The rumors started long ago, so when Tim Cook first presented the Apple Watch on September 9th 2014, the level of interest was huge. In fact, no fewer than 69 million entries for the product have been indexed in Google since then.
Exactly 6 months later, on March 9th 2015, Tim Cook presented additional details about the Watch, including its availability and pricing. The enormous anticipation this has generated means that millions of web pages will be talking about the product in the next couple of weeks and people will be able to test it for real.
As the Watch only works with an iPhone, Genius App decided to take a closer look and now that I know a bit more about it, and the final development tools are available from Apple, here are my impressions. This is also my reply to all those people I have met over the last six months who have kept asking me the same questions like, “Will you buy one?”, “Do you think it is good?” or, the most annoying one, “Will it revolutionize the watch sector?”
First of all, Apple has become a monster – not because of the market cap, the size of its future campus, nor the amount of money it makes. I’m saying this because everything it creates must change the world and, if it doesn’t, then all of the haters and journalists will say that it is the beginning of the end for Apple. They will add that it is a fading company that used to be innovative but has got lost on the path to power, money and ego. They have no right to fail. Even some “specialists”, like Lionel Tardy, said that Apple was finally going to release a product one year after its competitors… as if Apple was somehow late on a market where no one had succeeded before.
Indeed, it is better to be late with the right product, than be first with the wrong one. I can’t say for certain this Watch will be another success for Apple, but what I can say is that they have been late on a lot of markets before. From computers to laptops, from MP3 readers to TV accessories, from smartphones to tablets, Apple was always late, but they succeeded by releasing a product that everybody wanted and competitors copied, just as if nothing had existed before.
We spend a lot of time on smartphones and, while some do it discretely, the latest statistics show that we spend an average of 2 hours and 48 minutes each day on mobile devices, which is putting our health at risk.
After Apple and the market in general expanded screen sizes from 3.5 inches to a gigantic 5.5 inches, it was time to have something more discreet to keep users connected to our digital world. Of course, the Watch doesn’t just help to keep up with the digital world, it also promises to deliver a brand new user experience for any person who needs a sports trainer, coach, or simply a “life assistant” attached to their wrist.
Thanks to the digital crown, one button and a touch screen of 312×390 pixels (272×340 pixels for the small model), users will be able to do plenty of things with just a few interactions. Of course, the system promises to be very customizable, enabling you to watch TV, read your emails and send messages. However, I’m not expecting a revolution here and if you are looking to replace your smartphone with this Watch, you don’t understand what this product is all about. Technologies, like Digital Touch, mean a new generation of apps are coming that – with the use of Siri or not – promise to bring you fast and reliable services with only a couple of soft touches.
And what do watchmakers say about this? Well, at first they were critical and arrogant, saying things like: “This company doesn’t have a clue about this industry” or “They have no idea where they are going to”, just to quote a few of their derogatory comments. But even after criticizing Apple, some of the watchmakers learnt from the failure of Nokia and RIM, who had been at the top when Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, but are now either dead or bought out because of their slow reactions.
The lesson to the watchmakers was clear: “Do not underestimate Apple, react before you get eaten alive”. And the watchmakers are all reacting now: every one of them is introducing their own smartwatch or presenting it at the Baselworld, starting March 19th 2015. Festina, Swatch, Tag Heuer, etc, are all going to launch something that, more or less, can be called a smartwatch.
That said, these work on their own and so will only show a low level of integration with smartphones. Worse still, most of them are just basic bands that count your steps and do a few other metrics in order to track your daily physical activities; market is already full of devices like that. The Apple Watch will do a lot more and, most importantly, will rely on every iPhone that is running iOS 8.2, which should be about 500 million iPhones around the world – from the 4S (2012) to the latest 6 Plus. That’s a lot of users ready to make the jump.
Rumors are that Apple actually started talks with watchmakers a few years ago, but none wanted to team up with them, as they didn’t come from the same world. Let’s see how this industry does in the coming years and whether they will live to regret this move or not.
Is your company ready to adopt a new device? Can a smartwatch add value for your services or products?