OT: I'm curious to hear what all you smart VSL readers think about the Apple Watch. Will it offer something to photographers?

Image done for Austin Lyric Opera. No real connection to our Apple Watch question. 
But would note that the model is wearing a watch, being lit with tungsten light and photographed with a Nikon 105mm f2 DC lens on a Kodak DCS 760C.

I am interested in what the upcoming Apple Watch will eventually offer to photographers and videographers. Since the watch will be linked to the iPhone will it be possible to do some of the stuff we normally do directly with our phones on the watch? 

For instance, if I am running the Olympus Share camera app on the phone could I see the menu on the watch? If I can see the menu on the watch and control the camera from the watch could I trigger the camera's shutter with a deft touch of the watch face? Could I arrange it so the live view is shared on the watch screen? Can I also watch my heart rate increase if I accidentally drop an expensive lens onto the concrete?

I know that my son's demographic currently has little to no interest in wearing watches and I am genuinely curious (as long time Apple stockholder) to see whether Apple's marketing clout will change that. But I am also interested in what you think about this. 

The watch isn't cheap. The least expensive one is reported to cost about $350. Is this something you will buy? Is it something you would use?

I remember when the iPad was announced. It was soundly ridiculed by everyone on the planet and spoofed on the TV show, Saturday Night Live. By October of 2014 Apple had sold 225,000,000 of the units at an average price of over $600. ( or, $135 billion U.S. dollars of product in four years).

Will the watch enjoy similar popularity or will the need for it to be tied to second product, the phone, limit it's success. Which then introduces another question: if the Watch does become popular enough will Apple also release on that works with Android phones. Will we one day be able to buy an Apple watch to use with a Samsung phone?

What am I waiting for in an Apple Watch? The same thing I've been thinking of since I jotted down a note in 1982. That would be to have an incident light meter in my wrist watch; no matter what company it came from. But, of course, if it all comes to pass I'll need a stronger pair of reading glasses to use it to it's fullest extent... Naw, that's too much.

I'm interested to read your opinions. Hit the comments. 


Anonymous said...

Do people still wear watches? My phone tells me what time it is. I can't read its screen anymore without glasses. No desire for something even smaller. I'll pass.

Kirk Tuck said...

Yes. Many people still wear watches. Many people have glasses with which to read books and to see the faces of their watches and other small details of life. I am sorry about your inability to see small type. Thank you for your response.

Bill Stormont said...

I read your blog each day on my iMac; I've had an Apple on my desk since 1985. When I go to the gym, the tiny Shuffle keeps the ambient noise that's piped in at bay. But…I no longer wear a watch. The reason? If I need to know the time, I just ask someone nearby, and they immediately pull out their phone (not all Apples, mind you) and there it is.

Count me as one who won't be purchasing an iWatch, at any price. And look up gewgaw, too; that sums it up for me. Lifestyle my…

TMJ said...

I do wear a watch, as a timekeeper, but I don't want a watch that is disposable and the battery is exhausted after a few hours use. Anyway, a watch is not defined as something that is worn on the wrist.

joefrank64k said...

I'm not sure how much the Apple Watch will offer photographers (other than the initial ability to use the AW as a remote viewfinder/trigger for the iPhone camera). Of course, Apple released the Apple SDK only recently, so who knows what apps the developer community will come up with.

As for people not wearing watches anymore...yes, I'm one of them (haven't worn a watch since the first iPhone in 2007). But the Apple Watch is much more than a watch...in fact, I'm not sure it's even correct to call it a "watch".

What I'm getting at: Apple (or so the story goes) was thinking of calling the iPhone the 'iPad'. But they worried that people might not "get" what an 'iPad' was about. So they went with 'iPhone' because it sounded more familiar.

But when you think about it, the iPhone isn't a phone, it's an internet-connected computer that has an app that lets you make phone calls (among many thousands of other things).

I think that as the Apple Watch gets out into the wild and people see that it's not just a watch, but a wrist-worn computer that has an app to display the time (among many other abilities), it will turn into another blockbuster for Apple. Just based on what I've seen already, I'll be pre-ordering one this Friday.

amolitor said...

No clue about your actual question by my god do I love that portrait.

Cab said...

Personally I have no interest in a remote control for my phone for $349 (minimum ... you could also get one for $17k!). As previous commenter said, my phone tells me the time, and the idea that the watch would vibrate when I got a text or email, etc, just puts even more pressure on people to be instantly accessible. Sometimes I like to shut off, and now you couldn't even use the excuse of "I didn't see your text come in." Plus it's yet another thing you have to remember to plug in every night, since the battery is only good for 18 hrs or so.

Even in the most logical (to me) instance of a smart watch, that of timing/GPS-logging/heart-rate monitoring during exercise, the watch needs the bluetooth connection to the phone (at least for the GPS), so you'd still need to have your phone with you. That said, I'm one of those who didn't see the point in the iPad when it was announced, so I'm sure Apple will sell a gazillion of these. Just not to me.

Rick Baumhauer said...

In time, all things are possible, but the for the near future, I don't see it doing too much that will specifically help the process of taking photographs. While Olympus could create a Watch app (really just an extension of the current iPhone app) to trigger cameras, in its current state, Live View on the watch is probably not possible (or advisable for battery life).

Based on what I've seen from people who have used the Watch for a period of time, the biggest effect is that you take your phone out of your pocket much less often. Instead of always looking at your phone to see if anything important has come in via e-mail/iMessage/social media (and getting distracted along the way), the Watch will let you know when something happens and allow you to decide whether it's important enough to warrant immediate attention. If it's not, the phone stays in your pocket and you keep working on more important things.

There are potential health/fitness benefits as well, but those are more user dependent. It doesn't look like you can wear it in the pool, unfortunately, but it does work well for running/biking, setting activity goals, etc.

Peter Wright said...

I'm not sure who is likely to buy this. My children also have little to no interest in watches. On the other hand, I have accumulated 15 watches over the years including the Pateks I normally wear, and have the iPhone, iPad, MacBook and Mac Mini, etc.but I don't see me owing an iWatch.

How could it be used in photography? Perhaps I could use it to time the development of the films from my Leica? O.K. I'm hopeless, but I hope this doesn't mean my pictures will be hopeless when compared to those from the iPhoneography, iWatch crowd.

Michael Matthews said...

Not too likely to jump for this one, but speak only for myself. I grew up in a generation accustomed to wearing watches, and was baffled by my grandfather's preference for a pocket watch.

In recent years I've stopped wearing watches altogether, finding an iPod Touch (with most of the iPhone's app features except cellular connectivity) to be an excellent pocket watch and greatly preferable.

It also serves as an alarm clock to pace me through various pharmaceuticals and meal restrictions related to them, serves as an ordinary calculator, a depth of field calculator, and as a level and plumb bob when I need to know which way is up. It links to email and web browsing when in Wifi range.

A $10/month Tracfone handles all cellphone needs. Apple Watch? Maybe not.

Edward Richards said...

I think the battery life - less than a day - is going to complicate its appeal. Even the geeks may be put off by two devices you have to charge every night.

For us older/blinder folks, the watch would be easier to see than a traditional analog watch. I do not care for bulky watches - I am not graceful and tend to catch them on things - so this would not be for me, even if I wore a watch.

As for your wearable incident meter, I bet you get a bracelet for a Gossen Digisix.:-) I keep one on a cord around my neck when I am shooting.

G Gudmundsson said...

I read about it and then forgot about it immediately ...

I have an iPhone and a MacBook Pro (I like Apple), but I'm not interested in the watch ...

Google glasses (with inbuilt camera) interest me vaguely ... but not this particular invention ..

that's my 2cents ...

lsumners said...

I still wear a watch (Casio-cheap). On the surface I can see no real advantage of the Apple watch. Sure not going to read a book on it and the apps will be so small, but I have been wrong before.

Frank Grygier said...

I love the portrait. Small computers on my wrist not so much.

Omer said...

I like the idea of a quick glance to check received communications (voice or text) without having to dig out the phone. If I were younger and busier, yeah, possibly, but being close to retirement, no.

Joe G said...

Hi Kirk,

I'll preface this by indicating I'm a fan of watches. I have a couple automatic ones though at the very low end of that spectrum. I bought one of the first iPad and now own three of them. I love the iPad mini 3G.

I'm very interested in the watch, though not if it struggles to make it through the day on a single charge. However, it won't work without a newer iPhone. I'm still using the 4, so to take advantage of the watch I also have to upgrade the phone. In Europe, the iPhone 6 is pretty expensive. I'll sit this one out and see what the next generation brings. By the way, my interest in the watch is not primarily for photography.

Godfrey DiGiorgi said...

All my devices get charged every night. I don't see the problem with that. I use them, they need the power. What's the big deal?

I have no idea what the Apple Watch might offer with respect to photography. It doesn't seem relevant at this moment.

Will I get one? Maybe. When I see one and see what it can do, I'll make that decision. I have to get a new iPhone first.

typingtalker said...

I stopped wearing a watch years ago. But ... I just bought a Microsoft Band which I've been wearing for two weeks now. I can't predict the future so I won't try.

The Band has a GPS which keeps me honest for my daily runs. It tells me exactly how far I've run, the total elapsed time, one-mile splits and heart rate. This has caused me to run slightly faster and farther. The Microsoft Health app maintains a history and delivers useful charts and graphics.

I doubt that it is much use for swimmers aside from getting them to the pool on time.

The Band also notifies me of emails, text messages and appointments and lets me read them and respond. This is sometimes useful and sometimes annoying. However it lets me glance at incoming without pulling out my phone and insulting a client sitting across the table.

In my hierarchy of device usefulness (desktop, laptop, tablet, phone) the Band sits at the bottom. This isn't bad, it just means that if I had to give one thing up, it would be the Band.

In summary, the Band does less than my phone, doesn't do anything my phone won't do but is useful. I spent $200 for mine and haven't seen anything that the Apple Watch will do that would cause me to spend $350 for one.

And I don't want it talking to my camera.

typingtalker said...

By the way, my Microsoft Band shows 60% battery remaining when I plug it in at the end of the day. Apple's claimed battery life is quite a bit shorter.

Nigel said...

I bet within two years, around half of the current naysayers will own one - not the first iteration, of course.

With a better battery, quite a lot cheaper, and some purpose designed apps ... what's then not to like about a computer/communicator on your wrist ?

And no, I haven't worn a watch for the last decade, either.

William Beebe said...

The Apple Watch will be every bit as successful as Google Glass. Maybe more so.

Anonymous said...

Here's some marketing clout aimed at the young http://www.flare.com/fashion/15-things-you-can-do-with-your-apple-watch/

High blood pressure is a problem for many Americans. Maybe a fully electronic blood pressure cuff app would be a big seller for the not-so-young.

For me, the Heart Rate Sensor and Apple Pay are two very good reasons to own an Apple Watch. YMMV.

Gato said...

If I could leave the phone at home I'd be interested.

If I could wear a device on my wrist that handled the basic function of a phone - call, texts, messaging and maybe basic web browsing - I might buy it. Even if I needed a magnifying glass for some functions.

I think at this point Apple has it backwards, with the watch an accessory to the iPhone. I'd like to have a phone on my wrist which could connect with an accessory larger screen when I need it.

Oh, it would need to be waterproof (at least enough for swimming), small enough to fasten the cuff on a dress shirt, battery life up around 36 hours, and it should look good.

Old Gray Roy said...

Since I've worn a wristwatch for 60+ years one might say I'm accustomed to them. Also not likely to quit wearing one. It will not become a wrist-worn computer. I have no use for such a device.

Desktop computer: device for email, research, cataloging and post-processing photographs. Laptop: Chrome device for instant on and quick uses. iphone: calls come in, calls go out

The main thing I've gotten from responses to your query is the push/hustle/rush syndrome, gotta do it quick, gotta do it now, gotta do a lot of it that permeates the thinking of generations younger than my own. Simply solidifies the fact that I am a roadblock on the highway of progress. Ah well.

Gary said...

Yes, I will buy it. I wear mechanical watches for fun mostly, and habit. I'm sure I'll find a lot of reasons for using the apple watch and soon find it indispensible and within a month I'll be unable to imagine life without the apple watch. Right now, I'm imagining not having to dig into my pocket and pull out the iPhone from whatever pocket or wherever I put it.

Max Rottersman said...

If alive, Thorstein Veblen wouldn't understand a thing the "watch" does, but he'd understand the $350" price tag from the most prestigious brand selling electronics today. Conspicuous consumption is alive and well. BTW, I asked my 21 year old daughter if she wanted one and she didn't hesitate to say yes (if only because all her developer friends will have them). As for a photographic helper, I have yet to say ANY photographer out there in the wild operating any camera from his/her cell phone. Doubt size is the reason.

Paul said...

I still wear a watch - a ten year old solar powered Casio - but I won't be buying one of these. I don't have an iPhone, no mobile signal where I live, so it would be pretty much redundant.

Scott said...

I don't know about Apple (my phone is Android) but you can use Android smartwatches to control a camera, see an image preview, and take a picture--as long as that camera is in your Android phone:


But all I want from a watch is the time and date. That's all mine has, and the battery lasts for five years.

almostinfamous said...

I am not particularly interested in watches, apple or otherwise, but recently noted that a lot of knock-offs of the physical design(square box?) have started proliferating on the streets of my city, most of them with low-res resisitive LCD screens.

So I'm guessing it will sell well. Maybe when v2 comes out with all the usual bugs fixed, I'll consider it.

Wade Marks said...

Of course I will buy the Apple Watch. For one, it will be great to check messages without taking my iPhone out of my pocket.

Two, I think the touch messages will be great. I will love tapping on my Apple watch and sending a digital touch message. I will also love sending my heartbeat to my wife and having her feel it. I will love getting tap directions, less distracting that way.

Three, there will be some great apps to use with it. I will love using it as a remote for my Apple TV. I will love having it track my fitness and even remind me to work out or even stand up, with a tap.

Four, it will look great. Other smart watches look clunky and ugly. From everything I've read and seen, fashion and watch experts agree that the Apple watch looks beautiful and is something you will want to wear. And it certainly won't be the fashion disaster that was Google glass.

So sure I'll buy an Apple watch. My guess is that many of the naysayers, after seeing it, hearing about it from others, will change their mind and end up with one.

JereK said...

I am open minded about having a Apple Watch or similar. The biggest problem for me at the moment is the poor /terrible usage time as apparently the battery can last as little as 4hrs. The bare minimum is 18hrs so you can load it at night and have it with you otherwise.

Probably will wait until the next generation to see how the watch evolves so to speak.

At the moment the Microsoft Band is the most interesting to me as it works with all the three phone OS and also has health apps. I hate regular heartrate monitors which strap to your chest..

RubyT said...

If I were to wear a watch, it would be as jewelry, not tech. I quit largely because I tend to bump into things, and this is not good for jewelry or tech. So, no.

Andrea said...

Three years ago I bought a Pebble (www.pebble.com). Seven days use from a charge, bluetooth connectivity, eInk display and vibration. With it, I can check alerts from mail, sms, whatsapp, facebook, twitter, without taking my phone out the pocket unless absolutely necessary. It runs also hundreds of applications and interfaces with Runkeeper fitness app . It costed me 99 USD, never regretted the expense, one of my best piece of tech. Only use related to photography: weather forecast.

Mitch Wojnarowicz said...

I HAVE NO NEED for an iPad. I already have one. It has a hinge and is called a laptop, ... said the guy who now can't live without his Ipad.

So let me say for the record I have no need for an Apple Watch.

I'd like an HR monitor, something that could follow HR and blood pressure all day? Track steps, altitude gain and loss? There is a pretty good sleep app for the phone, could it work better on a device like this?

My wife had catastrophic hearing loss a year ago. She relies on assistive devices to wake up. Maybe this could help. And help her in ways I can't think of yet.

jason gold said...

The watch industry expects the Apple watch will be a forerunner of a new way of watch. There will be other manufacturers and way different prices! It will become the Standard way of wrist time.
Personally from experience, most users of digital watches have major problems simply setting their timepieces..
I love my Mechanical timepieces that like my leica-M3 never needed a battery, ever!

Mitch Wojnarowicz said...

So thinking further after submitting my other post about the possible health monitoring this device might provide ....

Maybe with a bluetooth or WiFi camera, the watch could provide feedback from the camera. Sort of like a pilot getting the robot voice "terrain ... pull UP" I could set the watch to blabber at me as my auto ISO exceeded a certain number or my shutter dipped below a set value as I ran about at a stressful wedding shoot.

Maybe the watch could alert me "flash ... UNDER" or vibrate in a pattern as I was shooting fill flash with TTl which didn't hit the correct exposure.

Maybe Bluetooth big studio flashes could talk to the watch, letting me know "flash ...CHARGED" as I worked at a company's headshot session.

Or linked to an assistant's phone the watch could tell me "assistant ... TEXTING".

So I could see this as an interface with the camera for feedback.

Ira said...

I think the uses are limited at the moment but like many Apple products, the 2.0 or 3.0 version will be much more capable and polished.

I'm looking forward to the day when lights have a wifi interface and I can control the intensity of a hair-light from the dial on my watch. If they add a camera to function as a light meter, you could have lights that adjust themselves! :-)