back to article Woz says wearables – even Apple Watch – aren't 'compelling'

Steve Wozniak has decreed that today's crop of wearables just aren't that useful – even Apple's own Watch. Speaking at the Future Transport Summit in Sydney today, during which Wozniak declared he is not an expert on transport and therefore a mere lay person when it comes to predicting its future, the Apple co-founder said …

  1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    He"s right, you know.

  2. bazza Silver badge

    Ah, the ol' function over form thing. He's right though, the iWatch owners I know don't exactly get much out of them, and they look like an over thick square slab getting in the way of their shirt cuff. Yes, I've yet to see a woman wearing one.

    The trouble for a wearable is that it can hardly function at all, and really cannot improve on the wearables we already have. An ordinary watch is very good at telling the time and date and a few other things. A phone is meant to fit in a pocket (interesting that the new iPhone is smaller) and does way more for us than a watch can ever do. A specialised sports thing like to heart rate monitor is better for those who take their exercise seriously.

    Something like an iWatch struggles to be a jack of all trades but is master of none.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Three friends with smart watches. Admittedly none of them Apple. All three were excited almost evangelical about them.

      Now none of those three are worn. Two are wearing some sort of sporty (Garmin?) GPS tracking thing instead.

      I like the smart watch wave because other people than me paid high money for them, advancing R&D, giving good engineers jobs, and moving technology a step forwards. From all that work something useful may emerge, one day.

      1. Brenda McViking

        I bought a sony smartwatch 2 when my conventional watch died.

        Most of the uses are completely, well, "meh" - telling the time, message notifications, having a wrist calculator, fintness apps, remote camera button. Yeah, I use them, there are fringe cases when they're useful, no, they aren't worth buying a smartwatch for. I can live with charging it once or twice a week.

        There is only one thing that made it worth the £50 I paid and that's the "Find my phone" button. Means I can track the blighter down!

        Squirreling it's way down the couch or hiding under cushions no longer works for the devious little smartmobe anymore, I no longer have to search 12 pockets to find which one it's in, and the watch even vibrates when it's lost connection so I know when it's tried to stay in my car without me.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I wear my Fitbit a lot more since encrypting my Android phone with a long password. If it's nearby, it bypasses the password. I figure this is better than fingerprints, because I can't flush my fingerprints down the toilet after being arrested again. There's nothing interesting on there, but it's MY boring life.

    2. AMBxx Silver badge

      yet to see a woman wearing one.

      My dog's vet's a woman,.She wear's a Apple Watch. Looks daft though.

      Probably look better on the dog's collar - more useful too.

      1. ThomH

        Re: yet to see a woman wearing one.

        I wear a health band, this specific one's main contribution over everything my phone does already being continuous heart rate monitoring. Oh, and having the time on my wrist, obviously. Which is relevant to the lifestyle I aspire to; I'm sure a more psychologically robust person wouldn't be interested. But, regardless, the basic test is: what do I gain from having one that I would not otherwise have? Avoiding having to reach all the way into my pocket for my phone is not sufficient.

        (EDITed addition: the Apple Watch isn't especially close to continuously monitoring, it samples every ten minutes; judged according to the things it does that my phone does not already, battery life is far too poor and it's far too expensive)

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I really appreciated that Wozniak clearly stated that requiring a network connection makes things less useful.

    At this point in time we are apparently trying to tie ourselves to the Internet for everything we do, and that means that anytime the Internet is not available, we cannot do anything.

    In the future, at some point, I am convinced that the Internet will be available everywhere and all the time, with ample bandwidth for all, but right now that is simply not the case. So, while it may be nice when it works, you still need a backup plan for when it doesn't.

    I prefer to skip the hassle and go straight to what works all the time, every time.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      But if the internet isn't available then people just wait until it is. It's not like heart pacemakers rely on a tick-server in the cloud. I don't think many people are reliant on connectivity. They like it and expect it, but when its not there, then meh.

      1. Simon Harris

        " I don't think many people are reliant on connectivity. They like it and expect it, but when its not there, then meh."

        Not just connectivity, but continuation of specific services. Imagine you have an internet connected home controller system (the Revolv, for example), and the company controlling those services goes tits-up or to discontinue services for what they consider an obsolete device.

        Every time Netflix or BBC iPlayer buffers or drops out, it might be a meh moment, but it's a little hammer to the brain to remind you never to trust the internet to be permanently available.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's not like heart pacemakers rely on a tick-server in the cloud.

        Please don't give the fools any ideas…

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I am reminded of many apps for the iPhone which simply did not function without an active internet connection because they wouldn't start, because some clown programmer decided that updating the content was way more important than the content already resident and that the user should just wait, and wait, and wait ...

        Things have improved, but it continues to be an issue.

    2. VinceH

      "I really appreciated that Wozniak clearly stated that requiring a network connection makes things less useful."

      Yes indeed. And I can't upvote Wozniak for saying it, so I'm upvoting you for highlighting that he said it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Internet connectivity is not really that useful most of the time but for continuously tracking users in real time...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Palm Pilots had it right 15 years ago. A system tray app with 3rd party plugins to grab and assimilate stuff before you leave for the train. Just mash the Sync button a few minutes before you leave for all of your news, GTD and emails.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Seconds out... Round 2

    The Apple Watch is buy most measures a failure yet it sold a good few million.

    It has done several things though (IMHO)

    1) Shaken up the whole market for totally electronic wearables. No longer are they just restricted to things like the fitbit.

    2) Got a whole lot of talking about wearables. Before it was very, very niche. Still a niche in my opinion but far closer to mainstream than before

    3) Shaken the traditional watch makers to the core.

    By all accounts, the next version will be thinner (it is apple after all...) and more usable.

    All I know is that I don't want anything on my wrist including a watch. Not worn one for almost 40 years.

    Now if someone repackaged it into something like 'Half-Hunter' format then I might buy one.

    One of the people on the office has one. Thinks it is perfect for using Apple Pay on the Tube. That might be a perfect niche for it.

    Lets all wait for round 2 and see where this marker is going to go.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge


      Now if someone repackaged it into something like 'Half-Hunter' format then I might buy one.

      We call those "smartphones". You can even attach a little chain to your smartphone if you want.

      The reason that the wristwatch appeared was to allow people to look at the time without reaching into pocket, withdrawing pocket watch, open protective case, observe time, close case, place back in pocket. Often hands were otherwise occupied and strapping the timepiece to the wrist served a practical purpose.

      With the smartwatch, this has happened again, but this time for other information than the time of day, reading the time itself being less important because there are often clocks everywhere.

      1. Aled Balloon

        Re: Half-Hunter

        Ahhh. Half-Hunter, I thought it was one green welly.... ;)

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Half-Hunter

        A 'half or even full hunter" is far more durable than a smartphone. The metal case protects the delicate insides. The round nature of the device makes it slip in and out of pockets with ease as opposed to most smart phone (even those with rounded corners).

        The chain properly attaching it to ones clothing makes for a perfect device. does the job it was intended to do perfectly and no silly wrist band.

        As I said, I hate things on my wrists. So the likelyhood of me stumping up for a watch if this type is as likely as Leicester winning the Champions League.

        now where the number of my bookie?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "...said, I hate things on my wrists..."

          So, it may be true to say, and I pause here for a small chuckle at my upcoming witticism, that you would rather have one off the wrist instead? Aha! Ha ha! Hee hee! I'm spent. I thank you all, you've been wonderful.

          1. Paul 195

            Re: "...said, I hate things on my wrists..."

            You're spent? Typing one-handed again...?

      3. Sureo

        Re: Half-Hunter

        In my case it would be: reach into pocket, remove eyeglasses, put eyeglasses on, look at whatever on smartwatch, remove eyeglasses, place back in pocket.

      4. Mark 65

        Re: Half-Hunter

        Shaken the traditional watch makers to the core.

        Yep, I can see the likes of Breitling and Tag Heuer just quaking over these gimmicky pieces of shit.

        Call me old fashioned, but I prefer my watch to tell me the time and perhaps the date (although a Casio is likely better at both of these tasks) and if I want it to be fancy I'd look at these sorts of brands. Having a bluetooth connection to my phone because I'm too lazy to get it out of my pocket - not so much. Notifications, meeting alets etc? I prefer to look at what my day holds at the start and use my memory along with a buzz in the pocket (so to speak) to demand my attention when needed. Dick Tracy's "calling all cars" is a step too far.

        1. Philip Lewis

          Re: Half-Hunter

          And yet, TAG has a somewhat successful product in this space.

          Not my TAG of choice I must say, but obviously for some.

    2. Simon Harris

      Re: Seconds out... Round 2

      "Now if someone repackaged it into something like 'Half-Hunter' format then I might buy one."

      I wonder whatever happened to the Runcible phone.

  5. Taegukgi

    And remembering to charge it is a pain

    Totally agree with Woz; my Gear S2 does little more than than the phone (and much less without it). On top of it, charging it every few days is a a real pain. Once charged, it works for about 3 days and I inevitably forget to charge it after that!

    1. DiViDeD

      Re: And remembering to charge it is a pain

      Ah, I had a similar opinion with my Gear S2 Neo. Notifications are a bit useful, if you want to look without getting the phone out of your pocket, and the Health app is brilliant for telling you each day that you didn't do enough exercise. Other than that, not too much once you get past the 'new watch face every day' period.

      But then I discovered that, with the addition of a simple app, I could have a TVBegone+ on my wrist. This more than makes up for the shortcomings. Standing in The Good Guys showroom, watching the TVs, BlueRay Players, and on one memorable occasion, the aircon followed by the instore lights turn off while staff look around in bewilderment is a small bright spot of pleasure in my twilight years.

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: And remembering to charge it is a pain

      I wonder if Trevor Baylis has had a call from Tim Cook yet...

  6. imanidiot Silver badge

    I'd go further than that personally

    Wearables don't afford sufficient advantage to be of use. Full stop. I have yet to encounter any wearable tech that really makes me think it would add much to my daily life.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'd go further than that personally

      You should be careful about such blanket statements. I had chemo last year an it damaged my hearing. I'm not deaf but range is limited and I can't always tell what sounds are. I have a pebble steel. It lasts for about four or five days between charges and I don't miss calls from the Mrs. or my GP (or telemarketers unfortunately) anymore because it's hard to miss the buzzing thing at the end of my arm which is much more discrete than a small disco going off in my trousers or on my desk.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: I'd go further than that personally

        I really like being able to check and screen notifications with a glance at my wrist regardless of where my phone is, and there are plenty of circumstances for me where the phone is not in handy reach and I use notifications a lot. And as you say, it also happens silently - I've had no ring tone enabled for years. Others may not see the benefit, but that's to be expected because we are all different though some people do feel that the centre of the universe can be found at their centre of gravity therefore they will never understand that other people do thing differently, in their mind all smartwatches must be pointless.

        I don't think anyone said they need to be "compelling", because thinking about it, even the smartphone itself isn't compelling. They are just handy little benefits.

        I still wouldn't go for Apple's interpretation though, just a very cheaply acquired Pebble Time does the useful stuff well and for my requirements pisses all over Apple's offering.

        1. Langalf

          Re: I'd go further than that personally

          werdsmith, I use my Pebble exactly the same way and I love it. I never have my phone on ring or even vibrate, because the Pebble provides the notifications in a much less intrusive way, and a quick glance at my wrist tells me what I need to know.

          I have no interest whatsoever in a hulking overpriced smart watch which tries to be an on-wrist smartphone.

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: I'd go further than that personally

        @AC, in your specific use case, yes, it has advantages. For me, at this time, no wearable offers me anything I'd want. My statement wasn't intended as a blanket statement for EVERYONE, but as a blanket statement for MY point of view.

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    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Shady

        Re: I'd go further than that personally

        Wouldn't that be a dongle?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Intelligent systems will mean cars cannot do things like run red lights

    That, like speeding, may actually be a useful action to undertake. For instance, when you can safely do so to avoid the semi-trailer bearing down on you from behind whose breaks have failed and whose driver is alerting you to the fact they cannot stop. Cannot is just never that useful.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Cars

        Just this morning I went through a red light, very carefully and just enough to let the blue light and sirens ambulance past. Luckily I could.

        However, in a future scenario, intelligent traffic light would be aware of approaching ambulance on emergency, and change lights accordingly.

        1. Brenda McViking

          Re: Cars

          However "reasonable" it is, you can still be prosecuted for going through a red light to let an emergency vehicle through.

          A useful site on what you should and shouldn't do with regards to emergency vehicles in the UK:

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Cars

            However "reasonable" it is, you can still be prosecuted for going through a red light to let an emergency vehicle through.

            Yes that's the letter of the law. You also can be prosecuted for picking your nose whilst driving.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: Cars

              Yes that's the letter of the law. You also can be prosecuted for picking your nose whilst driving.

              Unfortunately it is the letter that they usually go by. It might even be a statutory offence, where there is no wiggle room at all. I wouldn't jump a red light, not even for an emergency services vehicle.


            2. Paul 195

              Re: Cars

              Letter or spirit, I know someone who was prosecuted for exactly this.

    2. Steve Todd

      Re: Cars

      @AC - because semi trucks with failed brakes are something we have to contend with on a daily basis? People made that kind of stupid edge case when it came to seatbelt laws also. You stand a much better chance of survival in an accident with a belt than without. There is a small chance that the belt will hinder rather than help, but this is outweighed considerably by the chance of it helping. The same applies here.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cars

        Well, my brother was hit by an out of control semi, his solution was to start knocking down poles on the side of the road to avoid a head-on collision. As it was the car side got skinned, but the passengers all escaped unharmed. The semi did not stop.

        There are lots of edge cases. The more one drives, the more often one meets them. If you have never made a snap decision that caused you to brake the traffic laws, good luck to you. One day you will.

        Seat belts are a slam dunk though. Unless you are a WRC driver or Teddy Kennedy ...

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Cars

      And like a million and one other excuses I've heard, the rumour of such a situation far outweighs the actual scenarios that it's ever occurred.

      "Well, I have to have a car that does 0-60 in X seconds because I might need to accelerate out of trouble..." and so on.

      If you're worried about that:

      a) there's not much you can do.

      b) you likely won't know that's what's happening until far too late.

      c) steering out of the way rather than hoping you can out-accelerate it in a straight line through a red light (and I doubt it could ever STOP you going through a red-light, but merely alert like hell in a way you can override).

      d) it happens so rarely, it's really not worth worrying about.

      e) you cannot account for every other idiot on the road with gadgets.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cars

      you can safely do so to avoid the semi-trailer bearing down on you from behind whose breaks have failed and whose driver is alerting you to the fact they cannot stop.

      Does that happen a lot where you live? You can always think up some obscure scenario, but it is what happens in real life that counts.

      Most drivers who jump red lights do so because they are young and stupid and think that crashes only ever happen to other people.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Cars

        Temporary traffic lights.

        Everyone thinks that they can just slip through on the tail of other traffic around the blind corner, through the one-lane-due-to-roadworks.

        And then that makes the other queue late, so they mostly miss their timing, which means THEY try to jump them too.

        Honestly, we just need a camera on the back of every traffic light, temporary or permanent, for those kinds of idiots.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: Cars

          Like double-declutching, using escape lanes, having to smash a side-window while underwater, and various other scenarios, if I have to wonder about how the hell they happened in the first place, then you're probably not going to put any of your extensive training to use in such a rare, and surprising, scenario.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cars

        It's not the precise rate of occurrence that matters but rather the fatality of the consequence. Why have a a safety switch on the circuit board in my house, I mean the thing has never tripped in 10 years?

    5. Philip Lewis

      Re: Cars

      I cannot up vote this sentiment more than once.

      There are lots of scenarios where breaking the law is the appropriate action, and some where one needs to choose the lesser of two evils - the "I Robot" movie sub-plot.

  8. Mitoo Bobsworth

    I have an idea that ...

    ... if Mr Jobs had been around when the Apple Watch concept was presented, he would have said some thing along the line of -

    "Are you nuts?"

  9. To Mars in Man Bras!

    “We all wore Bluetooth in our ears for about a week,”...

    Er.... no we didn't.

    The only people who've ever worn those Bluetooth headsets in public are complete cocks who are frightened that, otherwise, the rest of the people in Tesco might not realise just what an important and high-flying executive is in their midst —whilst he sadly fills his trolley with 'microwave ready meals for one'.

    1. tekHedd

      Re: “We all wore Bluetooth in our ears for about a week,”...

      Well, actually they're pretty handy when you're making a phone call.

      I think what he really means is "Bluetooth headsets aren't interesting to me because they fail to make a fashion statement and are purely functional."

      1. To Mars in Man Bras!

        Re: “We all wore Bluetooth in our ears for about a week,”...

        *"...Well, actually they're pretty handy when you're making a phone call..."*

        Maybe so. And in the privacy of your own car.

        I was talking about the people who walk round Tesco with them stuck in their lug-holes like Uhuru in a suit. Because they're so damned important to the economy of the nation, they have to be ready to take a phone-call Any time!... Anywhere!

  10. Tony Paulazzo

    The fob: a small pocket for carrying a watch

    Back when watches were too unwieldy to strap around your wrist, wrist watches replaced personal clocks carried around in pockets, the march of progress...

    Data watch: utterly pointless gimmick to take money from... existing customers. When it replaces the phone it might take off, controlled by voice with the ability to send info to any nearby screen or direct to the retina (or maybe a google glass like contraption that you put on when needed and folds away to the size of a credit card after).

    Not just another item that requires daily charging (would've been slightly better with <colour?> eink for battery longevity).

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      The way I read your comment is like this:

      "Data watch: utterly pointless gimmick to take money from... existing customers because I don't see any point in it and it's all about me, here, at the centre of the universe".

      There are many things that I don't see a point in, but others seem to enjoy. I really don't feel the need to tell them that what they are doing it pointless. Because, it's not all about me.

  11. Pseudonymous Diehard

    Network Connection

    He hit the nail on the head there.

    As for functionality...I think less is more with a watch based computer.

    If the watch had its own low speed mobile data connection (GPRS would be enough) and a Pushbullet style app as well as a clock...that'd be perfect.

    Especially if it had a low power e-ink display with backlight toggle.

    All I care about is being able to push my own notifications to it from my google calendar or a quick API call from a script to let me know the script has finished.

    A simple GPS compass might be useful as well.

    Am I right?

    What I dont really need to know is my heart rate.

    Effectively I need is a device that compliments but is not tied to my phone.

    You listening Casio? Simple and low power is what you do...make this. Now!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Network Connection

      >You listening Casio? Simple and low power is what you do...make this. Now!

      Casio have already made some contenders:

      1. a G-Shock with Bluetooth phone notifications etc 1 year battery life

      2. an Android Wear outdoors watch with all the bells and whistles. Normal Android wear battery of a day or two, but can switch to low power mode and last a couple of weeks.

      The trouble with your spec list is you have a low power screen and high power parts such as a cellular radio and GPS. Many people wanting a GPS system (walkers etc) will want some sort of phone, if only for emergencies, so market is small for watch with own cellular radio. Still, you've outlined your own use-case, and shown original thought so have an upvote!

      (And of course a phone is no substitutes for planning and preparation when hiking)

      1. Pseudonymous Diehard

        Re: Network Connection

        The GPS compass idea was a bit of a throwaway. I was kinda thinking if climbing mountains / piloting a rescue boat / coasteering / skiing / pretty much any extreme sport that requires locational awareness is your thing you might not want to use both hands on a phone in case you fall off of what you're clinging to / your attention is taken away for too long. Basically where a quick glance at your wrist at where the arrow is pointing is enough.

        Im aware of the G shock with bluetooth...its weakness is the bluetooth requirement. All bluetooth does is shorten the life of both devices. I want my watch to be independent.

      2. Jimbo 6

        "a phone is no substitute for planning and preparation when hiking"

        Or when performing any activity at all, I postulate.

        (Obviously my view varies from that of the un-hosed millions, who apparently believe that planning and preparation are no substitutes for a shiny gadget.)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Matter of personal taste

    I bought an iWatch recently after the price drop, and I have found it very useful, certainly the calendar and app notifications, airline notifications, and to a lesser extent the fitness apps.

    Yes the battery life isn't fantastic but I put all my devices on charge at night anyway and it tends to last about 3 days without heavy use anyway, and you can always look at your phone at the end of the day if it does die (not happened to me yet), just when traveling looking at your wrist is a lot more convenient (and depending on the location safer) than getting out your phone.

    Over time the comms situation will sort itself out, as will the on board storage, until you have a device like this on the market you don't tend to see much development, but if you have a product that sells then companies will spend money on further development to keep the purchases going.

    On the subject of old pocket watches just read recently that the little pocket in Jeans pockets were made for old style fob pocket watches because that's what Levi Strauss's customers (think cowboys) used at the time, tried a reproduction pocket watch I had and it fits perfectly, who would have guessed?

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Matter of personal taste

      I find not carrying three gadgets safer when travelling.

      Less to lose.

      Less to steal.

      Less to advertise that you're rolling in it.

      Honestly, I would think "Apple Watch" within seconds of seeing someone with a big chunky watch, which needs the iPhone to work. Whether or not you can nick them, you know the guy's got a large hole burning itself in his wallet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Matter of personal taste

        It's actually not that big and chunky, some of the Android ones are a lot bigger, and honestly if you think £300 quid is a lot for a watch you obviously haven't been paying attention to most jewelers,

        You're talking just the watch and a phone, same as any other smart watch and I've got the phone on me anyway, don't know what the third device is that you seem to think you need

        Mine you can only see if I look at it, it's usually under the sleeve of my coat, and honestly very few people I work with have even noticed it's an Apple watch even if they are standing next to me.

    2. Pedigree-Pete

      Re: Matter of personal taste

      I have a pocket watch. It doesn't fit in any of my Jeans "Zippo" pockets. Maybe they made them smaller when pocket watches went out and Zippos came in.. Who knows? PP

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Matter of personal taste

        "I have a pocket watch. It doesn't fit in any of my Jeans "Zippo" pockets."

        May well vary from brand to brand, I tried it with a pair of Next jeans and the pocket watch fitted fine, but that little nugget of information came direct from Levi Strauss (the company not the man, I suspect he's no longer giving interviews lol) so I'm guessing it's correct.

  13. ntevanza

    It'll all end in tears

    Loving the story the panicked teenager came up with. That and the fact he crashed in Woz's wife points to the likelihood of an improbability field. I'd watch that guy/gal.

    Woz is basically saying most gadgets are useless but he buys them anyway, sight unseen, because they're shiny. It has always worried me that some material portion of economic growth depends on producing useless shit that lies idle.

    1. Andy A

      Re: It'll all end in tears

      'Twas ever thus.

      Check the back of the kitchen cupboards and count the number of "indispensable" gadgets which have been sitting there since the week after they were purchased.

      Go on. Who uses that Sodastream, yoghurt maker, bread maker, panini press, spiraliser.....

      1. Synonymous Howard

        Re: It'll all end in tears

        Have you seen the latest Sodastream adverts? They are now being marketed as a way of making 'sparkling water' without the need to 'lug heavy bottles from the supermarket' .. hmm

        Agree that specific kitchen gadgets are useless compared to a good set of knives and pans.

      2. Tom 38

        Re: It'll all end in tears

        Meh. I like making tasty curries from scratch, and whilst I could finely chop my onions, and grind my spices in a pestle and mortar, the £25 I spent on a mini food processor and a specialised spice grinder definitely is worth it in terms of my time and effort. My (retired) parents make fresh bread overnight each day, easier and tastier than driving 20 minutes to the nearest shop/baker.

        I don't have them now, but we definitely loved the sodastream and our toasted sandwich maker when were kids (the 80s equivalent of the panini press).

        If you use it, it is useful. If you get it because you think it might be useful or it will change your lifestyle, it definitely sits in the drawer, doubly so if they are gifts. I don't and probably never will make buckwheat smoothies for breakfast, my sister swears by them and so we all got them as gifts over the years. Mine has never even come out of the box..

  14. Mike Shepherd

    "...realise he left his iPhone at home"

    Oh, the humanity!

  15. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Human-controlled cars will one day be driven only on special tracks;

    Cars will predominantly be semi-autonomous because human intervention to avoid accidents will remain necessary for the foreseeable future;"

    Maybe it's the autonomous cars that should be on special tracks.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      We have those.

      They're called...


      1. Synonymous Howard

        or even Trams

      2. captain veg Silver badge

        Yes. The get-in-it-and-drive-it bit is what makes private cars different from public transport. And don't bleat about going where you want when you want, I'm including taxis in my definition.

        Honestly, why would anyone pay serious money for a vehicle over which they had no control? It would make much more sense to get on a big scheduled one or hail a small on-demand one.


  16. Tom 7

    From a rough and ready survey of my contacts

    I'd say magic watch use lasts about two weeks max with very occasional sunday outings for a bike trip or marathon or other fun run which offers some facility for them in BIG LETTERS.

  17. Christoph

    Success of the Apple II

    What made the Apple II a hit was not replacing cartridge game machines - others could do that.

    What made it a hit in the first place, and distinguished it from the hundreds of other machines around at the time, was that it was the only machine that would run Visicalc, the first spreadsheet.

    This was an utter game changer for accountants (who are the people who decide where the money is spent). They used to draw up accounts by hand - and redo the whole thing every time something changed, or was missed out, or was deleted.

    If you showed an accountant Visicalc and then stood between him and the nearest computer store, you would have an accountant-shaped hole clear through you.

    After that, a company that needed a computer would already have Apple IIs and experience with them.

    1. L05ER

      Re: Success of the Apple II

      that was a "useful" case... not a compelling one.

      apple doesn't hold on to market share with useful... plenty of others will do that for a lot cheaper. why do you think the only industry that still clings to macs are creative/designer types? they're compelled to use design oriented products.

      1. Philip Lewis

        Re: Success of the Apple II

        @ L05ER

        An appropriate epithet?

        Anyway, VISICalc WAS extremely compelling, its value could be measured and those paying for the Apple IIs in business knew how to do the sums. If you weren't there at the time, it is hard to communicate what a massive game changer VISICalc was. It spawned other and better products of the genre, and made billions for many people, while fundamentally changing the way lost of business tasks were done. VISICalc changed the world and the Apple II was a facilitator.

        The PC was to come later, and very, very much later came the Apple hardware we know today, where the products are not only very functional, but rather stylish as well. Back in the Apple II days, Apple was a nerd company still, with the influence of the Woz and the nerdy engineers still front and centre.

    2. Philip Lewis

      Re: Success of the Apple II

      I bothered to read the comments before posting this varey factoid ... you are correct. VISICalc was a game changer!

  18. scrubber


    I carry around 20 KWh* of unused, unwanted energy. Why can't a wearable tap into that and stay charged forever as well as improving my health and looks? We could even incorporate a USB port and I could charge all my devices from my abundant energy reserves**.

    * 2 kg fat * 35KJ/gram / 3600 (secs->hours)

    ** Should be careful how I phrase that or the US might invade me.

  19. Unep Eurobats

    “an expense that bought me a few extra nice ties in my life”


  20. Richard Parkin

    Hearing aids

    Aren't wristwatches and spectacles wearable tech and if you say it has to be electronic what about hearing aids?

  21. Stuart Frost

    You don't need your phone or an internet connection to use Apple pay on the watch so it seems that the great Woz hasn't a clue what he's talking about !

  22. Spoonsinger

    Umm, what's probably needed is...

    some sort of salesman type character to make them "compelling".

    "compelling" and "useful" is sort of different. It's a a subtle distinction but if you are trying to sell a "compelling" idea you do have to have the will and motivation to do it, a "useful" idea is easier to sell.

  23. jason 7

    Also not convinced at the moment.

    The few folks I know with an Apple Watch just try desperately to justify their purchase by demonstrating how much useless and unnecessary info the watch tells them about their day. You can tell by the look in their eyes that even they are not 100% convinced by their purchase.

  24. Uberseehandel

    I gave myself a real treat the other day

    I bought a slim elegant rose gold and tan leather watch with a white face. It is elegant, and useful, it tells the time.

    I prefer to have devices do what they are designed to do. So a camera for photographs, a watch for telling the time, a computer for computer stuff.

    I'll admit that a tablet makes a good media centre, so I have fewer radios than previously. The tablet, with GPS, makes great navigation tool for sailing.

    The Swiss Army knife approach to devices usually means everything is compromised

  25. tekHedd

    Left his phone at home?

    What kind of person leaves their phone at home? Someone who has a full time assistant to make thier phone calls and a driver? Someone really, really old?

    I realize I'm a geek, but I don't know anyone, well, no really not anyone, not even my mom who is over 70 and a piano teacher, who goes out and doesn't take their phone, much less "I forgot my phone, which is also my primary way of paying for things." Why do we care about Woz's opinion on mobile devices when clearly he's such an atypical user?

    I mean, he's right, but in this case he's just sorta stating the obvious. What good is a super-expensive, ugly watch that can barely, if you're lucky, tell time by itself? Surely the large majority of us who see the total uselessness of the Apple Watch as anything but an faux-ostentatious fashion statement with a very short half-life can't have been totally missed during the design phase of this project.

    In other words: "Duh."

  26. jsk

    Um, Woz, you do realize that if you don't have a network connection, you can't "call John" anyway, right?

    1. Tom 38

      Sure you can. The set of locations where you get data signal is definitely a proper subset of the set of locations where you get phone signal.

  27. L05ER


    normally i agree with Woz...

    but i think he's expecting too much out of a watch. these things will never be stand alone PC-level devices... nor should they be.

    just like you don't code on a tablet... you'll never really game on your watch.

  28. Unicornpiss

    I can't really disagree with the Woz..

    But I'd also add that when if I'm going to wear a watch, I don't want to have to recharge it every day or every other day. If the battery life can be made to be at least a week, I'll bite.

    I'd also say that the Apple ][ was a great success, and I have the utmost respect for the world's first mainstream color computer, but it would have been even more popular if it had included a live text/program editor like Commodore machines had from the beginning. I had a PET as my first computer and was amazed that early Fanbois had to retype lines of code instead of just navigating with cursor keys, replacing characters, and hitting "Return". I'm sure there will be some down votes for this, but this was such an intuitive feature that it may have helped pave the way for word processors to become more mainstream.

  29. rtb61

    The only wearable that will ever be acceptable is glasses on a leash. Basically light weight glasses that provide a user controllable altered reality extension, with close ear speakers (not in or on, just close). Connected by wire to in pocket hardware. Add a couple on rings to your fingers, first joint index and pointer, both hands and being able to locate those relative to the glasses.

    There is the useful wearable technology, until then candy bar smart phones suffice, although the LG VR glass add on certainly does expand the use of smart phones to full entertainment device, chilling out, lying back, enjoy deep content immersion.

  30. Medixstiff

    "Human-controlled cars will one day be driven only on special tracks"

    Good as long as the idiots doing 15K's less than the limit are in auto cars, I'm fine with that, not all of us are idiot drivers that don't care about anyone else on the road but ourselves.

    Plus make sure there's some twisty bits on the tracks please, for some fun.

    BTW where the hell are the flying cars were were promised in the 70's?

    1. Ropewash


      "BTW where the hell are the flying cars were were promised in the 70's?"

      We've had those for ages. They're called helicopters and we're not allowed to fly them to go get groceries for the same reason we won't be getting any other form of flying car. Because people are too dumb to dodge powerlines in 3D traffic.

      Beer because driving drunk is hard enough without the Z axis.

  31. Paul 195

    Primary use case for smart watch seems to be, saves you from taking your phone out of your pocket. Until they become unobtrusive (don't require regular charging, not delicate flowers that can't be dropped or immersed in water), and somewhat cheaper, the cost-benefit analysis weighs rather heavily against them for most people. From the comments there are obviously some with special requirements who will find them useful, but the rest of us are probably with Mr Wozniak.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think there are 2 kinds of commentators on here :

      1. Apple device I hate Apple, Android is perfection, an Apple product is overpriced rubbish no matter what it is.

      2. Can't understand why anyone wants a smart watch because I don't have one, and haven't tried one, an ordinary 1950's era wrist watch and my old Nokia 660 should be good enough for anyone.

  32. MachDiamond Silver badge


    Steve W's nixie tube watch is way cooler than the iWatch.

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