A broken Watch: This Apple Watch reporting isn't even right twice a day


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The Macalope is sure there are kinds of reporting that Business Insider is good at. He’s drawing a complete blank on what they might be, but they probably exist. Right?

Farm production reporting? Cat up a tree? Dog bites man? Dog bites man because the man’s a Business Insider writer and screw that guy?

Well, whatever it is, it’s not the reporting of technical details.

“The Apple Watch Seems Alarmingly Complicated” (indirect link and tip o’ the antlers to weid1)

Remember before the iPhone came out how a whole bunch of people were saying it was never going to work? No? OK, then let’s rewrite all those pieces about the Watch.

Apple released WatchKit—its software development tool for Apple Watch—on Tuesday, and one thing sticks out like a sore thumb: there are a lot of ways to interact with it.

This might be a fine thing to report (turns out it’s not, really), but Business Insider’s Sam Colt isn’t even actually “reporting” it. He’s just rewriting the piece by Nilay Patel at The Verge that he links to.

Here’s Patel’s conclusion:

One of the best things about the iPod when it first came out was explaining how it worked—it was so simple, and people figured it out so fast. Same with the iPhone and iPad. You get the feeling that won’t be the case with the Apple Watch.

Now here’s Colt’s:

Apple is known for making devices that are easy for normal people to figure out. Think about the iPod’s scroll wheel, or the on-screen keyboard with the iPhone that magically just seemed to work. That sounds like it might not be the case with the Apple Watch.

The Macalope has a great business idea: you just copy the entire text of articles written elsewhere, use an online translator to translate them into Croatian and then back into English. Then post them with a link to the original under a really salacious headline. No one will realize it’s done with “one neat trick” (plagiarism). C’mon, you guys, we’ll make millions.

Note Colt’s use of a favorite silly pundit saw: thing Apple was never really that great at is suddenly “magical” because it helps the narrative. “As we all know, MobileMe worked perfectly but not so with iCloud!” Colt must be the first person in the history of the world to use the phrase “magically just seemed to work” to describe the iOS keyboard. “EVERYONE LOVES THE IOS KEYBOARD,” man shouts over the sound of millions of people complaining about the iOS keyboard.

Somewhere inside the Macalope’s head, a tiny Montgomery Scott is yelling into an intercom “SHE CANNA TAKE NO MORE!” as his brain spirals into Psi 2000.

Of course, most of the interactions Patel lists and Colt helpfully re-lists so you don’t have to sully yourself by going to the site that actually compiled the interactions are also iPhone interactions. And there are iPhone interactions that aren’t on the list. However, the iPhone is simple while the Watch is complicated.

That SEOeuvre under Colt’s belt, it was time to quote an anonymous developer’s misunderstanding of the development kit.

“A Developer Told Us About A Major Flaw With The Apple Watch” (indirect link and tip o’ the antlers to Cameron Twigden)

Huh. The Macalope would have thought the Business Insider style guide demanded “Major Flaw” be in all caps.

“The watch and the phone are constantly talking,” an iOS developer who has used WatchKit told Business Insider. “The code actually sits on your phone. Only the [user interface] elements are on the watch.”

Uh, yeah, that’s because that’s just the initial release. A release next year will allow developers to create native Watch apps. The original version of Colt’s piece was written as if this was the way it would always work so “Major Flaw.” He’s since added a paragraph noting that’s not the case.

In fact, our source was surprised by how iPhone-centric the Apple Watch’s operating system is.

Super surprising. Until you realize that Apple has already said the Watch requires an iPhone. In which case it is not so surprising. In other words, if you know things, it is not so surprising. When you just rush to publish “APPLE FLAW!!!” pieces, however, facts might be surprising. It’s weird how that works so it’s understandable that Business Insider hasn’t gotten it down yet.

“It’s interesting how little the watch does; it seems that it literally does nothing except [user interface] work.”

That doesn’t bode well for the Apple Watch.

All Apple products conveniently ship in pre-fail mode.

Presumably, of course, Apple’s own apps are native and native apps from developers will come some time next year. Is it a bit of a letdown that developers can’t make native apps right now? Sure. Is it a “major flaw”? No.

Business Insider technical reporting motto: we literally did no research and this is what we found out.

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