Why do I dislike my Echo Show 5? Well, it's partially because I'm not a smart home person. But it provided the one thing my desk(s) needed — a digital clock. And one that stayed out of the way, and wasn't annoying.
But, then, well, Amazon decided it should be more than a digital clock.
Amazon's Echo Show is trying too hard
Amazon over the years has 'added' to the Echo Show 5, giving it slides with the news and skills recommendations. One day, it told me how to re-order things more easily online. Trust me, Alexa, I don't need help with that.
Soon thereafter, it was suggesting I add the Wheel of Fortune skill or one based on the Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader show. Not to show my lack of passion for the game show community, but I do not care. I never will.
That stuff kept popping up no matter what I tried. It even shows me the news, even though I thought I turned off every setting I could. And often the news is incredibly mixed in terms of relevancy.
Sure, the Echo Show surfaced tiles about the air pollution crisis, but it also included something about the sport of cricket and — the ultimate "this is not news" event — a local story regarding a woman giving birth in a McDonald's bathroom. If I wanted the news, I'd ask for it, or open a proper website. I'm not looking to get it from a Smart Display.
iOS 17 answers my calls for a simple digital clock
So, with months and months of grimaces and cringes at my Echo Show 5 under my belt, and a few minutes of scrolling through the digital clocks on sale at Amazon, I felt conflicted. I valued that the Echo Show 5 gave me the time most of the day, but I still thought it was an eyesore at times.
Then, on Monday (June 6), Apple revealed a ton of iOS 17 features, and gave me the solution I was so desiring. StandBy mode gives you the ability to turn a charging iPhone into a smart display, often just showing a clock. Exactly as I so desired.
Of course, StandBy mode isn't just limited to my simple needs, as it can also show photos along with the time, as well as widgets for apps. In Apple's demo, it was shown as a remote control for playing music.
Maps and sports integrations are also on the table, as are smart-home controls. But I don't need that. I am a simple person, and would even settle for the below clock, as childish as it is:
And I hope Apple understands that not all of us want a super-smart display. I'd rather just a clock, as I don't need more.
Outlook: And it's also going to be at my bedside
While StandBy mode looks to display info brightly in the day, it's smart enough to know you won't need that same brilliance when you're going to bed. During the WWDC 2023 demo, Apple showed that it dims and changes color at night, like a normal alarm clock.
I'm so eager for StandBy mode, in fact, that I'm already planning to install the iOS 17 beta when the public version debuts this summer. Specifically, I'm hoping I can hold out for the typically more-stable Public Beta 2 release. Until then, thank you Amazon, and sayonara, Echo Show 5.