Keep­ing time?

CityPress - - Trend­ing - Gar­reth.van­niek­erk@city­

HAPPY COU­PLE Ap­ple iWatch Sport 38mm R5 899 from What­ever an­i­mos­ity ex­isted be­tween the iWatch and me dis­ap­peared (for the mo­ment) when Siri, Ap­ple’s charm­ing “in­tel­li­gent as­sis­tant”, trans­lated my voice record­ing per­fectly into a text for the first time.

Our mo­ment came when I was driv­ing to an in­ter­view and I needed to let the per­son I was meet­ing know I would be late. I quickly called out for Siri in a panic, as though she was sit­ting next to me in the pas­sen­ger seat.

“Siri, I’d like to send a mes­sage.” She beeped faith­fully a sec­ond later from my wrist – sig­nalling she was ready. Like a spy, I spoke to­wards the watch, clutch­ing the steer­ing wheel while try­ing to nav­i­gate through New­town traf­fic.

“I’m go­ing to be late. Don’t panic,” I said. Then the wear­able de­vice took my words and sent them from my wrist to my in­ter­vie­wee. The per­son replied with a thumbs up emoji, which I could see from the steer­ing wheel and so, re­lieved, I slowed down and drove like a hu­man be­ing again.

I had also been us­ing the new iPhone 6s that week and, to­gether, they’re a match made in gad­get heaven. The big­ger screen, bet­ter front and rear cam­eras, faster pro­cess­ing speed and in­cred­i­bly sen­si­tive “3-D touch” im­prove­ments make it a bet­ter de­vice than its pre­de­ces­sor.

But by far the most use­ful up­grade is the im­prove­ments made to the fin­ger­print ID, which I just fobbed off as a nov­elty af­ter a bad ex­pe­ri­ence with a com­pet­ing brand. I do have to ex­plain, how­ever, that my bliss came to an end when the iWatch died on me for the first time. I was run­ning with­out a worry in the world and look­ing for­ward to get­ting back to my phone and see­ing just how many calo­ries I had burnt and how far I had run us­ing the sim­ple Ac­tiv­ity app. But with­out warn­ing, the watch just went dead. The bat­tery was flat. I couldn’t even use it to tell the time.

Sud­denly, the thing was heavy on my wrist, a dead weight dur­ing my al­ready ex­haust­ing run. I hadn’t planned for the 13-hour life span of the bat­tery the day be­fore and now my iWatch was just an­other de­vice lim­ited to the amount of time you charged it for. My con­nec­tion be­tween the de­vice and mo­bil­ity had been sev­ered, tak­ing with it its use to me.

It brought back a story I had read about the his­tory of the per­pet­ual cal­en­dar in watch­mak­ing – one of the most use­ful and ro­man­tic com­pli­ca­tions in horol­ogy de­vel­oped by Louis Breguet, the Steve Jobs of the 1700s.

It’s in­cred­i­bly com­pli­cated, but in short it al­lows any watch with the mech­a­nism to tell the date au­to­mat­i­cally, in­clud­ing dur­ing leap years. Some of them, like the IWC Da Vinci Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar Chrono­graph, can con­tinue do­ing this with only one turn of the watch crown ev­ery 500 years.

It makes the pal­try 13-hour life span of the iWatch feel more like a step back in time than the fu­ture of time-telling.

The Ap­ple iPhone 6s (above) and Ap­ple iWatch

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