Finally, here it is. What you've all been waiting for. The love track of our Road Trip

 

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This is it. Day three. One more state to traverse, along with a quick visit to the ACT (which doesn't really count as a whole state) to drop off Rohan.

Last night was our longest sleep yet at 5 hours. So recharged, in body and gizmo's, we're back on the road. There is a definite grumpiness this morning. Despite the relative comfort last night, the long hours with only each other for company, and mind numbing roads, are starting to take their toll. We need stimulants. Caffeine. Stat!!

There's also the hilarious situation of the Garmin GPS quarreling with Google Maps. For the first time this trip we were countermanding the driver. And he really, really didn't appreciate that.

It's wonders what coffee can do though. So with a full tank, and a final wrangle with the Garmin, we were headed towards Coburn. Which was a mistake. My mistake.

When planning the trip, I wanted to head via Wagga Wagga. For one thing it's quicker, and the roads less busy. But the options Justin presented to me this morning, were via Mildura (the Wagga route) or Parkes. For some reason in my fugue state I thought that Mildura was in SA, and I didn't want to go back there. (No offence SA) So we opted for Parkes. Ah well. What's another hour between friends?

Wilcannia was the town that promised breakfast and shift change “BP any right, second left.” But as it turns out, not so much. The BP was a single fuel bowser, a corrugated shed, and not even a bathroom. We did meet four touring motorbikers, all on single cylinder 650's in mud splattered rain gear. They were telling tales of overturned 4WD's and a day of offs in the slick conditions, and I started getting a little concerned. Until I realised they were describing their ride across country on dirt roads in the rain. Nothing to worry about here lads.

We did stop at the Emmdale Roadhouse for breakfast, which despite all appearances to the contrary (“No Tresspassing, YOU Keep Out” signs; locked toilets, etc) was really welcoming and hospitable. And joy of joys, a mug of hot, loose leaf tea, with a bacon and sausage roll. Heaven!

Can I say that the roads in outback NSW are terrible. Lumpy, and bumpy, with potholes and missing edges. It takes everything to keep the car on the road, and there's no way you'd drive this in anything with sporty suspension.

As previous driver, Justin was in the Nest pushing some z's, and Rohan was my co-pilot. When, for the first time this trip we hit bingo fuel. The range counted down to 40 kms, then announced “Low Fuel.” Which, an unknown distance from Coburn (we later figured out 25 kms), and no phone signal, was a touch disconcerting.

If the number of towns we passed in SA gave the impression of increased population, NSW is positively heaving. Animals, both wild (crows, eagles, roos, emus) and domestic (goats, sheep, cows, and dogs) litter the countryside. Not only are there more frequent towns, but there are residences, farmhouses, constantly within view. Fences eloquently describe land ownership in a way that's conspicuously absent in the other states.

Traffic has changed from trucks and roadtrains to utes, caravanners, 4WD's, and cars. In WA you could drive for hours without needing to overtake. In SA, perhaps 30 mins to an hour. In NSW it's practically Picadilly Circus.

Now it's just head for home. Although the GPS plays us for a fool again. Rohan busted the drive from Coburn to Narromine. Then Justin took a shift. With the GPS pointed at Harrison (Canberra), we end up all the way over in Dubbo, and still pointing away from Parkes down the Mitchell Highway. This may be a faster route, but is clearly further. So, yet another routing mistake adding still more time to the drive. At this rate Sydney or Bust, is looking rather like “Bust.”

But how can you cross Australia without stopping at “The Dish” for a quick photo? RIght, you can't. So we did.

Parochial tourism sated, we leave the Dish as the sun is setting, and our game becomes positively silly. “It's 5 o'clock, and it's like we have to drive to Parkes still.” I know. Ridiculous.

We decide to switch from the Garmin, that seems to weight main roads over B roads despite tens and hundreds of kilometer impact, to the iPhone. Now that we have pretty consistent data, Google maps is quicker and more specific to our needs.

This of course takes us down the scariest road yet. Not much more than a single lane width strip of tar, if you could call it that, through roo country, at the worst time of the day. Too dark to see anything, and too light for headlights to make a difference. With no cats eyes, reflector strips, or even painted road markings, just keeping the car on the road is challenging. Thankfully there's no traffic to contend with. For the first time in my life I'm actually looking forward to the Hume Highway.

Before too long, we're in Parkes for our last dinner, and first Macca's (McDonalds) of the trip. Then it's Yass where we bid a final farewell to Rohan. His wonderful better half, Karen, has packed their two kids in the back of the car to drive 30 minutes and collect him. She tolerates our crazy video with a touch of bemusement before packing him in the car, and heading out.

I take the final 3 hours shift from Yass back home to Sydney and for the first time in damn near 4000 kms, we're on an actual motorway. Twin lane, dual carriageway, cats eyes, smooth tar, the whole bit. With the car on cruise at 110kph we literally glide home. Effortless. Imagine the whole trip was like this, as it would be in North America, or Europe?

But we've done it. We've actually driven from Perth to Sydney in 3 days. The car is parked in my driveway with an additional 4250 kms on the clock. I've literally immersed myself in the Jeep, and I love her.

And the Roadtrip? As expected.

Epic!

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Three and a half hours sleep is simply far too few by anyone's standard. Especially after a fractured 4 hours the previous night and over 1400 kms of driving country roads. But there you go, it is what it is and we have almost another 3000 still to our destination.

Border Village is pretty much what's promised on the can. A roadhouse, petrol station, couple of backpacker dorms, some prefab cabins, and a graded RV park. The showers take $2 coins, but for that give you 10 mins of luxurious, piping hot water, worth at least ten times that.

Minutes from the border are the cliffs marking the head of the Great Australian Bight. The sky is sullen, and frames massive rollers that seem to come straight from Antarctica. It is truly beautiful in a harsh, stark kind've way. If this was Game of Thrones, we'd be in the Iron Islands.

Then what most people come here for, the much famed Nullarbor Plain. Which is ultimately uneventful. Yes, it exudes a strange beauty, devoid of trees. But nothing arduous by car standards, within 2 hours we're at the settlement of Nullarbor with the plain behind us. Little more than a blip in the drive. Fuel for body and vehicle, photo ops, change drivers, rinse, wash repeat. And on.

Traffic on the road is sparse, albeit still frequent, and road trains still threaten to blow the bonnet off as they rush past. Fun fact: Everything you posses has been transported by truck at least once in it's lifecycle. That includes the materials used to build your house, anything planted in your garden, what you wear, drive, listen to, and watch. So it's no wonder that one of the only two major arteries across the country is dominated by trucks.

Already South Australia feels more populated than Western Australia. We pass country town, after country town. All marked with massive grain silos, and railway junctions. Unlike NSW, where the fast arterial roads are choked by driving through the middle of village 50kph zones, or towns are threatened by bypasses that skirt them miles away; here the major road runs alongside the villages, ensuring traffic flow, but within a single block for easy access.

It's not until Penong in the afternoon that I realise I totally missed taking a shot in Ceduna, our half-way mark for the trip. Another fun fact: The quarantine station for controlling fresh fruit into SA is Ceduna. That's 500 klicks from either border. Insane!! We get checked by a friendly quarantine agent, but one look inside the Jeep at the three of us, and he laughs and waves us through. Nothing fresh I here I guess.

In the afternoon we pop into Wirrulla looking for a feed, but after driving down depressing, deserted roads, and popping our heads into an equally deserted hotel pub, we decide to press on. Maybe it s because it's ANZAC Day, or maybe everyone just heads to the Big Smoke on weekends, but despite the increased number of towns, the whole state just seems empty and forlorn. We end up down the road at Poochera at in interesting little Roadhouse, complete with the obligatory rickety horse wagon, and bizarre statue of a Dragon Ant. Yep. Crazy South Australians.

At about 7pm we turn into the town of Iron Knob. How could you pass up a photo opportunity in a place with a name like that? And if we thought Wirrulla was deserted, Iron Knob is a ghost town. 7pm on a holiday week-end and there are no lights on, houses are dark, and nothing's open on the Main Street. It's positively post-apocalyptic. So onwards.

Port Augusta for a fill. Then suddenly for the first time in over almost 2500 kms there are hills. And, holy carp, corners!!

Time for our second night of roo baiting. But, despite the odd sprinkle, the weather, not to mention the roads, make for far more visibility and a more relaxed drive than last night. Like last night, a 4WD overtakes us. Unlike last night, however, there's no worry about fuel, and we only see one kangaroo in 300kms. Also, the Prado that overtakes us is traveling too fast to keep up.

At midnight SA time we get to Cockburn and the NSW border. Another 45kms and we're in Broken Hill. Fun fact: Broken Hill has a population of 18,000. So is bigger than Port Augusta. Who knew?

The GPS takes us around the houses and down a dodgy alleyway, and before you know it we have police lights in our rearview mirror. “Evenin' lads, have you had anything to drink?” Which is arguably a reasonable question to ask the driver of a WA registered Jeep, that has just turned a dogleg into a dodgy alley at midnight on ANZAC Day. “Not since Perth a couple of days ago.” “Righto,” he replies warily, “count to ten please.”

And then, just like that we were at the Desert Sand Motor In, bantering about who was going to share the double bed (Justin and I). Laughing at Justin who had a freezing shower (operator error) and charging countless electronic devices.

Then, blissful sleep.

2 days. 2 states. Boom!

Epic!

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Our first full day for the Roadtrip begins early. Too early. With far too little caffeine. And if pitching the tent was hilarious, folding was ludicrous.

It went down. We rolled it neatly around the poles. And it didn’t fit the bag. Like what? The poles are the size of the bag, the tent is rolled at the size of the poles, and yet it’s still a couple of inches too long.

Sigh.

Back to the drawing board.

Unfold. Refold. And yep. We have it. Done.

Then the 3D jigsaw puzzle to get everything back in the car and head out.

7:12am. Not too shoddy.

First stop is Merredin, a couple of hundred kms east. Here Rohan treats us to a Big Breakfast that puts to shame pretty much every breakfast I’ve ever had on the road, in any country, in a lifetime of travel. The only adjective that comes to mind is “lashings,” as in “lashings of bacon…”

We hit the IGA (supermarket) to stock up on essentials like water, fruit, vegetables, salads, and washing detergent, chocolate and chips.

Finally we leave at 11:45. A big hit to the day, that changes our ETA in Eucla from 8:40pm to 10:30pm. Time to hustle.

The roads are straight. Long. And straight. And today is a double demerits day in WA. So the cruise control is set for 110 and its drive, drive, drive.

The Jeep slowly transforms to something that resembles an NSA surveillance van. Window mounted phone, GPS, GoPro, SPOT GPS Tracker, and in the rear, yet more action cams. There are also laptops, tablets, more phones, headphones, and battery packs to keep everything running.

The routine is roughly every 2 hours we rotate clockwise. The driver gets into the “Nest:” a comfortable space on the rear seat behind the passenger amongst the luggage. When there’s signal, this is the best place to get stuff done – conference calls, email, Facebook, blogging, Instagram and the rest of our connected lives. This is also the best place to rest – reading, writing, editing, listening to personal audio, and of course sleeping.

Initially I was concerned about comfort, space in the rear seat for an adult; but over 4 hours in the Nest has totally shifted my perspective. We all look forward to getting into the Nest, there is plenty of legroom. More than most flights I’ve taken recently

The rested driver rotates to co-pilot. Responsible for navigation, photo/video, food and drink, and keeping the driver alert.

Co-pilot becomes driver. They make the call on speed, overtaking, stopping for stretch, fuel, and photo opps, and source for the sound system. One of the unwritten rules is “no backseat driving” although this is tempered with “Everyone should call out risks, even the obvious.” The way it works is not to direct the driver, but definitely to shout out everything that could pose a risk, like a change in speed limit as you come into a town, or hard to see traffic at an intersection.

It’s a great system, that gets better over time as we become comfortable with each other’s driving styles.

As a vehicle, the Jeep keeps on surprising. The sound system rocks, the seats are super comfortable, even in the back which I wasn’t expecting. In fact this is the first time since my teens that I’ve spent more than a couple of hours in the back seat of a car.

As a driver the Wrangler is unexpectedly nimble. Visibility is superb. Even filled to the gunwales. And the electronics brilliant. Telemetry for everything from compass direction to engine systems, km specific driving range to tyre pressure.

We take a driver change break at Boorabbin, site of the 2007 bush fire in this area that tragically killed 3 truckers. A silent testament to how even with our technological advances, just how dwarfed we are by forces of nature.

The late arvo stop that substitutes for lunch is at Widgiemooltha. Home of the Golden Eagle Nugget. I know, right! Still, 530 kms down and only 800 or so to go today. Here’s where start a crazy little game where someone calls out the time, and then a Sydney-to-Destination equivalent. Like “it’s 5 and we’re about to drive to Ballina.” Yep. “Righto.”

One of our original aims was to avoid driving at dawn, dusk, and after dark because of the risk of a roo strike. Yeah, well with a 15 hour drive day, in autumn, that was never going to work really. I drove with the setting sun in my rearview mirrors and before long it was pitch black. And here’s where the work really started. Driving through intermittent showers, on a greasy, lumpy, country road, watching for Roos, that were everywhere. Anxiety racked up exponentially with oncoming traffic, as you had to dip lights creating an area of darkness between the extent of the headlights and the oncoming vehicle. Mostly oncoming vehicles are roadtrains; double and treble articulated lorries up to 100m long, that don’t slow down for anything, and rock the Jeep like a storm tossed barque.

By the time Rohan is driving we have further to go than range left in the fuel tank. We’re not overly worried, as there’s a couple of towns between us and Eucla, either for a fill or a to call it a night. But one by one we find petrol stations closed. This really is remote country. Comparing the drive by distance to a similar drive in the U.S. or Europe is entirely ridiculous. There you’re on 6 to 12 lane motorways, without the threat of animal strikes, and 24 hour servos dotted everywhere.

But now we slow right down to about 80. Mostly because of the animal threat, but an unintended consequence is to dramatically improve fuel consumption, and pretty soon the distance to go is reducing quicker than our range. Then we’re blessed by what can only be our guardian angels. We’d noticed headlights in the rearview mirror creeping up on us for about 45 mins, when they finally overtake. Talk about blessed relief. It’s a Toyota Landcruiser with massive bullbar, even bigger spots, towing a big off-road camper-trailer. With them in front we speed up. An extra set of daylight bright spotlights, not to mention eyes, 100m ahead; coupled with the knowledge that their car could reasonably take a hit pretty much unscathed, gives us welcome relief.

We both pull into Cocklebiddy looking to change drivers and fill up, and we meet our saviours: Rick and Sue are moving to Adelaide from Perth to be closer to family, as Rick is chronically ill. They’d had to spend the day in and out of Norseman to ensure their settlement went through. This had put a day’s dent in their intinerary, so they were pushing through as far as they could overnight.

The fuel bowser is closed at Cocklebiddy, so we pull back onto the Great Eastern Highway with me in the driver seat. And despite a healthy wariness for Roos, the car is now much more relaxed. Rick has taken over from Sue, & continued her habit of flashing the right or left indicator to warn us of the Kangaroos. Finally at Madura we find a self-service petrol pump and fill the tank. Whew.

At Eucla, with just 10 or so kms to the border we decide to punch through to South Australia, and camp there for the night. So we bid farewell to Rick and Sue, who are driving as far as they can, and pull into Border Village. It’s only now we realise another unintended consequence of driving East. Timezone change. The clocks in SA are 90mins ahead, so midnight is actually 1:30am and we still have to get up at 6am to make our second big day tomorrow. Unnnghhh.

Time to get the tent up, which is fun in the wind on ground too hard for pegs. There are plenty of rocks, however, that hold the groundsheet down. And Rohan, of course, has heavy duty pegs. Before long, we’re pushing Zzz’s

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And finally we're all here. My flight to Perth was the best type ever. Uneventful. All the “event” is on the other side of this particular trip, and all on the ground.

A very long ground.

Craig, from Vicpark Motors, went above and beyond to pick me up and tKe me back to the yard, well beyond 7pm. Where else on the planet do you experience that sort of friendliness? (This goes beyond “service”)

And there, for the first time I lay eyes on “Laney.” My new Jeep. And yes. Everything I expected, and so much more.


The butterfly and V-Club badge will have to go of course. But the halo headlights & the LED's are pretty cool. The soft top is still sealed with the “Customer to remove” band. It has simply never been used. And inside, your feet are bathed in a soft, blue glow. Very hip hop.

I also meet Dave, another of the 3 partners, and complete all of the paper work. Then it's time to load up bags and head back to the airport to collect Justin.

Here, the parking ranger, who'd been diligently chasing away lingering cars, leans in for a chat. It seems Jeeps attract new friends as much as motorbikes do. Or maybe it's just me 😏

The bags start piling up with Justin's (where is Rohan gonna sit? Srsly?) and after a quick bite to eat (note: Don't try the Hungry Jacks' Pulled Beef Burger) we return to the airport to collect our third: (delayed) Rohan.

Then it's “Head East young men” on to Northam for the night, in an attempt to make up some time on tomorrow's big day.

Finding the unpowered campsite was more of a mission than it should've been. But it was 11:30, 1:30am body clock time, pitch black and we were pretty bushed.

This in turn made pitching the Instant Up tent, well, hilarious. The tent was up in about 3 minutes, the beds on the other hand, not so much…

Finally it was trackie-dacks for some of us, silk sleeping bags for others, (no Rohan I won't mention any names) All rugging up against the 8C night.

And we have t even started yet…

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Sometimes things all go to plan. 

It turns out, buying a car on the other side of the continent is a plan with more complexity than you’d imagine.

Especially when you’re selling your current car on the day of departure, and have a day of work in another city first.

I agreed to meet my erstwhile Porsche buyer at the airport to give him the car at 7am before checking in for my flight to Adelaide. Between getting an agreement drawn up for the transfer of funds, and preparing for The Roadtrip, I left home at 6:25am. 

That’s about the fastest you can drive from our house to the airport. Without early morning, post #SydneyStorm traffic. The radio was full of reports of flooded roads, broken traffic lights, and congested motorways. Yet, miraculously, I pulled into parking at 7:03. Everything just went to plan.

Whilst crossing the bridge, with minutes to get to the airport, The Qantas app finally allowed me to check in, after 23 hours of time outs. 

Admittedly, I may’ve been a touch anxious when it took 14 mins for Mik and I to find each other. Especially with the unusual task of having to check a bag in. But we did, I got the bag tagged and sent down, and even managed to get to the lounge for a glass of OJ.

Now I’m boarded the Adelaide flight, and glad I packed my winter woollies for tonight’s planned stop in Northam. 

 

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cd4760456194024580573I’m buying a Jeep.

Not any Jeep. But a Red, Jeep Wrangler Sport.

And it’s in Perth. Which for those that don’t know is some 4200 kms, or 2650 miles away from home. About the same distance as LA to NY. Or London to Rome, return!

Now some people focus on what they acquire, but I’m more interested in what I achieve. (Which is probably why I’m selling my Porsche) And what more excuse do you need to transverse a continent in 3 days with your best mates? Over the Nullabor? On the centenary of the ANZAC remembrance?

I agree. None.

Anyone can pick up a Jeep at the local dealer. But not everyone has driven across a continent. With their mates.  Over the ANZAC Centenary. In a Jeep.

Watch Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and this Blog for the video and photo highlights. Search for #EpicTrip

Here’s our proposed Route:

Day One – Run for the Border

Day Two – Go for Broke

Day Three – Head Home

Epic!!

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What Makes a Great Hotel Room

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One of the most promising emergent technologies is Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Combine this with Digital Assistants (e.g. Siri, Google Now, Cortana etc.), the amplifying nature of the Internet, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and the opportunities become boundless.

Consider the number of interactions you have in a given day, how many are simply interactions with a service provider? Think about say, a check-up with your GP, call to an insurance agent, or parent-teacher consult. How much of “you” do you actually need for each of these meetings? Probably not as much as you expect.

Your GP certainly needs to see your physical telemetry, something that's easy enough with wearable technologies available today (blood sugar, BP, pulse, sleep, diet, weight & exercise patterns). But apart from that may simply question how things are at home, at work, with the family, and then prescribe medication or a course of action.

Imagine if you will that an AI avatar is programmed with enough of your personality to answer questions for the doctor. She can already access a comprehensive history of your medical health, ask questions about symptoms, and give the AI instructions. Later in the day (or immediately if necessary) your avatar can catch up with you to debrief on what you should be doing, and what medications to pick up (or print on your Bio3D printer)

Or you need to call the insurance company about a change in your home policy. Rather than waiting 40 rings to navigate an IVR through 3 departments to get to the right person, your avatar could call the insurance company. They will never get frustrated, annoyed, or impatient. As you they'll answer questions about your finances, new purchases, and cover you need. When you arrive home from work, your avatar simply informs you the insurance is done.

And then that call from your daughter's teacher. Teachers tend to work at really challenging hours for most people to arrange an interview. It's usually inconvenient for most to get from the workplace to the school at a time that is convenient for a teacher. (Disclaimer: Lucy, my wife is a teacher) But it is important. Arguably more important than work. Of course, your avatar knows the questions you'd ask about behaviour, effort and achievement. It is programmed with your concerns about peer relationships and bullying, and can answer any questions about what's happening on the home front. You can then have a non-emotional discussion about progress with the avatar that evening.

In fact we already do this, just not with technology. As a father of four girls, often Lucy and I would “divide and conquer” to get to all the teachers. But Lu is different to me. She's less concerned with a strategy for maths, I probably err to academics over emotional and social development. How good would it be not to have to divide the tasks up, and be assured that “you” are asking the questions you want answers to? And for the teacher that they can get a whole picture from both parents?

Let's take this a step further. How much of a teacher's personality and knowledge would you need to program into an Avatar to interact about a given subject? Again I argue not very much. And now you have this digital AI, you can scale this to provide extremely small ratios of teacher to students. And you could do it contextually. So with a general introduction to algebra maybe your best maths teacher AI interacts with 12 students, but with a thorny section on calculus, you could scale down to 1:1. And of course, you could repeat a lesson ad infinitum. Because this is an AI copy of the teacher, the student can ask different questions every time, or the same questions. The avatar remembers the interactions and can adjust expectations and activities accordingly.

Indeed with VR a university could offer courses with world leading professors, lecturers, and tutors to unlimited numbers of students, and times convenient to the students. Actually in VR and with Wearable Technology you can simulate physical skills as well. Are you holding the scalpel correctly? Is your fingering on the flute right? You'll be able to non-destructively practice skills, with expert coaching and feedback. This will absolutely accelerate and enhance learning.

With Augmented Reality, the avatar could appear with you in a physical location too. Imagine a dancer patiently showing you choreographed moves in the dance studio you're in, then giving you real time feed back as you dance. Then debriefing your “real” instructor on your progress. Teacher AI's able to go over homework with children, music teachers able to practice daily with students.

This world is not that far off at all. In fact when I did my Master Degree, over a decade ago, I studied the entire course online. But Powerpoint presentations, and forum chats for interaction, were a very crude way to deliver teaching. Being able to ask a complex question, with a multi-layered answer, at any time of day or night, certainly would've helped me understand encryption based on large prime numbers, and the ethics of Thorac-25.

Today Internet delivered audio and video lessons (e.g. Audible Great Courses, Udemy, Kahn Academy etc) are far more effective, but still lack intelligent interaction and feedback for practical skills.

In short, we'll be able to timeshift and location shift our interactions in the same way we do with TV programs today by recording on a DVR.

So if you could program yourself into an AI avatar, that constantly experiences the world as you do, and can intelligently interact with others, what interactions would you time shift?

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ONLY READ THIS POST IF YOU’RE GOING TO BUY AN APPLE WATCH!

I get it. Not everyone will buy an Apple Watch. Actually according to some polls only 3% of people will. Which, despite being pretty high in it’s own right for an as yet unreleased product, is about an arbitrary a number as you’re likely to get. May as well ask how many people would buy a Long Island Iced Tea when on their next holiday.

Still. If you are planning to buy one. This article is for you.

If not. Stop reading here….

…I mean it. Stop reading. You won’t be interested in any way, shape, or form in what I have to say below.

Still reading? Ok then…

Oh the dilemma of choice! Damn you Apple. After years of having the simplest product psychology of all technology purveyors (with a choice of only TV, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Mac, MacBook), why now have you complicated matters with so much choice?

Well, it’s intentional of course. Yes, there’s the personal nature of watches. But frankly they could’ve given you infinite permutations without the Sport or Edition, er, editions.

First I’ll discuss which edition Apple want you to buy. Then which one you probably should buy.

So here’s the thing. As an iPhone user (which by definition if you want an Apple Watch you have to be) choosing between editions means you aren’t considering other smartwatches. Most of which will work with your iPhone. So firstly, they want you to buy an Apple Watch.

Here are the 3 options:

  1. Apple Watch Sport – with a case made out of unicorn horn and aluminum (or aluminium) and a silicon band – begins at U$350/400. The two prices because each model comes in a 38 and 42mm size. In Australia this translates to circa AU$500. Sigh.
  2. Apple Watch – with a case made of Icelandic tempered stainless steel, and a number of bands – begins at U$500/550 all the way up to >U$1000. Wow. A big one for a watch that you’ll need to charge daily and pair with a phone, itself close to that price.
  3. Apple Watch Edition – with a case clearly made of fairy wings and rose gold – comes in at U$7,000 all the way up to U$10,000. But wait, there will be a limited run of these. My guess is you won’t be able to buy one even if you could lay a cool ten stacks over the counter. Unless your name is Jennifer, or Hugh, or Victoria perhaps.

With 3 choices, most people will choose the middle option. Remember the Apple customer is someone who pays more for quality. They buy on value, not price. With just one choice at $350, less people would buy an Apple Watch. With 2 choices, less people would buy the “expensive” watch. But with 3 editions, people are more likely to choose option two.

And people aren’t sheeple. Just because they do this doesn’t mean they’re unintelligent, stupid, fanboi’s. We all do this. Heck, we’ve been conditioned since our parents read Goldilocks to us. When you bought your last car, or washing machine, or bed, did you buy the base model? Didn’t think so.

Apple Watch BlackSo Apple, smartly are using the tools at their disposal to create a desire in their customers to lay up to a grand on a smartwatch, when their competition is selling their baubles at half that. I know the one I want is the space black steel Watch, with a black strap.

But I don’t think that’s the one I’m going to buy, and my recommendation is that you don’t either. Here’s why:

Firstly, the functionality of each edition is identical. Same sensors, same processor, memory, connectivity, ability to add straps, everything. So you don’t lose any functionality with the “value” option.

Secondly, 18 hour “typical” day battery life. I know I don’t have typical usage. That means I’m probably going to need to charge my watch sometime during the day. You could buy two Sport editions for the price of the Watch, and simply rotate them 😎

Apple Watch Sport BlackBut most importantly, this is version 1. Buy it? Absolutely. Certainly over one of the other smartwatch options (although I’ll reserve judgement on the new Pebble Time, which I’m supporting). But as the Apple Watch is likely to be upgraded in 12 to 18 months, simply because of Moore’s Law. You don’t want to spend a grand now, only for v2 to have built in GPS and SIM in a year’s time and be wanting to spend another grand then.

No. Save your dosh. Buy the cheapest option, and if you have to personalise it, get a nice strap. There’ll be hundred’s of options soon.

Or get a Pebble Time, for much less.

Unless your name is Hugh, or Jennifer, or Victoria. Then send one of your entourage to pick up a 10 grand Edition

 

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