Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Beginning the Conversation

Jim Ray:

Today, though, I can’t figure where this fits in my life, and I’m someone who’s owned the first-gen of every product Apple has released this century (I waited in line an hour for the first iSight camera). Maybe it’s because I’m a dad now with income that’s hardly disposable. Maybe it’s because I own several mechanical watches that I never wear because they don’t quite match my personal style and not a single Apple watch is something I’d consider a complement. Maybe because I’ve become increasingly wary and weary of the surge of notifications and the drain on my own cognition and mindfulness and I’m skeptical that another device is going to help solve that.

This is the way I’m feeling too, but I’m also intrigued to try it and see how real people are using it in real life. There could be something to turning off all notifications on your phone, and just getting a handful of important ones passed through to your watch. We shall see.

Ray, continued:

The Edition watch is hardly Apple at its best. If anything, the Edition feels like a manifestation of the kind of empty criticism Apple has endured for decades: that they hermetically seal commoditized components in a veneer of design, packaged with slick marketing and a powerful brand. I hope the Edition becomes truly limited and is dropped in future generations.

Scathing, but Ray isn’t wrong. Imagine if Rolex made watches that ranged from $350 to $17,000 with the exact same internals. Do you think the buyers of the priciest watches wouldn’t feel slightly cheated? Do you think that people spotting on the street a $17,000 version of their $350 watch wouldn’t feel like that person is just showing off?

I don’t know if the pricing of the Edition is right or wrong; I’m clearly not part of the target market for them. Apple probably doesn’t know for sure, either. There are people out there who might lap these things up, and that’s fine. But it feels so conspicuous, ostentatious, vulgar, and — most importantly — so unlike Apple. They don’t really do expensive for expensive’s sake.

But even though this is clearly something completely new for Apple, they don’t jump into markets without conducting some research first. I’m intrigued to see how it pans out.