comes with 8 GB of memory and a 256 GB PCIe SSD. I am also overjoyed that Apple made the brave decision to only equip the MacBook with just two ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro USB 3.1 type C port which is used for charging, for transferring data at 5 Gbit/s and also for transmitting DisplayPort 1.2 video supporting 4K resolutions at 60Hz.
The final point of interest is that unless Apple have got Intel to secretly custom produce processors for them, Apple must be overclocking the processors on at least the top and bottom end model. The published Intel processor that closest matches the specs of the entry-level model is the Intel Core M-5Y31, which has a listed clock frequency of 900MHz, whereas the MacBook is clocked at 1.1GHz. The top-end model could only be an M-5Y71 running at 1.2GHz rather than the official 1.1GHz.
If I wanted an ultrabook rather than a 2-in-1 this is the one I would lust after – the first Apple computer that I would be happy to buy without the promise of a free rent-boy and coke service! Much to my surprise, I would consider buying the gold version, even if no-one held a pistol to my head. Were I insane enough to want to buy a smartwatch, I would definitely choose the Monohm Runcible, one of the most interesting and bonkers announcements at MWC. Not only is it not a smartwatch, but a smartphone, which happens to be round, comes in a range of wood and mineral finishes, and with a chain so you can keep it in your watch pocket. Oh, and it also runs Firefox OS. And the camera takes circular pictures and videos. Not for any technical reasons, just for the sheer brilliant lunacy of it. Judge for yourselves which device is most desirable.