Saturday, January 31, 2015

Apple Watch: Novelty or Necessity

Apple’s Watch – Scheduled in Spring

The much waited Apple’s Watch is scheduled to be launched in spring and analyst firm CCS Insight firm indicate that over 40 million smartwatches together with fitness bands would be sold in 2015, primarily driven by Apple’s new device.

 Presently, the functions of the smartwatches is quite limited with most of them being used in telling the time though some would require the need to press a button or flick one’s wrist in order to activate the screen. Several of them could also be used as an extension to the smartphone enabling the user to identify the caller, read text messages as well as check on upcoming appointments.

Another interesting feature is the capabilities of tracking activity, which could include the number of steps one has taken as well as the heart rate wherein the data could be fed to a mobile application which can then provide tips on how to improve the fitness. But smartwatches today have a problem that though they can do all these things, they do not perform particularly well. Smartwatches too could be as expensive as smartphones having batteries that could last for less than a day except for a few like the Pebble and the Basis Peak, they are less convenient than the traditional watches with regards to time and depend mainly on smartphones for all their functions.

Apple – Affluent User Base

The app’s focus during its keynote in September were fairly uninspiring such as the etch-a-sketch-like app which enables the user to draw an image and sent it to another user as well as enables them to transmit the heartbeats through haptic vibration.

According to Ben Wood, CCS Insights’ chief of research, states that the Watch will be successful due to the fact that Apple has an affluent user base and that the company is known for developing beautiful products where the Watch would be both an object of desire as well as a status symbol. Based on this

Apple could probably sell millions of Watches even if the device functions more than just telling the time. But the Watch would need something more if it intends to be an iconic product which could stand against all odds, like the iPod, iPad and iPhone and would need a `killer app’ to be a great hit. No sooner Apple Watch gains success, it will overcome the rest of the Smartwatch market and user not owning iPhone will tend to buy Android Wear Smartwatch which are compatible with their own devices with apps that are created for Apple’s Watch will soon be transposed to Android.

Future Devices – Lighter/Thinner/Appealing 

It could comprise of transport apps informing on which platform to go while at the railway stationor a voice recognition apps which enables the user to `set an alarm for 10 minutes’ by speaking the command. Besides, there is also scope for gaming apps which can take advantage of locations as well as biometric date to enable the user to play with other users of smartwatches. Smartwatches users also have the advantage of sport, news and leisure since they are condensed into quick-looks alerts.

Moreover, smartwatches could also be used for identity as well as home automation for instance; the user could touch the watch to their front door in order to unlock it. It could also be utilised for the purpose of payment, the way contactless cards are used currently. Smartwatches in future would also be less reliant on smartphones with some manufacturers already making headway in these quarters.

Companies related to technology will continue working with fashion brands in making devices lighter, thinner as well as more appealing and traditional watch brands such as GUESS has already begun in bringing about their first `smart’ devices which is expected in being very competitive over a period of time.

Issue Envisaged – Battery Life

The main problem envisaged with smartwatch manufacturers is perhaps the long term battery life and a report from 9to5Mac informs that the Apple’s Watch offers 2.5 hours of continuous usage for processor-intensive applications for games, 3.5 hours for continuous use of standard apps and 4 hours of active fitness tracking.
As the battery technology tends to develop and the devices tend to become more energy efficient, there would be further improvement in due course of time though it could pose as a serious inhibitor for first round adopters.

There could also be other issues which need to be taken into consideration before smartwaches are widely adopted wherein glancing at the watch at wrong time could cause offence and smartwatches would demand more attention than traditional time keeping devices.

For instance while at dinner with colleagues, one may tend to glance at your watch which could be creating an impression of boredom to the other person. Wood is of the opinion that this could be changed whereby looking at a watch becomes socially acceptable or alternatively peoplewill have to exercise some self-control.

It is left to be seen if Apple would be able to uncover the killer app prior to launch which could turn the Smartwatch from a novelty to a necessity.

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