Apple’s latest foray into wearable technology has divided opinion, with some declaring it a new dawn for the world’s most valuable company, and others decrying it as an overpriced gimmick.
However, with few other smartwatches historically hitting the mark with consumers, the Apple Watch – which Apple calls ‘the most advanced timepiece ever created’ – may finally mean that wearable tech can start living up to the hype.
Samsung’s family of Gear watches, Motorola’s Moto 360 and other similar smartwatches
have largely remained niche products in search of a wider audience.
But some estimates state that Apple could sell as many as 30 million Apple Watches in 2015 alone, or 10% of the iPhone user base. This predicts wearables to be the fastest selling consumer device to date, more so than even smartphones and tablets (with the Watch, Apple ventures into its first completely new product category since the iPad in 2010).
The Apple Watch is predicted to dominate market share, but importantly, it may also increase awareness and demand for smartwatches in general. The Apple Watch could even legitimize the entire wearables category, similar to the impact it had on digital music players with its iPod, smartphones with the iPhone and tablets with the iPad.
So why is the Apple Watch any different from other smartwatches that have come before it?
Apple creates a compelling use case for the device, with a feature set that offers far more than simply saving consumers the few seconds it takes to pull a smartphone out of a pocket or purse. Here are just a few examples.
You can push the “digital crown” (the part of a traditional watch used to set the date, time and wind it) to activate Apple’s Siri voice assistant, or just say “Hi, Siri” to ask questions. “Glances” let you quickly see text message notifications, phone calls, emails, sports scores or calendar entries. The Apple Watch also allows you to pay for goods with an Apple Pay mobile payments system.
App developers have also entered a new realm of innovation then it comes to apps for the Apple Watch, utilizing Apple’s ‘most personal device yet’ in a variety of new, exciting ways.
IG’s Apple Watch App allows users to live the life of a financial trader wherever they are. From their wrists they can place live trades, track the markets and stay abreast of new developments on the go. Traders can even use Siri’s voice detection to state the level of stocks they’d like to trade.
The Citymapper app allows users to let their Watches guide them around a city. Step by step instructions are given based on current locations, and users receive a friendly tap on the wrist when their bus, tram or train arrives or reaches the right destination. They can look like a local, even when they’re not.
BMW, Starwood Hotels and Alarm.com have also all demonstrated apps that can log owners into cars, hotels and even their own homes – eliminating the need to carry a key ring.
The ‘Internet of Things’ could soon take this even further with users possibly being able to open windows, front doors or even access workplaces via an Apple Watch. Beyond that, controlling every aspect of the home from the wrist, including turning on the heating, running a bath or changing the TV channel is a definite future possibility!
Find out more about all the apps mentioned above on Apple’s website: http://www.apple.com/watch/app-store-apps/
The Apple Watch may well mark an important turning point for Apple, and the future of the wearable tech industry as a whole.