I Bought an Apple Watch but My Pebble Still Has a Spot on My Wrist

PebbleInSand750

PebbleInSand750I grew up watching a lot of Sci Fi.  The type of Sci Fi where people had communication devices and computers as watches, and every new variation on that theme sparked my envy.  Thus it should comes as no big surprise that I bought an Apple Watch.

My Apple Watch however was not my first foray in the world of smartwatches. I’ve had a Pebble for about a year and a half and I have to say I still love it.

Before I delve any further I think it’s important to point out that smartwatches exist on a sliding scale.  On one end you have watches that simply tell time.  On the other you have computers (for the sake of argument let’s consider an iPhone a “computer”).  The Apple Watch with a touch display that’s not always on is more of a computer.  The original Pebble with an always-on screen is more of a watch.  They can both run apps.  They can both tell time.  Yet there is still plenty of differentiation between the two.

So despite having the much-hyped Apple Watch, I’m still a huge fan of my Pebble.  Let me explain why.

 Reason 1: Ruggedness

First I find Pebbles to be a bit more rugged.  I’m a Lifeproof kind of guy.  My phone has a waterproof drop proof case that graces it’s presence on the weekends.  I’ve found it a virtual requirement of an active life style.  I hop on my bike, I hop on a jet ski, and my phone is protected.  Recently I’ve begun training for a triathlon and since my Apple Watch isn’t waterproof I swap it out for my Pebble any/every time I go in the pool.  My Pebble is water resistant to 5 ATM (50 Meters) from the factory (As a reference point most open water SCUBA dives are 30 Meters or less).  No case, no fuss, just shower with out worry.  In fact I intentionally use my Pebble in the shower so I can control the music I stream to a Bluetooth speaker.  It’s also worth noting that the Pebbles screen is covered in plastic not glass.  While this means it will scratch easier, it also means I don’t have to worry about shattering it.  Let’s not forget that time Apple made the back of an iPhone out of glass.

Reason 2: Battery Life

Secondly the Pebble Classic has up to 5 days of battery life.  I can attest this is easily obtainable.  The benefit of which is if you go away for the weekend somewhere, you don’t have to worry about bringing yet another charging cable and wall plug.  It also means you don’t have to charge your watch every night.

In fairness I should point out that all of the Pebbles do have a more limited feature both in terms of software and hardware.

Reason 3: Price

It’s hard to argue with the Pebble Classic’s price point.  At a penny shy of $100 you get a very durable smartwatch with great battery life.  It has most of the feature set of the newer Pebbles and recently received a software upgrade that bring its features even more inline.  There’s still some nice apps and watch faces out there for it, and it’s extremely easy to put new bands on it to customize however you like.

Rebuttal: The Weaknesses

There are many arguments to be made on the differences between touch screen UIs vs hardware driven UIs.  But for now let’s just pretend that a touch UI is better.  In that case none of the Pebble models offer a touch screen in contrast to all of the Apple Watches models featuring them standard.  However, the App icons on the Apple Watch do seem to have smaller tap area’s then what Apple originally recommended in their Human Interface Guidelines for smartphones.  Which does make the touch UI a lot harder to use.

In terms of voice control even the new Pebbles with some voice capabilities don’t stack up to Siri on the Apple Watch.  Siri let’s you start apps, reply to messages, control your music.  With that said Siri still has a way to go in terms of accurately knowing what you’re telling it to do.

Conclusion

This post isn’t meant to be an absolute argument for or against either platform.  Just a comparison of reasons why the Pebble is still a great device.  If you’re looking for a watch that will also give you alerts and keep you connected, take a look at the Pebbles.  If you want a little more computer functionality and don’t mind waiting a second or two to see what time it Is then check out the Apple Watch.  Or spoil yourself like I do and have both.

The iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch

iphone6 apple watch

iphone6 apple watch

So Apple just announced quite a few new products. While the tech blogs did a great job of covering the event I just wanted to provide a quick summary.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Apple just announced two phones, the 6 and the 6 Plus both of which are larger then the current 5S and 5C.
The 6 will feature a 4.7 inch screen at 1334×750 pixels.
The 6 Plus will feature a 5.5 inch screen at 1920×1080 pixels (1080p).
Both receive a bump in camera specs with the 6 Plus receiving optical image stabilization.

Under the hood they will both have a more powerful processor dubbed the A8 and an updated motion processor.

Both of these phones will also feature Apple Pay. Apple Pay works in conjunction with Touch ID and a new NFC (Near Field Communications) chip/antenna for contactless payments.

The iPhone 6 starts at $199 and the 6S starts at $299 with both available on September 19th (preorders September 12th) coinciding with the release of iOS 8.

Apple Watch

Many believe this was the bigger announcement of the event, and they may be right. As speculated Apple is indeed coming out with a watch, and it’s called simply The Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch features a touch screen and a “Digital Crown”

What I consider to be extremely important is the inclusion of NFC for Apple Pay. I’m very curious to see if NFC will be opened up for developers, there was mention of the Watch being able to open your room at a Starwood hotel, not sure if that’s NFC or BLE however.

The Apple Watch is very fitness focused, taking on a lot of the duties of todays wearables while still having some pretty sweet watch faces and capabilities. There’s also the ability to make a friends watch vibrate and send them doodles.

The Apple Watch will be available in 2015 and is broken down into 3 different classes of style based on your personal tastes. The current price is listed as $349.

What else should I know?

Well go to iTunes NOW because U2′s latest album is being given away exclusively and for free until October 13.
Also the 5C and the 5S aren’t going away, there are however receiving a price cut with the 5C at 8GB being offered for free (2 year contract) and the 5S starting at $99 (2 year contract).