Watch is finally here! We can finally put the rumors and speculation behind us, and start reading article after article from the usual suspects about how great it is, what a huge failure it is, and how Samsung had the smart watch first. Good grief.
As I watched the keynote video, my initial thought was that it was ugly. But then they showed the various bands that will be available, and the smaller size watch that will also be available. I found at least three that fit my personal style. I think this will be key to the Watch’s success. My only concern with regard to the bands are with the ones that use magnetic closure. How strong are those magnets? Will they hold tight with vigorous exercise? Time will tell.
The next question I had about bands is “will I be able to buy different bands?” I suspect Apple won’t sell bands separately, but I’m betting 3rd party vendors will make bands that fit the Watch almost immediately. And I predict it will be a huge market.
Some initial questions immediately came up on Twitter and Facebook as the keynote went on. In reading follow-up articles yesterday, at least some of those questions were apparently answered by Apple reps in the demo hall. Here are just a few:
- Is the Watch water-resistant or waterproof? According to one report, it is water-resistant. Of course people complained about that initially, but I don’t find it to be that big of a deal. Would you wear a Tag Heuer or Rolex in the pool or swimming in the ocean? I certainly wouldn’t.
- Can left-handed users wear and operate the Watch comfortably? Again, initial reports indicate that you can turn the watch around so the crown is on the left side of the watch an the screen will flip around just as it would on the iPhone when you flip it upside down. Because you use the crown for more than simply winding the watch and setting the time, this is also a key to success.
- Can you make phone calls with the Watch? Though they didn’t specifically mention it in the keynote, apparently you can. While this is a nice option, I don’t see it as being one of the most used features when the watch is released next year.
- What is the battery life like? Nobody seems to know for sure, I’ve heard “all day battery life” thrown around quite a bit. Given how many times per day one would raise their wrist to check the time, email & text notifications, or just to show it off, Apple would almost certainly have to know that anything short of a full 20+ hours of battery life is almost a bare minimum. Anything less will likely hinder sales greatly.
The selection of watch faces is another area that will be key in decision making for consumers. Are the faces that Apple provides the only options, or will 3rd party developers be able to offer “face collections” to users? The ability to customize the face of the watch is really nice, but I suspect people will want the option to do more than what Apple offers. Again, time will tell.
When I look at the app icons on the promo images, I can see that the Watch can act as a remote for taking photos with your iPhone. But I also see the Remote app icon. Will that mean we can control iTunes on our Macs, as well as navigate the AppleTV? Could the Watch be the voice-activated remote for the mythical AppleTV we’ve been hearing about for years? I also read somewhere (or maybe it was mentioned in the keynote?) that the Watch can be used as a walkie-talkie. What the future holds for the Watch is amazing to think about.
With a starting price tag of $350, the Watch is clearly not playing in the Pebble or Android wearables sandbox. Instead, Apple is creating their own market just as they did with the iPhone and iPad. I suspect the cost for the 18K gold Edition model will approach $800, but with Apple you just never know. This is a high-end smart watch, not your sub-$200 Walmart special. If I were betting, I would say Apple is going to sell millions-upon-millions of these things in short order. You can probably expect to see them on the wrists of celebrities and athletes within a month of going on sale. Once that happens, they’ll take their place next to the iPad as the “standard” for smart watches.