Apple recently introduced its new Apple Watch, the first wearable digital device from Apple, and this new “smartwatch" is expected to have major implications for mass-market consumer adoption. Apple is the biggest and most influential tech company in the world, so when Apple decides to start marking a certain device or get into a certain market, this new invention tends to become mainstream. Apple revolutionized the music business with the iPod and iTunes, and then totally changed the game of the mobile phone market with the iPhone in 2007. Even though other companies have been experimenting with smartwatches and mobile devices, the Apple Watch has the potential to be a breakthrough mainstream success that no other company has so far been able to achieve.
The Apple Watch is not the first example of wearable technology; lots of people are using the Fitbit to track their daily exercise routines, and Google introduced Google Glass. The idea of a smartwatch has been around for a few years – Pebble
is one example of an earlier smartwatch – but the Apple Watch has the potential to totally change the way people relate to their wrists – by introducing a new ecosystem of consumer apps related to health and fitness (tracking heart rate, sleep, blood pressure, etc.) and other possibilities that haven’t fully been invented yet. As personal mobile devices become ever more “personal,” by tracking and sharing a variety of data about our daily lives and activities, it makes sense that wearable devices are bringing the technology even closer – by putting the devices onto our “persons” directly.
Here are a few reasons why the Apple Watch might succeed in becoming the new "killer app" product for wearable devices:
It syncs with smartphones
The Apple Watch (for now) will only sync with the iPhone. But the watch will give the user access to all of the same information and apps that are available on the smartphone, but with some features that are specific to the watch – for example, the Maps app can give you a tap on the wrist to tell you which direction to turn, Calendar notifications can pop up on your wrist (making it harder to miss that important meeting) and Messages can be more immediate and visible. For people who want to be more connected to their digital lives, the Apple Watch will put it all at a glance.
It offers potential for new apps
Bob Lefsetz is a music/entertainment industry analyst and blogger who is highly enthusiastic about the Apple Watch, and sees it as being a big driver of mobile device culture. Even though some tech industry observers have been skeptical about the Apple Watch, Lefsetz is bullish
– he writes, “Applications unknown are on the horizon. What made the iPhone so great were the apps. As will be the case with the Apple Watch. It’s gonna do stuff you can’t contemplate.” Just like most people never would have imagined being able to use their phones to access the universe of apps and tools that we now take for granted, the Apple Watch has the potential to create a powerful new ecosystem for app developers to create highly specialized apps that solve problems and improve life in ways that most people haven’t begun to imagine.
It works well as a watch
Just because people aren’t wearing wristwatches as commonly as they used to, doesn’t mean that people don’t want to know what time it is. It’s just that they’re using their smartphones as timepieces – so they have to reach into their pocket dozens of times per day. What if you could tell the time while also having quicker access to the rest of your digital life, just by glancing at your wrist? Perhaps the Apple Watch will reintroduce people to the usefulness of wearing a timepiece. As described in this article in Slate
, the Apple Watch is also going to be fully customizable with a variety of watch faces, bodies and wristbands – so people can treat this watch as a stylish fashion accessory as well as a digital device.
As smartphones and mobile devices become ever more intimately connected to the way we live, it makes sense that wearable devices would one day become mainstream. But where other companies have so far failed to create a must-have wearable tech piece that is adopted by the masses, the Apple Watch might become the first mainstream wearable device.