Apple Watch: First Impressions and Pictures

2015-04-11 11.21.58Apple Watch: First Impressions and Pictures

Apple Watch went on sale Friday morning at midnight Pacific Time. I’ve written previously about Apple Watch at length previously here.

To say its launch was popular would be an understatement: it sold out in 6 hours. I’m hearing ship dates now of June and August. The gold Apple Watch Edition: August.

Early rumored reports: 1 million pre-ordered this weekend in the US alone.

I logged in before midnight and hit the refresh button on 4 browsers across 2 computers but my Apple Store app on my iPhone got me in sooner. It took about 3 minutes to order via Apple Pay after I entered my billing/shipping address I placed my order at 11 minutes after the hour. Shipping lead time: 4-6 weeks.

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Apple’s New Ecosystem: the Implications of Apple Pay

Apple Pay





Today, October 20, Apple launched Apple Pay with the release of their iPhone iOS 8.1 version of the device operating system. This new payment system is scheduled to go live with 220,000 merchants today for users with iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. I wrote about these new devices here. When the Apple Watch is released in 2015, which I wrote about here, it will support Apple Pay as well. See the list of merchants at the end of this article. *

While the iPhone and Apple Watches are innovative, I believe the real excitement is in the new ecosystems Apple is creating. Ecosystems are built around devices with software and services. This is one way for customers to enjoy using a number of Apple devices in a more easily integrated environment, encouraging them to buy more Apple products and upgrade to new devices when they come along.

Who is starting with Apple Pay?

The first was the Apple Store itself, where Apple employees were recently trained to help customers use it. The first app I updated after upgrading to iOS 8.1 was the Apple Store app. Soon followed like Panera, OpenTable and Uber. Others are jumping onboard quickly, including McDonald’s. The big questions that consumers will have is: what about security and privacy?

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Apple Watch: a New Category for Apple


On initial impression, some might say this seems like less of a watch and more an iPhone nano. While the iPhone 6 is an evolutionary change and larger than before, as I discussed in my last article here, the Apple Watch is a new product category for Apple with new ecosystems to go with it. I talk about the ecosystems here.

This is the dawn of a new platform for Apple, and though it’s clearly a “1.0” product shipping in early 2015, they got a lot right their first time out. Especially in functionality, this has more raw compute power and storage than any “wearable” I’ve seen. The software and controls are astounding. At two different sizes, 35mm and 44mm, there is a tension between too small that you can’t use the face, and too large to fit on the wrist. The Taptic Engine is another feedback and output system: you feel different kinds of vibrations for notifications, left and right directions, etc.  Apple provides the buyer a choice. Indeed, lots of choices: two different sizes, three different case materials or “collections” each in two different finishes, and a spectrum of different straps. Think of the permutations! Apple will create product segmentation and customization from the beginning.

Apple WatchHorologically, Apple is returning to a market it previously unintentionally de-popularized: the wristwatch. Wristwatches had replaced the older pocket watches especially during the late 19th century for military applications, but the popularity of the Apple iPhone meant people were checking the time from the device in their pocket.

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Apple’s New iPhone 6: Why you care


Apple’s recent product launch in Cupertino was huge:

  1. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, about which many leaks had already informed us
  2. Apple Watch, the previously rumored iWatch saw the light of day, though it cannnot be ordered until next year. Read about it in my next article here
  3. Two new ecosystems — which are the truly revolutionary part of the announcement — Apple Pay and HealthKit. I’ll tell you why these will be significant. Read about Apple Pay here

For a bit of irony…

These are the highest performing iPhones ever released. And as happens with each new iPhone announcement, a couple of days after the announcement pre-orders are available at midnight Cupertino time:

  • Both Apple and the cellular carriers anticipate greater demand than the previous release
  • They prepare their ordering systems for the increased load and staff up
  • During the midnight “ordering storm” their systems melt down faster and worse than previous years

Even Apple’s ordering site was down for almost two and a half hours. The carriers faired no better than in years past: support lines were broken and escalation was delayed or nonexistent. I’m hearing of delivery dates for iPhone 6 Plus that are 2 months out even if you ordered within the first 15 minutes.

To put this in perspective, Apple had record sales with more than 4 million orders in the first 24 hours. The iPhone 5 launch only saw 2 million the first day. In the first weekend, Apple sold 10 million iPhone 6 units sold — a new record — while last year’s iPhone 5C/5S sold 9 million. And this year, China was not counted in the mix as Apple is still waiting on China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to approve the new model for network access. They’ll go on sale in China on October 17. In the run up before pre-orders there are reportedly 4 million reservations for iPhone 6 in China.

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VMworld 2014 San Francisco: Final Day


VMworld does something special for the Press and Bloggers, it reserves several tables near the front of the auditorium with power cords and a special WiFi feed. This makes it easy to take lousy low light photos from one’s iPhone. Having written on Day 1 and Day 2 of VMworld, on the last day we learned that attendees had attended 9,300 labs.

And they raised $248,460 through Destination GiveBack.

The last day is usually reserved for innovations, last year’s was about robots and 3D printing. This time: People Plus Machines.

Jane McGonigalJane McGonigal, Super Better Labs, Chief Creative Officer VR Game Designer and Author “Reality is Broken”

She started by sharing:

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VMworld 2014 San Francisco: Day 2, The Details


Following on the announcements of Day 1, three VMware executives filled in the details.

Ben FathiBen Fathi, VMware Chief Technology Officer

Ben started the morning with Destination Giveback, a charitable effort that involves flying paper airplanes as a part of the donation. No ice involved.

Recapped the previous day’s comment: The Brave Will Thrive. EVO and EVO:RAIL, the OpenStack distribution, the renaming of vCloud Hybrid Services to vCloud Air, the renaming of vCAC and vCOPs to vCloud vRealize.

In contrast to the World of Silos


Ben posited:

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VMworld 2014 San Francisco: Day 1, The Announcements



The largest cloud show of its kind, VMworld 2014 opened with the General Session in Moscone Center in San Francisco. 22,000 attendees from 85 countries are here. The show actually opened 2 days previously, but everyone who is going to be here is at this event. Partner Day and TAM Day were earlier and last night was the welcoming buffet in the Solutions Exchange. I’ll be at the Solutions Exchange later this week demoing in the Cisco booth Platform as a Service and Cloud Management.

No Limits is the theme this year.

Pat GelsingerPat Gelsinger, VMware CEO

started with this quote:

“The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible.”

This is one of the Three Laws of Prediction by Sir Arthur C Clarke, famous science fiction author and futurist.

Two years ago Pat stepped onto this stage to take the baton of leadership at VMware. This morning he uses the analogy of a “liquid world” to talk about the change in business:

  • Uber has a market cap of Hertz and Avis combined, with no physical assets.

He talked about Bravery:

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VMworld 2013 San Francisco: Day 4, Makers and Shakers


For the popular Innovator’s Day at the end of the VMworld Conference…


Jay1Jay Silver, Founder and Director Joylabz, and Maker Research Scientist at Intel Labs.

Jay went to Ken Burns’ place in Massachusetts and went on a nature awareness walk. He had a guide, but Jay didn’t see anything new… so he went to downtown Boston and did some urban discovery. Another student licked his finger and stuck it in the air all around the area… and noted wind patterns that led to a vortex at the center.

“If we can see the invisible, can you change it? Can you make the world a construction kit?”

He attached a “squeaky set” sound sensor to a pencil and after spreading the graphite on a paper found you could play music. Ditto with water on a surface, or water pouring from a tap. Or copper stripes on a one’s body that when you hula hoop across it, makes music.

jay2The crowd loved his example of using a MaKey MaKey via USB to a bananas that act as forward and back arrow on a MacBook laptop. Or the same with Play Doh. Or making pianos out of stairs, or even dogs. Or a child with MS whose dad made controllers for him out of gloves. Or a musician who makes drums out of eggplants.

“What happens if you drop an M&M on an escalator and then add a roll of Chap Stick?”


keller1Keller Renaudo, CEO and Co-Founder Romotive

Robots are what science fiction has been teaching us for a hundred years. In movies: C3PO from Star Wars and Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, but can they be made real and accessible?

Others like Asimo by Honda came out, but he had a hard time with stairs.

Robots are science meets the real world. Mobile phones cannot move. What if we could make cheaper robots, that use the software on your mobile phone?  It would be 100 times simpler than previous robots that are only available in big companies or university research labs. It’s here with Romo, which will be sold under $150.

Meet Romo

Romo, uses computer vision and a simple visual programming language — you can program him to turn and bow. Kids who cannot read can program it. Romo is WiFi capable with other iOS devices, and you can see through his eyes, like Skype on wheels. He can flip himself over if he falls. You can change Romo’s firmware from the iPhone. You can update the software on the iPhone. Goal: build a community of hackers who create innovation for Romo.

With no experience in robotics or creating a hardware company, and being poor, they went out to Kick Starter and got orders that went out to 1,300 requests. But they ended up shipping 2,000 units.

Mission is the next step. It’s an interactive story line. The goal is for Romo to compete in an intergalactic space race.

“People tend to overestimate effects of technology in the short term but underestimate the effects of technology in the long term.

“All Robos come in Peace.”



Bre Pettis, CEO, MakerBot

Inventer and open source guru. Made the MakerBot 3D printer. In 2007 a 3D printer cost $100K. So they made a cheaper one.

“Innovation through absurdity”

“It builds up layers of plastic one at a time until you have an object. Even the first one sole out immediately. We drank way too much caffeine and we ate 2 cases of ramen developing it. Don’t do that.

pre2“We’re now on our 4th generation: MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner.  Previous models turned 3D designs into a physical object. The latest model: lasers point, I’m talking “lasers”, at a physical object and turn it into a 3D design. These come off our assembly line every 2 minutes, no screws on the bottom. Finished it 2 weeks ago, announced it 10 days ago. Ship at the end of Sept/early October.

pre3“My friend saw a cool fish head he saw on a lamp post in Paris, and now it’s turned into a plaster replica. We do this in Brooklyn.

“Go visit to see if someone else has already created something you couldn’t make yesterday.

“PLA is a natural plastic made from corn. It’s like “kittens” for architects, they can build anything. Head of NASA:JPL said “You’ve got to come see what we’re doing with MakerBot.” Yeah, I can make some time for that.

“It’s very iterative and you can make multiple prototypes/day rather than one a month.

“Lockheed used it to save 6 months/$1M on the next Hubble telescope.

pre4“A guy in South Africa lost fingers in an accident and decided to remake his fingers. A child in South Africa was born without fingers and could not afford a $10K prosthetic. So MakerBot made it with $500 worth of materials. sells doll furniture… but it was designed by a set designer on Broadway who designs sets with MakerBot.

“I started as an artist, saw every piece of art in Seattle. Shared photos of what he’d done. Worked for Make magazine. I developed the Cult of Done Manifesto. It’s self-contradictory as most manifestos, my “a ha!” moment was that everything is a draft. I conclude my manifesto with “Done is the agent of more.” (Someone said “I’m so glad you don’t work on airplanes.”)

“Beautiful Objects + Sharing + Iteration”

Is this “The Next Industrial Revolution?”

Thanks for coming along,

VMworld 2013 San Francisco: Day 3, the Gadgets


During this week amongst 22,500 geeks it was noticeable how many devices I saw, especially mobile devices. Here’s the quick breakdown…

Cell phones:

  • iPhones by a vast majority, mostly iPhone 5s.
  • Androids as the largest minority, mostly Samsung Galaxy 3 and 4.


  • iPads by a vast majority, with some iPad minis.
  • Androids in the minority, including the smaller Nexus 7 size.


  • MacBooks were a surprisingly significant fraction
  • PCs of all flavors
  • Ultra thin laptops running Android or Windows 8, including the Microsoft Surface, were more prevalent than in the general population


With a tech show that talks so much about mobile, cloud, VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) it is not surprising to see so many different devices, especially non-traditional laptops.

Every person here had at least two devices, a laptop and a cell phone, but many had a third, a tablet. Is the future a single converged device, or more likely, being able to access common data, and perhaps a common environment, from multiple devices?

Thanks for coming along,

VMworld 2013 San Francisco: Day 2


In Day 2, the focused moved to details of the big announcements from Day 1, including NSX, vSAN, and a bit on automation.

Carl Eschenbach, President and COO, VMware

Carl started with the observation of “More attendees than expected this year, 22,500 attendees rounded up to 23K, making this the largest IT Infrastructure event of the year”. Wikipedia reports that the 2009 Oracle OpenWorld had 37,000 attendees, but let’s not quibble.

He recapped yesterday’s announcements: vSphere 5.5 & vCloud Suite 5.5, NSX Network Virtualization, and vCloud Hybrid Services, Cloud Foundry on vSphere — through partnership with Pivotal — and Virtual SAN.

3 Imperatives for IT Infrastructure:

Virtualization extends to ALL of IT

  1. IT management gives way to automation
  2. Compatible hybrid cloud will be ubiquitous
  3. Done with the Software-Defined Data Center as the Architectural Foundation.

To show IT as a Service in action…

He demoed vCloud Automation Center (formerly acquired Dynamic Ops technology), showing costs for different cloud options — Private Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Windows Azure.

…showing self-service, transparent pricing, governance, automation.

Then he demoed vCloud Application Director that showed the provisioning of a multi-tiered application.


Then followed a discussion of NSX network virtualization with its APIs to L2 switches, L3 Routers, Firewalls and Load Balancers. vSphere Web Client showed these workflows.

Switching with NSX moves the switching intelligence into the hypervisor layer. Routing with NSX is similar, and eliminates “hair pinning” of a packet, moving the routing intelligence into the hypervisor layer. VMware claims that studies show that 70% of traffic in a data center happens between VM. Ditto network security and fire walling.

A video was shown of of WestJet, the Canadian airline, discussed how they use NSX for their network virtualization.

Going further vMotion moved a VM from one vLAN to another vLAN with NSX visible in the vSphere Web Client.

Summarizing, Carl pointed out that NSX delivers:

  • Speed and efficiency
  • Same operating model as compute virtualization
  • Extends value of existing network infrastructure

Switching gears to application dependencies of storage, Carl insisted his customers have requirements around: time to market, predictable performance, certain SLAs, and managed costs. VMware Virtual SAN moves Direct Attach Storage (from a host), including Flash storage, to be used in virtualized environments. This allows setting the data storage policy and having it move with the VM.

In summary, VMware Virtual SAN delivers:

  • Simple provisioning at time of VM provisioning
  • Storage that scales with compute
  • Leverage and extend existing direct attached storage

Announcement that this technology is available for public beta at:

Shifting to mobile end users, the demo moved to vCloud Automation Center which goes to VMware View to provision a desktop, including storage tier, gold of course. Horizon Workspace shows provisioning of SaaS apps to an iPad, and logging in to the desktop from the tablet.

Discussed efficient operations and Policy-Based Automation with vCenter Operations Manager. With a popular application running, auto scaling, which was previously provisioned, is automatically remediated.

vCloud Automation Operations Delivers

  • Policy-driven, automated, proactive response
  • Intelligent analytics
  • Visibility into application health for app owner

Administrators can also take hands-on, or guided remediation, to improve storage I/O per second to increase the SLA for storage from one tier to another, silver to gold.

This delivers:

  • Broad ecosystem that improves accuracy
  • Specific recommendations to speed up troubleshooting
  • Policy-driven IT and financial governance

vCenter Log Insight does Big Data analytics to help examine storage scalability. This shows the trade-offs between cost and scale. Carl announces 5 free licenses of vCenter Log Insight by following the Twitter account @VMLogInsight

Finally, Hybrid Cloud was captured in a discussion of seamless extension of the Data Center from the private to the public cloud. Demoed vSphere Web Client in v5.5: vCloud Hybrid Services is now visible there. Public templates are visible, additionally private ones can be continuously synchronized across private and public clouds.

Carl closed the keynote in the same way as Pat did yesterday, by talking about how the audience were champions. “Champions drive change, so go drive change, and defy convention!”

Thanks for coming along,

musings on current and future technologies – by Bill Petro