final impressions

Nine weeks on, I haven’t missed my Apple Watch at all. The Charge 3 has had its flaky moments, but they are few and far between, and I have to take it off to charge once a week (usually Wednesdays, as it happens). The sleep tracking and step counting seems reliable enough, and the notifications are as reliable as they were on the series 0 Apple Watch – which is to say, not perfect, but close enough. Aside from the occasional need of Duo Push at work – which I have contrived to reduce to once every couple months – I haven’t missed the Watch in the least.

And this concerns me. Because I also find myself grasping for my personal iPhone SE instead of the iPhone X on nights and weekends. My iPad mini from Christmas 2013 is still mostly functional and I have no plans to replace it. And the first phone since the SE that has tempted me to spend my own money is…the Google Pixel 3A, the $400 mid-range version of the Android flagship. It’s not difficult to see why the iPhone isn’t really in a growth spurt: too much money for not enough improvement over the pocket rocket of three years ago.

This is of serious concern, just because every dime I’ve made since 1997 has been in some way connected with the support of Apple products. As I approach 50, there’s no getting around the fact that my professional life is tied to the Beast of Cupertino and that if they start to falter, I may find myself in a hell of a fix. The move to “services” is no comfort: I don’t think anyone is going to need support administration for AppleTV+ anytime soon.

The trick is going to be this: is a premium-and-service Apple going to be something that people continue to buy and just keep and use longer, or is the “cheaper and good enough” model going to do them like the 1990s again? After all, if they can’t compel me to keep laying out money, how are they going to lure cash out of wallets of people who don’t depend on them? 

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