First Click: what happened to the Apple Watch walkie-talkie?

April 24th, 2015


Today is a milestone date in computing. To the olds, it’s obvious — it’s the day the Dick Tracy 2-Way Wrist Radio goes mainstream. An idea first introduced in the 1946 comic strip before being upgraded to a 2-Way Wrist TV in 1964. Unlike the jetpack, this pulp fiction fantasy is now a reality. Except the Walkie-Talkie feature announced with the Apple Watch in September seems to have been pulled at the last minute. Remember that?

Regardless of last minute changes, today’s the day we’ll look back upon as either the advent of wrist computing or just another consumer electronics folly. Remember when the industry made a coordinated push for 3D television? That was fun.

The Apple Watch is far from the first wrist-worn computer. Samsung, and to a lesser degree LG, have kept the dream alive for years by showing off concepts at trade shows and releasing limited runs of Korea-only devices. Google gave the burgeoning category a much needed boost with the launch of Android Wear last year. Yet when was the last time you saw a normal wearing a Moto 360?

Apple has a knack for turning nascent technologies into devices of mass consumption. The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player. The iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone. The iPad wasn’t the first tablet. No, the Apple Watch is just the first smart wearable from Apple — the most powerful company and brand in the world. Like it or not, that means something.

apple watch walkie talkie

⚡⚡Tracy to Apple, Tracy to Apple, please reinstate the walkie-talkie feature. Tracy to Apple. Come in Apple.⚡⚡

Five stories to start your day

  1. I bought an Apple Watch this morning, despite what Apple said

    That doesn’t mean you can’t go out and buy one in a few places around the world, though; I bought one in London a couple of hours ago, and it was easy enough to find one in Tokyo as well.

  2. iFixit is tearing down the Apple Watch as we speak

    It's Friday April 24th in at least some parts of the world, which means there are regular civilians out there with Apple Watches of their own. And, true to form, the noted gadget dissectors at iFixit are tearing theirs apart as quickly as possible to find out what's inside.

  3. James Bond needs $5 million to hold a Sony phone, and he still won’t like it

    "BEYOND the $$ factor, there is, as you may know, a CREATIVE factor whereby [director Sam Mendes] and Daniel [Craig] don’t like the Sony phone for the film (the thinking, subjectively/objectively is that James Bond only uses the "best," and in their minds, the Sony phone is not the "best")."

  4. The Fifty Shades of Grey sequels are coming in 2017 and 2018

    Earlier this year the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey finally arrived in theaters, raking in enormous amounts of cash and becoming an even bigger cultural powerhouse in the process. Given that there's two more books in EL James' trilogy ready for adaptation it wasn't so much question of if there would be more movies as much as when. Today in Las Vegas, Universal delivered that answer.

  5. BET is bringing Punk'd back, and no one is safe

    MTV's Punk'd, the show that spawned a million ill-advised and unchaperoned home spin-offs (probably), is coming back. BET announced today that it will be reviving a version of the prank show "tailored" to the network's audience.

Wearable of the day