Apple Watch needs to be connected and wants to travel

While I was on holiday I had no mobile data access for several days. Interestingly, my Apple Watch was barely useful during this time. I could track my activity, tell the time… but not much else that helped me day to day.

When I fixed access to mobile data on my phone it all changed; Siri timers, weather, VIP mail and iMessage notifications all made themselves felt on my wrist. Furthermore TripAdvisor, weather and maps make the watch into a must-have travel accessory.

On a beach holiday I would rather leave my phone at home and just take Apple Watch most days if I could. If it was possible to load podcasts onto the watch (consider that an up-vote @marcoarment) I would have had no need for the phone except for taking photos when I hadn’t taken my DSLR.

In fact the best thing the watch did for me on holiday was take a really nice photo of me and my family on the beach. Using the remote control Camera app and my iPhone perched on a bag, we used the three second timer on the Apple Watch and got a burst of ten great pictures of us looking natural. I was so pleased this worked well as to be honest I had low expectations of this kind of usage of Apple Watch.

It does make you wonder about putting a camera into the watch. It could work great… physical design and privacy issues aside. We never thought a rear camera on the iPad was a great idea and yet many millions of people use it. If Apple Watch had a world-facing camera in the top edge that was as good as the iPhone 6 camera, many of us would not need to carry our phone. This does somewhat scupper the Hockenberry reverse-crown style.

Returning to the subject of connection, the new software “universal SIM” Apple is said to be working on, and tried to introduce a few years back in the iPhone to carrier objections, is probably a prerequisite for the untethered Apple Watch. There will be little desire to waste space on a SIM slot on Apple Watch. User experience challenges will exist, where you have a “connected Apple Watch” as well as an iPhone, unless there is some way they can workaround mobile networks’ requirement for each number to have one single unique IMEI.

Nevertheless, when this coming-of-age happens for the Apple Watch it will transform both the Smart Watch and Mobile Phone markets. It would be classic Apple to disrupt itself in this way.