There have been a lot of headlines and discussions centering around Apple’s upcoming watch. Of course Apple isn’t the first company to enter the emerging smartwatch market. Samsung, Motorola and Asus have released smartwatches in the past year while Apple’s version, called the Apple Watch, went on sale April 15th.
Besides the standards you would expect from any smartwatch—a choice of watch faces, keeping time within 50 milliseconds—Apple promises other features to make their watch useful. For example when communicating with friends or family, you’ll be able to send direct messages, send taps which they’ll feel, drawings you make, or even send your heartbeat. In fact, like other recent smart fitness-tracking devices, Apple tells us that their watch will be able to track your daily routines and suggest life-style changes based on what it learns over time.
Of course beyond fun and fitness, Apple is planning multiple decorative and personalization options to suit each owner’s style. Business partners will assuredly line up to make custom accessories as well. Other features that are expected include: Bluetooth technology, retina (or high definition) display, wi-fi connectivity, motion detection via a gyroscope, and a microphone to make or receive calls. Additionally, the display will feature what Apple is calling a ‘Force Touch’ screen which is currently not available elsewhere in the smart device market—something new and interesting the market is eager to test out. Lastly, the watch will be water resistant, assuring that no one sees their new investment ruined by the next rainstorm.
In staying with their historical use of third party vendors to develop custom applications to take their devices beyond their base functions and options, no doubt the new Apple Watch will see its most impactful and exciting uses emerge as the development community figures out what its mix of sensors and functions can do to make our lives easier and more fun. It’s likely that only after these third-party applications are created, purchased, and fully vetted by an intrigued public will we truly know if the iWatch is something which will live past its initial release.
According to some, wearable technology is just a passing fad; they point to how “Google Glass—computerized eye wear” came and went as proof that wearable tech’s time has not yet come. However, in the near term it appears there’s more than enough interest in the Apple Watch’s features for a lot of people to make the initial investment. We are watching to see if, as the iPod broke the mold for music players and captured the hearts—and ears—of millions, and the iPad broke open the tablet market to usher in a new era in portability and functionality, whether Apple’s new gem will prove that the smartwatch’s time has finally come. If so, perhaps another Apple product will be the one to set the bar for an industry—Apple has done it before and millions are watching to see if they can do it again. So, here’s to you, Dick Tracey, consumer reality may be finally catching up to the amazing abilities of your comic book wrist watch.