In the movie The Internship, Billy and Nick (played by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) lose their jobs as wristwatch salesmen because the company they worked for folded. It seems that with all the modern gadgets at our disposal, nobody uses wristwatches anymore. The movie rings true in a lot of ways, as asking anyone these days what the time is, results in them checking everywhere except their wrist, but yet here we are with Apple announcing their foray in the world of “wearables.”
Of course, there are situations where the traditional watch was still handy, especially amongst the sporty types who generally can’t reach into their pockets and whip out a smart phone, but these are probably not the people that Apple are targeting. Let’s face it, the folks who obsess over high quality, precision mechanical watches are probably not going to be swapping their Seiko Diver’s watch or Rolex Yacthmaster for an Apple watch.
So, while the big Swiss watchmakers are probably not quaking in their boots, Apple does have a very large army of loyal fans that will ensure that their product makes a splash. They have their work cut out for them as smart watches are not a new concept and despite being available for a while now the concept hasn’t really caught on. Apple does seem to have the magical touch when it comes to adding innovative features to existing products, so even people who may scoff at a traditional watch might be lured in by what is promised with this watch.
Aiming to be available in two sizes and featuring six interchangeable watch bands, the Apple Watch is obviously more than just a piece of equipment that tells the time, which apparently it does very, very accurately. Instead, Apple aims for the watch to be an indispensable accessory for your iPhone. The watch can do some stuff on its own, but to unlock its full potential it must be paired and connected to your phone.
According to Apple, the watch will allow you to stay close to the people you care about through a friends list accessible with one touch. From there you can make calls, send messages or contact your friends in all the other ways offered by the watch. Apple also aims to personalize the experience, so instead of simply using audio cues to get your attention when you receive notifications, the watch will actually tap you, just like another person would! For added novelty, you can “tap” other people through their Apple Watches or even send them your heart rate to show them that you are thinking about them. The latter is probably best reserved for your partner, and not your boss though.
Fitness fanatics will appreciate the way that the watch can measure body movement through its accelerometer or track their heart rate with a custom sensor. It can even use the GPS and Wi-Fi of the iPhone to track how far you have moved while the Activity app will keep track of important data such as calories burned. Then there is the dedicated workout app included as standard to get you up, moving and motivated. Paired with your iPhone you will be able to keep track of all your progress and even share the info with others for bragging rights.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Apple Watch is how it aims to replace your wallet when it comes to making payments. Using the Apply Pay system you will be able to purchase everything from coffee to groceries simply by swiping your wrist at supporting stores. This is a very convenient feature, but only time will tell whether it will catch on.
As the Apple Watch is not available yet there are still some mysteries about it as well as important questions such as what the battery life will be like. The watch features enough goodies and gadgets to make it appealing to the tech minded people, but whether the general public will take to the idea is another matter.
The watch can certainly do a lot of things, but there are already devices dedicated to most of what it has to offer. Smartwatches have been very slow to catch on with the general public, but Apple has proven time and again that they have their finger on the pulse of what consumers want.
It will be interesting to see what the response from other smartwatch makers and indeed traditional watchmakers will be. One thing is for sure, if Apply fails to make a big impact with their smartwatch there isn’t much of a chance that their competition will either. Now all that is left is to wait for the release and to remember that it is called the Apple Watch and not the iWatch.