There’s so much going on in the tech world right now that it’s difficult to make sense of everything. While I could go on and on about this stuff I have decided to do mini posts with fewer words for each topic as well as some thoughts.
Reviewing the Apple Watch after 1 month
I have had the Apple Watch for one (1) month now. I bought the cheapest version with the lowest specs: 42mm Aluminum with Blue sport band. It has been useful in these major areas:
Less phone usage
Believe it or not, I am using my phone less because I can clear emails, respond to texts, and handle car navigation with the vibration and basic gestures. This increased my efficiency with my smartphone.
One major positive outcome was that I have access to health data. It tells me when I need to stand up and how many calories I burned for the day. I don’t know how accurate it is, but it has nonetheless impacted my daily habits. It’s great for logging workout times and you can even win mini-achievements based on your usage.
That being said, the Apple Watch had some issues that were really impacting my overall experience.
Slow third-party apps
The 3rd party apps (Instagram, Twitter, Uber) were pretty slow to load and I felt rather silly looking at photos or content on them. The slowness caused me to defer to my phone by default.
Potential developer issues
Having a tech background with my own projects I already thought of some issues that will be present as more developers build apps. As Apple noted on their developer page, Apple Watch apps are meant for lightweight interactions (limited functionality). I see this as a firm problem for some developers as they try to pack more functionality into it. The small screen size makes this a really bad idea as the user experience is frustrating.
You have to wear it every day
I genuinely miss the health data when I don’t wear it. So, it creates a problem in the sense that I want to wear it more. This is probably a feature Apple planned for, but it’s still a pain in the ass.
For the full experience you really have to wear it every day. For example, I like the health data but the watch doesn’t fit in with every outfit I own. So, I deferred to wearing a second watch on the right wrist (concealed of course) on some occasions.
All in all, I would rate the watch a 6/10. It looks promising, but some major issues need to be addressed.
Uber and self-driving cars
I like Uber a lot. It’s a classy and tasteful solution to transportation. It also has positive outcomes when it comes to reducing drunk driving and such. However, with self-driving cars I spent some time thinking about their implications. For Uber (or any app based taxi company), being able to replace drivers with autonomous fleets seems to be a necessary part of their future. This will kill lots of jobs but will usher in an era of Uber’s true tagline, everyone’s private driver (minus the driver).
I would imagine that Uber is investing lots of time and energy into this inevitable transition. For the industry, I believe this will reduce competition because of the barriers to entry (with capital) in terms of getting a fleet of technically advanced cars.
I hope we are not stuck with the Microsoft of taxis when it’s all said and done.
Elon Musk's endgame
Elon Musk is one of the most fascinating figures of our time. He has been compared to a modern day Tony Stark because of his work on some of the world’s most innovative companies: PayPal, Tesla, Space X, and Solar City. The real question is, do these companies have a relationship to one another?
To answer this, let’s consider one common theme that Musk has mentioned time and time again: the need for humanity to have a Plan B in the case of Earth’s destruction. With this long term vision in mind, Musk’s investments of time and money make lots of sense:
Tesla will move the world towards electric cars and less reliance on fossil fuels.
SpaceX will make consumer space travel possible and financially feasible (possibly via electricity in the future).
Solar City will provide much needed energy via the sun for all of the travel and energy needed for space colonization.
With these technologies in mind, it make sense that Musk’s end game is having humanity settle on Mars (or other planets) at a feasible cost. He is most likely hedging on electricity and solar power for the potential means of powering all of this travel. If these technologies converge, Musk will be able to single-handedly power space travel with the most cost effective option for people and corporations.
This seems feasible and is most likely the strongest attempt at solving this “Plan B for Earth” problem that he has chosen to solve.
Well played Elon, well played.