I have been thinking about this post for a long time now, but I have been quite tied up the past few weeks. So much has happened in the ever evolving world of mobile tech: Samsung’s new suite of galaxy and gear fit products, Apple’s iPhone and Apple watch unveiling, and Microsoft’s Windows 10 to name a few. But lets hit one at a time, starting with smart watches.
It’s been no secret that Apple had been developing a smart watch to compete with the likes of the Pebble Steel and Galaxy Gear for the past year and a half. But When they revealed it, my first thought was “Oh, there it is”. Not “Wow, amazing” or “They did it again” but “ok, finally”. Why finally? Because I love the idea of smart watches. But unfortunately the average person doesn’t care that much about a super expensive piece of metal and touch screen on their wrist. Regardless of the great innovation that has transpired in the past three years with smart watches, the market is struggling to gain customer interest other then on niche wrists. Only Apple, I repeat, only Apple can bring the sort of mindless obsession about a product category that was previously niche.
Nothing new. The Apple watch is a good attempt by Apple of creating a product that people will buy. It can sport a variety of sporty, fashionable, and playful bands designed by iconic fashion designers. To me, the bands are the most interesting aspect of the watch. The device itself reminds me of a candy version of the 3rd Gen iPod Touch to say the least, but that’s pretty much it. Perhaps the curved OLED screen is interesting, but the Lumia 800 Windows Phone had been using curved OLEDs sense early 2012. And the newest Galaxy Gear devices take curved OLED’s to a new level and have been doing so for almost a year now. The square form factor is something I thought Apple would definitely avoid, but it seems as if they tried to pull off geometric AND round shape but accidently created a child-like emotion.
Where I think Apple did a marvelous job is with the user interface, excluding the Digital Crown. I love how fluidly information transitions around the screen, and I may stand alone in this, but I love the starting menu with the bubbly icons. I think its a really smart idea given the small real-estate to work with. The zooming in and out gives the watch an extra sense of depth while navigating. Its clever to say the least. If your limited on the x and y axis, why not introduce a z-axis? The icons look crisp, the blacks look black, and the animations are strikingly smooth. I am impressed with the Apple Watch UI. But this doesn’t mean its the best smart watch. There is nothing that the watch offers that competing watches don’t, cough* cough* Android Wear devices. Apple just packages it all in colorfulness, which is good but not enough, especially for a $350 price tag. For $50 less you could snag one of these…
People will buy the Apple watch even if all it does is tell time. Give Jony Ives a few months in the lab with techno beats, consult with a world class fashion designers and health scientists and you’ve got yourself an Apple hit. Am I saying the Apple watch isn’t a good product? No, but its nothing new, mind you, it doesn’t come out until early next year on top of the fact that Apple was already late to the game. But let me not hark. I encourage you to watch the video below.