Judging the Apple Watch's success or failure
The first round of reviews of the Apple Watch is out. And, while most reviewers liked the Apple Watch, they also noted some problems with it. Since the Apple Watch marks Apple's entry into an entirely new product category, many people will be waiting to see if it succeeds or fails. But how do we judge success or failure in the case of the Apple Watch?
Jim Dalrymple at The Loop notes the importance of continued use of the Apple Watch after three months as a metric for success or failure:
Even though the iPad sold almost 25 million units in the last fiscal quarter, it’s not up to the 75 million that the iPhone sold. For a lot of people that’s the measure of success, without taking into account that they are completely different products, serving different markets.
So, how will we measure the success of Apple Watch? Will it be pre-order sales? Perhaps, first weekend sales? Number of overall units? How about total quarterly profit? The number of magazine covers it’s on?
The measurement of success will be different for almost everyone. But I don’t believe that any of those are as important as one measure of success that will be a bit more difficult to track: are people still using Apple Watch after three months.
There will be a percentage of people that will take to the Internet and declare Apple Watch a failure because it was a novelty item. I accept that. While I think many of those people will be missing the big picture, I don’t think Apple Watch is for everyone.
Part of the problem in judging the success or failure of the Apple Watch comes from the phenomenon that occurs each time Apple releases a brand new product. Inevitably, we have a chorus of naysayers among analysts and online commenters that the product is "too expensive" or that it "doesn't have powerful enough tech specs" or that it is "not needed." And I think we've already seen some of that with the Apple Watch, unfortunately.
But I think that once the Apple Watch begins to proliferate among users, we'll see an adjustment in people's behavior and a deeper understanding of this new product. It's what happened with the iPod, the iPhone and even the iPad. As far as analysts go, I never care what they say anyway since some of them remain utterly clueless about Apple in the most fundamental ways.
Dalyrmple's example of a sort of three month trial period might be useful, but I really doubt that it will matter over the long haul. Most of the reviews of the Apple Watch so far seem to indicate a week-long learning curve before the watch gets really integrated into people's daily lives. So I don't think we'll need to wait three months to see if people are still using the Apple Watch.
Readers of the Loop had some thoughts of their own to share:
Steven Fisher: "If people are still using it will be a great measure. But I think another great measure of success for us will be if Apple puts out a second revision without panic or desperation."
Fuhsdh: "...I don't think Apple will produce a new revision in some sort of very quick timeframe because A) I don't think some magical new technology advance would produce a superior model so quickly (unless they saw that story about aluminum batteries and went to town!) and B) a lot of the virtue in a RevB product will be in adapting the watch to how people use it. Apple is in part banking on app developers making the case for Apple Watch *for* Apple. If it sees how that's being done, it has a greater incentive to strengthen those use cases."
Ben Esteban: "Even with the iPod and the iPhone the very first version weren't the mass market hits they would eventually become. The first revisions is for us techies. Once the Apple Watch becomes faster, thinner, more refined and 3rd party apps are polished, I have no doubt Apple Watch will have mass market appeal."
Prof. Peabody: "I think one of the main problems Apple has is that it deals in such large volume that *every* product they release is a "success" if you only base that on sales or popularity. The very popularity of their products is actually masking whether or not they are "good," because good and popular are far from the same thing."
Kyron: "Only when the goalposts have been moved. For decades apple-trolls would say, "Apple doesn't sell many Macs -- see, they're no good!" Now that they sell a bajillion products the measure of success has been moved and they say, "Apple sells so many you can't tell if they're any good!" The agenda is the same, the narrative changes slightly."
Photos guide for OS X Yosemite
The latest update to OSX Yosemite includes the brand new Photos app. Photos replaces iPhoto and Aperture on Macs. Since it's so new, it will take a little time to get used to using it. Fortunately, iMore has an in-depth guide for how to use Photos in OS X Yosemite.
Rene Ritchie reports for iMore:
With Photos for OS X, all the pictures and videos you've taken on your iPhone or iPad, or imported into iPhoto or Aperture, will always be available to you on any of your Macs, as will any future pictures and videos you take or import, including your DSLR images, even in RAW. Add to that automatic, intelligent grouping based on time and place, and face detection, non-destructive editing, and the ability to order prints, books, and more, and Photos for OS X makes for the ultimate picture and video app for the mainstream.
Photos for OS X opens the door to a new era of Mac picture and video management. It builds upon foundations laid by iPhoto and Photos for iOS to offer users a speedy and functional way to manage, edit, and share all their pictures and video. Whether this is your first time using a photo management app, you're upgrading from iPhoto, or you're exploring a non-Aperture or Lightroom avenue, here's what you need to know to get started with Photos for OS X.
I upgraded my Macs to the latest version of OS X Yosemite yesterday. On my main Mac I went through the Photos tour, and spent a little time browsing around the application. However, this guide from iMore is absolutely fantastic and contains just about everything a Photos user will want to know. It's given me a much better understanding of Photos and how to use it. So be sure to click through and check iMore's guide out, there's so much that you can do with Photos.
iMore readers shared their thoughts about the new Photos app:
Emjayess: "Finally! Have been eager to get the new Photos app since I got my new Retina iMac in December. Deleted the iPhotos library at that point and have not been using it, so will populate the new app with a nice, clean, fresh install of images!"
Gazoobee: "...most users will not know to dig around in the Pictures folder and be able to find the old iPhoto library. Most wouldn't be confident enough to delete it either. In other words, for most users, this old iPhoto library will remain on their hard drive until Apple deletes it for them.
Willswords: "Hold down the option key when you open Photos and you can create a new blank Photo library. Then go into the preferences of Photos and change the system library to this new blank library. Now you can have a separate Photo Library you keep backed up in iCloud and on your phone than the much larger library you only have on your Mac (and on your own backup)."
Nuttz565: "Has anyone noticed the favorites on your phone don't show up on the Photos app on your mac. Also if you favorite a video/photo on the Mac it dosen't show up on your iPhone. Wonder why they are keeping these separate and not keeping them synced?"
ChimeraX73: "Looks like we've lost the ability to auto import from folder actions now. I used to have a folder action to copy anything new in a camera roll folder from Dropbox and OneDrive to the auto import folder in iPhoto, but there isn't one in Photos, and there's no "Photos" option in Automator that I can find."
Reviews of Apple's 12-inch MacBook
Apple's new 12-inch Macbook got a ton of press coverage when it was announced, and now some reviews of the new laptop are finally here. Is the 12-inch MacBook worth it's $1,299 price? Read on to see what the critics are saying about it.
Dieter Bohn at The Verge notes that the MacBook is impressive but has some compromises:
You are really, really going to want this laptop, even though it's relatively expensive, starting at $1,299. This new MacBook is the future. All laptops are going to be like this someday: with ridiculously good screens, no fans, lasting all day. Just like the original MacBook Air defined a generation of competitors, this new MacBook will do the same. It, or something inspired by it, is what you'll be using in two or three years. It's that good.
...if you do anything that’s going to really tax the processor, this laptop probably isn't going to cut it for you. In that sense it's actually kind of like a Chromebook. It's fast enough for 70 percent of what I do, but a little slower than what I'm used to. For about 20 percent of what I do — mostly photo editing — it works but requires patience. But it's the last 10 percent that's hard: video editing, really big iPhoto libraries, basically anything processor-intensive can get rough.
Here's a crazy surprise I didn't expect: my 13-inch MacBook Air felt big and clunky after I went back to it. And make no mistake, the MacBook Air is itself a wonder of engineering. Yet compared to the new MacBook it felt like a heavy, kind of ugly throwback with a mediocre screen. I really didn't want to go back to that Air.
But I still went back.
You see, the problem with the future is that it isn't here yet. Instead we live in the now, and the now doesn't have the ecosystem of adapters and wireless peripherals I need to use this laptop with its single port. The now doesn't have the right processor to power through the apps I need without ruining battery life. And right now, this laptop is far from cheap at $1,299.
Bohn's point about his 13-inch MacBook Air feeling "clunky" resonated with me. I have a 13-inch MacBook Pro and I was initially very excited about the possibility of a retina MacBook Air. However, once I learned more about the 12-inch MacBook, I decided not to buy one for some of the reasons listed in Bohn's review.
For me the price of the new MacBook and some of the other compromises just don't work. I can't justify spending the money on the new 12-inch MacBook since my MacBook Pro still hits all of the sweet spots for my daily use. But I am looking forward to seeing some of the design changes of the new MacBook incorporated into the MacBook Pro product line. At that point I'll be much more likely to consider buying a new laptop from Apple.
Jim Dalrymple at The Loop had a more positive take on the 12-inch MacBook:
The new MacBook is a gorgeous computer that expertly fills a niche that many need. It’s powerful enough to do all of the regular work you’ll need to get done at home, the office, or on the road. The model I’m using is Space Gray, has 8GB of RAM and a 1.1 GHz Intel Core M processor.
The MacBook runs completely silent and fits perfectly into my workflow. I haven’t touched either of my other two computers since I started using this one, and I’m very happy. This is my workflow now.
The good news is that if you need more ports or more power, Apple has two other MacBook product lines that may suit your needs. For me, I’m sticking with MacBook.
Jason Snell at Macworld appreciated the virtues of the new 12-inch MacBook but also noted some of its flaws:
The new MacBook is one of those Apple products. It feels like it came from the future, and didn’t bring its ecosystem with it. With its single USB-C port for both charging and peripherals, it’s unlike any Mac previously made. It’s the smallest, lightest Mac laptop ever, offers a Retina display, and yet it boasts all-day battery life. Using it alone will be a pleasure, but trying to plug it in to all your existing technology will be a pain.
The MacBook is a gorgeous piece of hardware. The Retina display is excellent, and I’m really loving the Force Touch trackpad. The keyboard is more of a hit-or-miss affair; if you’re someone who is particular about your keyboards and spends a whole lot of time typing, it may be a deal-breaker.
This is a laptop that will serve its audience well. That audience is one that prioritizes size, weight, and stylishness over compatibility and ports and computing power. I’d say that this isn’t a laptop for power users, but I don’t think that’s true—there are whole classes of “power users” who don’t actually need more power than the MacBook can provide.
But if your workflow includes lots of USB flash drives and external hard drives, if you’ve invested in Thunderbolt hard drives or displays, or if your work really does require 16GB of RAM and the very fastest processors around, the MacBook won’t be a good fit. Fortunately, Apple’s isn’t ceasing production of the MacBook Pro—and it offers all of that and more.
Here are some additional reviews of the 12-inch MacBook:
Mashable: The new MacBook is the future of laptops
Engadget: Apple reinvents the laptop again
Ars Technica: 2015 MacBook previews a future that’s not quite here
USA Today: Apple rushes to the future with new MacBook
Wall Street Journal: The Laptop of the Future Isn’t Ready for the Present
Did you miss a roundup? Check the Eye On Apple home page to get caught up with the latest news about Apple.
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