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What would make the Apple Watch 2 compelling?

Dan Moren | Jan. 27, 2016

First in, first out. That's kind of how I feel about my Apple Watch. Of all the Apple devices I own, it's by far the most expendable, which has me wondering what happens when the Apple Watch 2 comes along.

Make no mistake: it's coming. Maybe not at the one-year anniversary of the original Apple Watch - and I think that's a good thing - but it's not like the company's simply going to shrug its shoulders and walk away from the product.

But that eventual upgrade has me wondering: what's it going to take to get me to switch to a new version of the Apple Watch?

Candid camera

Placing your trust in the rumour mill is never the best idea, but I find myself a bit despondent over the current rumoured feature-du-jour for the next Apple Watch: a camera.

Yes, the camera is a central feature of the iPhone. Yes, people even take pictures with their iPads. Most Macs ship with cameras. So, feature parity, right? The thing is: I'm having trouble coming up with a compelling reason why I'd want a camera on my Apple Watch, and more than a couple compelling reasons why I don't.

Adding a camera to the Apple Watch would seem to serve two primary, related purposes: selfies and FaceTime. Taking pictures of things other than yourself with a camera on the Apple Watch seems awkward and unnecessary, and, well, rife with the potential for abuse. But taking pictures of yourself doesn't seem particularly useful either, especially as the angle at which you generally hold your wrist doesn't provide the most flattering view of your face. More to the point, the likely smaller size of any camera built into the Watch means it's not going to provide an image any better than your iPhone's front-facing camera.

An Apple solution would presumably involve some clever engineering, perhaps canting the orientation of the camera to allow for a better picture without having to hold your arm up to eye level. But that's only half the problem: go ahead, hold your arm up to eye level with your watch perpendicular to your eyes. Now don't move for a minute. Tiring, right? I've had long FaceTime conversations with my iPhone and iPad, and after more than a few minutes, you really want to put the device down somewhere.

Adding a camera could potentially be useful if you wanted it for other reasons, such as an input device, but once again, the angle of use seems un-ergonomic at best. In general, a camera on the Apple Watch would seem to be a solution in desperate search of a problem.


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