Why the Apple Watch Release was the Craziest Thing I've Watched All Year
I knew what was coming…all of it. The 4.7" IPhone 6 combined with a slightly larger 5.5" IPhone and a watch were all expected, not just by me but by everyone. Techradar knew it. Gizmodo knew it. DigitalTrends knew it. All their readers knew it. They knew the size, the specs, the colors, the design, the price, the release date, everything. So why was this confirmation of knowledge, Apple called a release, so crazy?
- Who does that?
Apple is and has consistently been last to market. They were the last major manufacturer to offer a smartphone larger than 4". Samsung’s Galaxy S2 was released in 2011 and had a 4.3" screen. Until Sept. 9, 2014 the largest devices Apple offered, the IPhone 5s and 5c had 4.0" screens. The often touted, “most innovative company in the world” did not seem to care. They kept developing and talking about their products as if they were the first to think of a bigger screen, a higher quality display and a more advanced camera.
“Today, we are launching the biggest advancement in the history of IPhone.”
The smart watch category is no different. LG, Google, Samsung, Pebble all released smart watches before Apple even entered the market and a few of the brands have even had time to launch multiple iterations. Apple, until Sept. 9, 2014 had zero smart watches. They were last, again. They didn't care and what I learned watching the release is that they shouldn't have cared. And that leads into my second point.
2) They Understand
No one gets usability like Apple. They integrate their products into your life in a simple, easy to understand way and I have grown to appreciate just how valuable that is.
It does not matter that the specs of the IPhone 6 are virtually the same as a 2012 Nexus 4 because the software and apps, for me, define the user experience. The simplicity, the clarity, and the extremely well-thought out design creates comfort and trust that is unparalleled by any other major manufacturer. The most incredible part is the consistency of the simplicity, clarity and well-thought out design across all their products and the comfort and trust users feel when using all of them. So why was I shocked that Apple completely change their user interface on the Apple Watch?
Honestly, I have no clue, but I was. The functionality they developed for the watch was genius. When I say genius, I mean they were able to solve “No duh” problems in clever ways.
No duh you can’t see the content on the face of the watch when you need to scroll on the screen with your finger. Let’s take advantage of the crown, a part of the watch that everyone is familiar with but previously had no idea what it was called. Not only were they able to take advantage of that piece of the watch, but they were also able to integrate familiar movements. Yes, everyone who has ever owned a watch has spun the crown up and down which led to a change of an item shown on the face of the watch. Yes, everyone understands the concept of scrolling, zooming in and zooming out and every other action the digital crown controls.
No duh it would be silly to integrate a user interface meant for a phone into a piece of hardware that you put on your wrist. Let’s do more than simply make the IOS UI smaller, let’s arrange the icons to take full advantage of the screen size.
No duh loud notifications on your wrist would be distracting. Let’s alert users through a small vibration that only they can feel and no one else can hear.
And in terms of Apple just flat out understanding, the thing I was most impressed with was that they pulled the customizability card. Apple, Apple? offering customizability? I still can’t believe it. The bands, the watch face and, really for the first time, the layout, in the context of previous apple products, really seems to be up to you.
They really got this right. My mom always said, “Your watch is a representation of you.” The individuality of a watch is part of its appeal and for Apple to not only identify this but to also address this is a really advanced maneuver.
Maybe I am overreacting about the customizability of the watch, as options still are limited, but it really feels to me like an unexpected perk.
3) It’s coming out when??
By the end of the announcement of the Apple Watch to say I was excited is likely an understatement. I was pumped. I was ready to buy one for me, all my family members and everyone I have ever known.
Then Tim Cook identified the release date, early 2015.
The phrase, “early 2015" completely deflated the moment and all the hype and craze the Apple team had manufactured in the previous 30 minutes to an hour.
The excitement went away and I was able to see that they turned a product, which I viewed had a non-existent market, into something I actually thought would be worth a purchase. I felt as though I would not lose the style of a designer brand daily watch while gaining functionality. Before Apple took their shot in the smart watch industry I truly believed LG, Samsung and Google were all making bad investments. A smart watch is not a product consumers are asking for and I do not know if it ever will be. Apple simply made a few people reconsider the value of a smart watch and I am not sold it will be a success, I am simply more intrigued of the possibility that the average consumer will, one day, be wearing a smart watch and this is the first time I thought it might actually happen.
Now I simply have to convince myself waiting for the Apple Watch is worth not receiving any presents over Christmas.