As if anyone wears a watch these days.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 31 years

Apple Watch

Courtesy of Apple
You can say this about Apple: It took guts to make a Mickey Mouse watch and sell it for $350 and up. Actually, this is just the Mickey Mouse theme, one of many you can use to make the watch look different. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch shows none of the design ingenuity Apple used to be famous for.

Apple's 'iWatch' isn't an iWatch, and it looks like something you'd win at a carnival

September 21, 2014

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, The Post-Standard

Apple reached into a Cracker Jack box this month and pulled out a toy. It's a watch.

As if anyone other than Apple CEO Tim Cook wears watches these days.

But give Apple credit. At least its new watch tells the correct time. As long as the battery is charged, that is. And Apple's not saying how long that is supposed to be.

That's just one of the oddities in the company's unveiling of what it calls the Apple Watch -- no "iWatch" this time. Like Apple Pay, also shown off for the first time (more on that in a trice), there's no "i" to be found anywhere. I'm guessing the company wants its name spoken more often.

But that might be in the form of expletives, if first impressions mean anything. The watch looks like something you'd win at a carnival, and it uses no design wizardry at all -- no curved-glass face, no super-tiny camera, nothing that would make you say "I've got to have that watch!"

Especially since the watch starts at $350 and won't do anything unless you have an iPhone in your pocket or purse. The Apple Watch is a sort of satellite of the iPhone. So $350 is just what you pay for the moon. The planet? Well, you know how much iPhones set you back.

At least you'll have a chance to impress your boss with a bad-boy iPhone when you show off your new watch. Apple would love to see you pair your bling-a-ling with the new iPhone 6, which comes in two new sizes -- a not-too-shabby 4.7 inches for the normal version and a Samsung-baiting 5.5 inches for the Big Boy, which unfortunately is just called the 6 Plus. (Where's Apple's old sense of humor?) Apple's still selling the iPhone 5, too.

Nothing about the iPhone 6 makes it unique -- Android phones come in even bigger sizes and have features Apple hasn't matched -- but the camera in the iPhone 6 is a delight, designed to beat the lens off any other camera, phone or not. I'd almost buy an iPhone just to get the camera.

"Almost" isn't very much praise, I know. But it's a whoop and a holler better than what I'm going to say about Apple Pay, a new credit payment method that lets you leave your credit cards at home when shopping. It's an e-wallet, in other words. But the "e" part of it might as well stand for "egregious," because Apple Pay works only with an iPhone 6. And, Apple says, with the Apple Watch. Which of course only works with ... oh, you get the point.

I suppose I was hoping Apple would realize it needed to start playing fair a year or so ago, when Android phones started outselling Apple iPhones. Everybody in the business knows we need a good e-wallet payment system, one that works with phones the rest of us can afford. But there's always next year.