There's some Steve Jobs understudy shit going on today, as you've probably seen. Our friends at Gizmodo have a very full and technical explanation of what happened today. But if you don't really care about tech specs and just want to know if this stuff is good or bullshit, we've got something for you.
Should you buy this thing? HAHA NO! The Apple Watch is a niche gadget for nerds who really want to playact '70s science fiction scenarios. You can use this thing to check into hotels and as your room key, to check weather, check Twitter or airline info, or ask Siri about the temperature—all things that are MUCH easier to do on your phone, where you aren't at the mercy of tiny little watchface controls and spray-and-pray voice control. This is a thing you buy if you are willing to spend hundreds of dollars to solve a problem whose previous solution was reaching into your fucking pocket and taking out your phone.
Or more succinctly: WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO USE INSTAGRAM ON YOUR WATCH? THE PHOTOS ARE ALREADY SMALL AS SHIT.
Of course, you could have said all this before today and of basically all smart watches. Anything cool about Apple's Apple Watch watch? (Great name, assholes.) HAHA NO! The most unique thing this watch has is the ability to tap the screen and make your friend's watch buzz. Great. Apple Watch: The ultimate tool for trolling friends until they take off their $500 watch, and I guess a pathetic if halfway-effective sex toy stand-in. This is more useful for the kids standing lookout in The Wire than it is for a human being.
Can you get away with wearing it?
The fashion crowd has pretty much settled on this thing being okay as a watch you're seen wearing around, which is fine but probably reliant on more fashion fluency than the average Apple Watch buyer has. But that's for wearing it, not using it. Using it is going to be you, hunched down squinting at a watch face, flicking widgets around like you're trying to molest them. Did I mention you can do all this shit on your phone? Which you already have?
More functionality and sex appeal than the Apple Watch
That fucking price
Oh, and the price. This thing costs anywhere from $350 to $1100 in standard configurations, which include 42mm and 38mm sizes, and some
32k 18k gold bullshit. To put this into context, here's a brief, recent history: As smartphones shifted from luxury to standard issue, a company called Vertu rose to some prominence in gadget circles. It charged exorbitant prices for phones that were gold-plated and inlaid with gems. (You can buy a $12,500 red alligator phone here.) Everyone made fun of this as a concept because phones are deliberately ephemeral; you get rid of them every few years. Software and its attendant hardware requirements move on and you're given a subsidy to replace the old model and get the new one. Ruby-inlaid phones are for fucking psychopaths with an oil fortune or something. You can pay $1000 for a watch if you have the money and don't have anything better to do with it, but spending $1000 for a watch you will have to replace in a year or two is fucking insane. A $1000 disposable watch is what happens when a bubble-laden cul-de-sac in northern California is usurped by a bald maniac in the back seat of a Bentley and his Baby Gap t-shirts cut off bloodflow to his brain. There's also a configuration that costs $17,000*.
Anything else, dickheads?
What else should you know? The "all-day" and "18-hour" battery life stuff is probably not true, and it's more like 5 hours of using it often, and like all batteries—like your fucking iPhone that was basically okay when you got it, but now, maybe 15 months later, drains something like 13 percent reading one article and barely makes it through an evening out even if you charged it at your desk at work—it will decay over time. You'll have email on your wrist, because your pocket was too far away from your face to cause a reflexive anxiety panic. You can use a fucking Mickey Mouse watch face, or tell time by watching rose petals move, or something. You can take calls. You can send drawings of your heartbeat to your friends. You can get all the notifications.
There are also some videos about how cool the materials are, meaning Apple used some very cool aluminium and steel—way cooler than regular aluminium or steel. (Generally, talking about materials is something you do when you've made something really awesome and you want to explain how you did it, not for when you made a fucking gold-plated double decker couch.)
Are the materials really as pure and delightful as the ads say? Fuck, I don't know, maybe they are. Maybe John Goodman's sphincter tastes like gourmet peanut brittle. Kind of beside the larger point, in both cases.
Anyway, probably don't buy this thing.
Oh yeah, Apple made a new MacBook. It's thinner, and it comes in gold now because the downfall of great nations is often gilded in golden luxuries. Basically, this is a computer for people who already have a computer on which they can do Work, but want a second, luxury computer on which to, I don't know, read some blog posts? It's a computer for people who want to use their computer for things that they might also use an iPad for, but in computer form.
The main thing is that this computer is smaller than the old MacBook Airs, which are already very small, and comes with a retina screen, which I am sure is very nice. It's got a new keyboard that Apple says is better to type on (but appears to have a shallower key press, so that will probably be down to taste), a clickier trackpad, and through a series of technical contortions like dense circuitry and the removal of a fan, it runs very quiet.
But the thing you should pay attention to is the processor, which is an Intel Core M Broadwell CPU. What does this mean? Basically, this is a slower processor that you'd usually see in a tablet or other mobile or hybrid computer, which means the new MacBook is deliberately hamstrung so that it can get longer battery life (and stay cool enough to not need that fan). It's possible that this is fine, but the last time Apple made a new computer that was smaller and prettier and more expensive and less powerful than its other computers was the original MacBook Air, which was impressive technically but also garbage to use. There is a point of Good Enough in technology, where the excess of Tech Specs can be trimmed back to make something more efficient and usable, but with the bumps Apple made to the MacBook Air—a computer on which you can do Work—you can guess that for now Apple just sees this thing as a very pretty iPad Keyboard Case. Yours starting at $1300 or $1600! Probably don't buy this, either.
Top image via Getty; Super Mario 3 watch image via Gallery Hip