It’s Samsung’s fault the Apple Watch is so boring

Macworld

Welcome to our weekly Apple Breakfast column, which includes all the Apple news you missed last week in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a Monday morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.

Can’t innovate, or doesn’t need to innovate?

I published my review of the Apple Watch Series 9 last week and, as expected, found it both excellent and dull. The design has barely changed in years, there are hardly any significant new features, and even the much-touted processor bump has no effect on app performance. At least the S9 brings a side serving of better battery life, because that’s the only improvement most of us will notice from last year’s (also excellent and dull) Series 8.

Apple has been told it doesn’t iterate its products boldly enough by so many people for so long that even the company itself has got in on the joke, with Phil Schiller famously remarking “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass!” when unveiling the new Mac Pro back in 2013. I don’t generally like it when businesses try to humorously co-opt criticism of themselves as if being aware of their own faults excuses them from having to fix them, nor am I convinced that the trashcan Pro was the leap forward Schiller might have liked us to think. But there is a case to be made for Apple’s conservative approach not being entirely its own fault.

Tim Cook is running a finely tuned profit machine, and it’s part of his job to ensure that resources are allocated where they need to be. In certain areas–augmented reality, generative AI–Apple faces a battle to become competitive, and the combined efforts of large teams of engineers and designers will produce appropriately outsized effects on the company’s output. In other areas, Apple is already number one, so why try harder?

In the smartphone realm, competition is fierce and the stakes are high, and Apple has rarely been able to take for granted the iPhone’s position of strength, let alone dominance. And so, while we might complain that from year to year the iPhone doesn’t change a whole lot, the product has undoubtedly moved forward since it arrived. Compare the original iPhone to the iPhone 6s released eight years later, and for processing power, camera performance, screen quality, storage capacity, and more it’s like night and day. The original iPhone didn’t offer FaceTime, or MMS, or the App Store (at least until a later software update), and you couldn’t even select text.

Now look at the progress in the eight years between the original Apple Watch and this year’s Series 9. Has the product been transformed, or has it been tweaked? I think we all know the answer to that. And I blame Samsung.

Glance at the best smartwatches chart on Tech Advisor–a site, I would hasten to add, that is rarely accused of favoritism towards Apple–and what do you see at the top? An Apple Watch, obviously. And this is because Apple’s dominance of the smartwatch market is essentially unchallenged. Other companies gamely offer alternatives, from the Google Pixel Watch with its “inconsistent battery life” and “old chipset” to Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, complete with “big, bulky design.” But realistically, and mainly because they haven’t got the intuitive square-screen elegance of watchOS, none of them are going to topple Apple from its perch while Tim Cook takes note of this and quietly transfers a few more Apple Watch designers onto something more mission-critical.

A company is only as good as its competition, and a product is only as good as it needs to be. And until someone comes along and presents a plausible alternative to watchOS, the exciting Apple Watch X revamp we keep getting excited about will remain just around the corner.

Foundry

Trending: Top stories

3 reasons why Apple’s ‘Scary Fast’ event could be an eerie disappointment.

Apple is doomed because it makes too many Pencils.

Apple’s generative AI push will start with iOS 18.

Podcast of the week

Apple has announced another event, and this one is on the day before Halloween. What tricks and treats does Apple have in store? We talk about what could happen on October 30, in this episode of the Macworld Podcast!

You can catch every episode of the Macworld Podcast on SpotifySoundcloud, the Podcasts app, or our own site.

Reviews corner

Apple Watch Series 9 review: Same old Apple, always winning.

Top 25 Mac games: From RPGs to racing, shooting games to puzzles.

The rumor mill

Here’s everything coming at Apple’s ‘Scary Fast’ event: iMacs, MacBooks, M3, and more.

Another rumor claims Apple is developing a cheap MacBook.

A leaked Apple prototype has teased an unreleased touchscreen HomePod.

The USB-C Magic Mouse is coming–but it’ll likely still have goofy charging.

Software updates, bugs, and problems

France has okayed an iPhone 12 update to lower radiation levels, but not in French-controlled territories.

iOS 17.2 beta is out now and includes the Journal app.

iOS 17.1 finally fixes a three-year-old Private Wi-Fi Address security hole.

Apple’s latest updates patch scary Find My, Siri, and Weather flaws.

And with that, we’re done for this week’s Apple Breakfast. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Facebook, Threads, or Twitter for discussion of breaking Apple news stories. See you next Monday, and stay Appley.

Apple Inc

​Macworld Macworld

Welcome to our weekly Apple Breakfast column, which includes all the Apple news you missed last week in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a Monday morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.

Can’t innovate, or doesn’t need to innovate?

I published my review of the Apple Watch Series 9 last week and, as expected, found it both excellent and dull. The design has barely changed in years, there are hardly any significant new features, and even the much-touted processor bump has no effect on app performance. At least the S9 brings a side serving of better battery life, because that’s the only improvement most of us will notice from last year’s (also excellent and dull) Series 8.

Apple has been told it doesn’t iterate its products boldly enough by so many people for so long that even the company itself has got in on the joke, with Phil Schiller famously remarking “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass!” when unveiling the new Mac Pro back in 2013. I don’t generally like it when businesses try to humorously co-opt criticism of themselves as if being aware of their own faults excuses them from having to fix them, nor am I convinced that the trashcan Pro was the leap forward Schiller might have liked us to think. But there is a case to be made for Apple’s conservative approach not being entirely its own fault.

Tim Cook is running a finely tuned profit machine, and it’s part of his job to ensure that resources are allocated where they need to be. In certain areas–augmented reality, generative AI–Apple faces a battle to become competitive, and the combined efforts of large teams of engineers and designers will produce appropriately outsized effects on the company’s output. In other areas, Apple is already number one, so why try harder?

In the smartphone realm, competition is fierce and the stakes are high, and Apple has rarely been able to take for granted the iPhone’s position of strength, let alone dominance. And so, while we might complain that from year to year the iPhone doesn’t change a whole lot, the product has undoubtedly moved forward since it arrived. Compare the original iPhone to the iPhone 6s released eight years later, and for processing power, camera performance, screen quality, storage capacity, and more it’s like night and day. The original iPhone didn’t offer FaceTime, or MMS, or the App Store (at least until a later software update), and you couldn’t even select text.

Now look at the progress in the eight years between the original Apple Watch and this year’s Series 9. Has the product been transformed, or has it been tweaked? I think we all know the answer to that. And I blame Samsung.

Glance at the best smartwatches chart on Tech Advisor–a site, I would hasten to add, that is rarely accused of favoritism towards Apple–and what do you see at the top? An Apple Watch, obviously. And this is because Apple’s dominance of the smartwatch market is essentially unchallenged. Other companies gamely offer alternatives, from the Google Pixel Watch with its “inconsistent battery life” and “old chipset” to Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, complete with “big, bulky design.” But realistically, and mainly because they haven’t got the intuitive square-screen elegance of watchOS, none of them are going to topple Apple from its perch while Tim Cook takes note of this and quietly transfers a few more Apple Watch designers onto something more mission-critical.

A company is only as good as its competition, and a product is only as good as it needs to be. And until someone comes along and presents a plausible alternative to watchOS, the exciting Apple Watch X revamp we keep getting excited about will remain just around the corner.

Foundry

Trending: Top stories

3 reasons why Apple’s ‘Scary Fast’ event could be an eerie disappointment.

Apple is doomed because it makes too many Pencils.

Apple’s generative AI push will start with iOS 18.

Podcast of the week

Apple has announced another event, and this one is on the day before Halloween. What tricks and treats does Apple have in store? We talk about what could happen on October 30, in this episode of the Macworld Podcast!

You can catch every episode of the Macworld Podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, the Podcasts app, or our own site.

Reviews corner

Apple Watch Series 9 review: Same old Apple, always winning.

Top 25 Mac games: From RPGs to racing, shooting games to puzzles.

The rumor mill

Here’s everything coming at Apple’s ‘Scary Fast’ event: iMacs, MacBooks, M3, and more.

Another rumor claims Apple is developing a cheap MacBook.

A leaked Apple prototype has teased an unreleased touchscreen HomePod.

The USB-C Magic Mouse is coming–but it’ll likely still have goofy charging.

Software updates, bugs, and problems

France has okayed an iPhone 12 update to lower radiation levels, but not in French-controlled territories.

iOS 17.2 beta is out now and includes the Journal app.

iOS 17.1 finally fixes a three-year-old Private Wi-Fi Address security hole.

Apple’s latest updates patch scary Find My, Siri, and Weather flaws.

And with that, we’re done for this week’s Apple Breakfast. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Facebook, Threads, or Twitter for discussion of breaking Apple news stories. See you next Monday, and stay Appley.

Apple Inc 

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