Good Reads for April, 2015

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of slightly longer — but always worth your time — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. If I may be so bold, it’s a fantastic change of pace from the rapid-fire nature of the regular news posts. Bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, four of the five Good Reads pieces this month are related to the Apple Watch. And for good reason: it’s the first truly new Apple product category since the launch of the iPad in 2010, which means there’s more than enough speculation to keep Apple pundits pounding away at keyboards for weeks to come. Over at Above Avalon, Neil Cybart says it’s time for the Watch.

Just as was the case when the product was introduced in September, many are overthinking the watch, turning Apple’s refrain about making great products into a complex business theory that risks missing the obvious keys to success. By overthinking the watch and ignoring the clues we received over the past few years, it is too easy to miss what Apple Watch actually is: freedom to do different things with technology.

  • Speaking of doing different things with technology, Ben Bajarin of Techpinions writes that one of the biggest advantages of the Apple Watch is that it lets us interact with technology in a different way. It’s hands-free computing, provided you’re not taking that term too literally — while Siri is around to help you out, you’ll still need to poke and prod at your Apple Watch or spin the Digital Crown to get anything done.

The value of curated wrist based notifications allow me to interact with the digital world, or maybe even better stated, allow the digital world to interact with me, without having to be captive to a screen in my hands. Of course, you still need to use your hands to operate the watch, but the interactions are designed to be short and quick.

  • Like many of us (myself included) Neven Mrgan doesn’t have an Apple Watch. But instead of shrugging it off to a minor supply-and-demand issue, he wrote his own week-one review anyway, sans watch. The results are hilarious: from trying on a photo of the Apple Watch to comparing the various sizes of band (he’s using neither because he still doesn’t have his watch), he even posted up a few situations where having a watch would be useful.

The black Space Gray aluminum case looks great in pictures; the fluoromouseketeer band feels better than any other band I’ve seen and haven’t tried; the software has the usual level of polish we’ve come to expect from high-res Illustrator mockups in Apple’s promotional materials.

  • In what may be the first Australian piece I’ve featured in Good Reads, Anthony Harrison of Eastwood tells Apple to forget about custom watch faces, and instead work on allowing custom complications. While custom watch faces would likely be the end goal for Apple, custom complications would also be pretty great — even if it only works with a very specific kind of app.

These tiny information tidbits would be exceptionally hard to design. The allowed visual space is minuscule ensuring that each complication will have to not only be succinct with the information it displayed but also be distinguishable as to which app it relates. Only a very small subset of apps will be suited for such space.

  • Last but not least, Matt Stopera of Buzzfeed tells a story in three parts: following his stolen iPhone across the world, becoming a celebrity in China, and finding a friend for life. It’s incredibly insane, and to think it starts out just like the original story of the iPhone did, all those years ago…

Anyway, it’s like February 2014 and I’m out drinking my $20 happy hour bottle of wine when someone comes into the bar and swipes my phone off the table. Honestly, it’s genius. I applaud the person who took my phone. I bet you he stole 20 phones that night. It’s the perfect place to steal phones. Bravo. Genius.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: yeah, I forgot about Good Reads last week. And yeah, I used two pieces for April that were published in May. But you have to mix it up every now and again, you know?

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