Apple Watch

The Apple Watch was in the making for some time.  Anyone interested to find relevant information to get a scoop before official release could certainly have found it.  There has certainly been a growing market for such devices and various technologies have now made it possible at commercial price points.  The big question is: Where is the value in such devices?

By a pure feature standpoint, there isn’t much above and beyond what a user can currently do with their smartphone: check messages, respond to notifications, get directions, etc.  All of these types of events are now mundane.  Tim Cook was certainly very careful to emphasis that the watch was already coming with many features with open app development soon to follow.  So besides the fashion statement of strapping $350 dollars to one’s wrist, what is so interesting?

In my mind, there are some significant aspects of a always-on, wearable piece of computing that take it beyond the capabilities of a smart phone and therefore merit a closer examination.  These remarkable respects can be defined in two distinct vectors: convenience and sensory.

Convenience

There is a very real convenience in being able to quickly respond to events and messages.  For users that are pulling their phone out of their pocket hundreds of times a day will certainly enjoy the convenience of swiping away messages and notifications from their wrist.  In social contexts, it is certainly much more acceptable to glance and perhaps touch an element on the wrist rather than presenting a barrier of a screen in whatsoever form.  Although the Apple Watch is still fundamentally tethered to the iPhone, using data, wifi, and app interactions, these certainly are the first steps getting to minimalist, least-invasive, world of life with technology.

Apple touted Apple Pay in the same announcement with the Apple Watch.  There is certainly a market for convenient and secure payment systems.  Who wouldn’t want to get rid of wallets altogether and simply wear it unlocking it with the best key literally on hand?

Sensory

Sensory is much more meaningful when the information returned carries biometrics and other continuous streams of data.  Fitness and health information coming live and streaming can determine the difference between life and death.  There is no question that Apple has been following the growing trend for fitness, health, and wearables and simply needed a good time to introduce the next, natural spaces for melding consumer need to product.

Although not as prominently described, the haptic feedback features of the watch were some of the most profound.  The ability to send emotional responses, taps, gestures, and even a heartbeat, creates of class of unparalleled interaction that even the most savvy of mobile app developers haven’t successfully embarked upon.  Given our super-saturated world of communication, defining new modes of communication is difficult.  Finding a mode that is altogether more personal and human as that of touch and transferring the experience well is ground-breaking for the consumer electronics space.  If any company can find some beach head for these types of technologies for the end-user, then it is Apple.

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