Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Stephen Hackett

The Hackett File: The Great Red Dot

Perhaps the most decisive thing about the new Apple Watch with LTE isn’t the lack of roaming or cross-country support, the $10/month the service will set you back or even the big battery life hit that takes place when using the LTE radio.

It’s the red cap at the end of the Digital Crown. I’ve come to calling it the Great Red Dot.

The reaction to the Great Red Dot has been all over the map. Some people don’t mind it at all, while others think its a travesty beyond redemption.

Personally, I don’t mind it on my stainless steel watch, but I think it looks better on this model and the white ceramic Apple Watch edition than the other cases offered with LTE.

Even if the case finish isn’t an issue, I do think the red cap can limit what bands I will use with this watch. The bright orange sport band I bought a few years ago is probably destined for retirement now.

The red Digital Crown was first spotted way back in 2015, when Tim Cook was photographed wearing a stainless steel watch with a white sport band. The watch was rocking a red digital crown.

(This is the exact setup I have, so I guess I’m in good company.)

Red highlights have been used by other product makers over the years, as pointed out by Matthew Achariam. Lecia camera bodies have distinct red highlights. Marc Newson, friend and collaborator of Jony Ive, has designed several watches with red caps.

The Great Red Dot, when viewed through the lens of other high-end products, makes more sense. It’s not so much a fashion statement as it is a status symbol. It shows the world that you were willing to spend the extra cash for the LTE model.

This function makes me a little uncomfortable. I’m already a little self-conscious about having spent the money to pick up the stainless steel model; the red cap doesn’t do anything to help that feeling. It’s not as strong as the weirdness I felt carrying the original iPhone in the summer of 2007, but its similar.

The red cap on the LTE Apple Watch is not a deal breaker. It may limit your band choices if you care about such things, and it does broadcast to those around you which model you bought, but neither of those things are a big deal at the end of the day. Having LTE in a device on my wrist is a little mind-boggling, and in my limited use so far, it works well for me. I can put up with a little red to be able to leave my phone behind on a run or a bike ride.

[Stephen Hackett is the author of 512 Pixels and co-founder of Relay FM.]

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