Will the Apple smartwatch take wearables mainstream?

September 30, 2014

Photo: Hadrian / Shutterstock.com

Apple is known for making its products lust-worthy and this is due to three factors: packaging, incomparable functionality and convenience, and the fact that the market, or the world, is ready. Earlier this month, Apple announced its first wearable device, the Apple Watch, and it is due to go on sale next year for $349.

The question is, in an already crowded space, with many tech companies competing for the top spot in wearable devices, is the Apple Watch as breakthrough as the many previous successful Apple products? And is the consumer demand high enough for such a product anyway?

The Specifications

First off, lets look at what the Apple Watch does:

  • Messages and Notifications: You can view messages, Facebook updates, use simplified apps and chat to Siri on your Apple Watch.
  • Apps: The apps seen in the Apple Watch so far include iMessages, Health, Calendar, Weather, Mail, Photos, Camera's shutter button, Passbook (including Apple Pay) and Apple Maps.
  • Additional Features: The Apple Watch also comes with fitness trackers and health sensors to compete with the FitBit Flex, a must-have feature for any wearable these days.

Does it appeal aesthetically?

Apple notoriously produces good-looking products but will their Apple Watch, something a consumer has to wear all the time, be really for everyone?

Style and Strap: The scoop on this is that there are 'collections' of watches available: The standard watch, which draws inspiration from the iPod Nano with a rectangular screen, one dial button (Digital Crown) and one long button. The other two watches are the Apple Watch Sport, complete with bright yellow wristband, and the Apple Watch Edition that combines 18-karat yellow or rose gold for a more luxurious look. Apple has also provided a range of straps from leather buckle to a stainless steel link bracelet.

Watch Faces: The concept behind the watch faces is that they will be completely customizable so each user can choose from the standard watch face to Mickey Mouse to a motion watch face with a moving background. It does only have 11 base watch faces though. Users will be able to change the colors, design elements and add functionality.

Battery Life: The ever-important feature of any technology these days is the battery life. The 5s has nailed it with battery, lasting for days and it seems that Apple is catching up on battery life with the 6 and 6 plus. Tim Cook, Apple's CEO was not specific with details about the battery life of the watch, however, simply suggesting that it will last all day and is 'simple to charge at night.' Charging your watch every night? That is a new habit.

Does the Apple Watch have what it takes?

At this point the analysts are split on whether or not this Apple Watch will act as the breakthrough product in the wearable world. It obviously has some cool features but most fitness bands can cover the fitness tracking functions and smartphones more than cover the rest. The ultimate question is, do users want to carry the world on their sleeve? Is the need there of the iPhone and the convenience of the iPad? The one thing that experts have noticed about the Apple Watch is that it has taken the trend mainstream:

Mainstream: most smart watches developed to date have focused on few features, be that the notifications or the fitness tracking functions. Apple has combined several functions into one watch even though the competition has struggled with size and battery life.

However, it is not yet known how long the battery will last, with predictions around a day. It is also not known how much support third-party apps will have on the device. Only time will tell what hiccups users are faced with in the new Apple Watch and in a similar note, whether consumers are even interested at all?

What do you think? Are you attached to your status-fuelled Rolex or willing to make the leap towards the Apple Watch?

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Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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