What it is: The Apple Watch isn’t the first wearable computing device, but it is the first wearable computer from Apple. Unlike other wearable devices, the Apple Watch is designed for both style and technological features unique to its form factor.
If you were around in 2007, you might remember so many critics dismissing the iPhone. At the time, Palm CEO, Ed Colligan, said, “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”
Steve Ballmer, then CEO of Microsoft, even outright laughed at the idea of the iPhone. Later the iPhone would go on to make more money than every product at Microsoft combined.
In 2010, critics once again had a field day dismissing the iPad as nothing more than a larger iPod touch. Then the iPad went on to redefine the tablet market.
Now the Apple Watch has arrived and once more, critics can’t see a use for wearable computers. The problem isn’t that wearable computers aren’t useful; it’s that critics can’t expand their imagination beyond the limited boundaries they’ve created for themselves.
Before the iPhone, critics couldn’t figure out why you would want a computer in your pocket. Before the iPad, critics couldn’t figure out why you would want to carry a computer that essentially consisted of a screen. Now with the Apple Watch, critics can’t figure out why they would need a wearable computer.
In case you don’t have an Apple Watch, you can learn its capabilities by reading Apple’s official Apple Watch user guide. When thinking of the Apple Watch, think of interactions that you might need to last mere seconds and those are perfect applications for the Apple Watch.
For example, the Apple Watch can pair up with your iPhone and allow you to remotely take pictures from your iPhone while controlling it with your Apple Watch. Another interesting feature is the ability to display the current time and a timer on the Apple Watch screen at the same time. Now you can time an event and keep your eye on the current time, which is just another minor convenience.
If you have an Apple TV, you can use the Apple Watch to control your TV like a remote control. The real value of the Apple Watch isn’t its own features, but its ability to work with other Apple devices like the iPhone and Apple TV to make those other devices easier to use.
One particular feature of the Apple Watch is its use of the Digital Crown to control the magnification of the screen, and Force Touch that recognizes pressure on the screen. These two unique user interface features make the Apple Watch easier to use. In comparison, rival smartwatches from Samsung or Microsoft rely on a touch screen and essentially duplicate the features of a smartphone in a smartwatch with few unique advantages of its own. Is it any wonder why rival smartwatches didn’t sell that well, despite having a huge head start over the Apple Watch?
The Apple Watch is not only going to help drive acceptance of Apple Pay but also the iPhone and Apple TV as well. Already developers are rushing to create Apple Watch apps while mostly ignoring rival wearable devices like the Microsoft Band or Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatches. Where the developers go, the customers will eventually go, which makes the Apple Watch already more popular than all rival smartwatches combined.
The Apple Watch will define the wearable computer market like the iPad defined the tablet market and the iPhone defined the smartphone market. Other companies have to see what Apple does before they can come out with their own versions. Yet all rivals lack the integration of devices that the Apple Watch promises with smartphones, tablets, computers, and TV sets.
The Apple Watch is just one more way people are going to keep a computer with them at all times. Just as people can’t imagine a day without their cell phone any more, now people will start to wonder how anyone got along without a wearable computer in the future. When that day comes, it will be because the Apple Watch led the way.