Apple Watch: Apple is right on the money

Here's what Apple said without actually saying it - and why it matters
Apple is right on the money

New information on the Apple Watch might have seemed thin on the ground at Tim Cook's 9 March press event but there's plenty to learn about its first smartwatch if you read between the lines.

Must have extras: Best Apple Watch accessories

In fact, there was so much that Apple said without actually saying it, that we now know exactly what its hopes, expectations and even likely outcomes of the Apple Watch launch actually are. Here's what's really going on.

Expensive but worth it

If you were expecting the Apple Watch to start for any less than £299, then you don't know Apple.

From the design of its most recent Apple Store in China - as unveiled in a video at the start of the event - through to the in-depth look at the anodised aluminium and stainless steel processing used in the production of the watches, Apple is fabulous at instilling that sense of quality throughout everything it does.

We, the consumers, see how special and authentic all of that is and we want to be a part of it. We want to buy those watches and those laptops, we want to shop in those stores and feel special too, and that simply doesn't work unless the Apple products are a little more expensive than the competition.

With the Moto 360 and Samsung Gear watches only around £50 less themselves, it's really not that much of a stretch to opt for an Apple Watch Sport instead. Beginning at £479, though, the more attractive Apple Watch range is where most will have their designs, and that extra push to buy it makes things all the more exclusive. It certainly won't put some customers off. After all, these are the same people who could afford to spend £600 on the iPhone that goes with it.

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As for the Apple Watch Edition, you can pick one of those up from between £8,000-£12,000. Does Apple expect to sell lots of these? No. That's why it's just a limited run but, made from 18-karat gold and with that heightened sense of exclusivity, you wouldn't bet against them selling out.

So, yes, Apple Watch isn't cheap but given the thousands clamouring to get their hands on one, the high-grade materials they're made from, the carefully designed interface and that feeling that of owning something special, we'd say that represents value.

Where were the apps?

Instagram, Uber, Shazam and American Airlines; sure, we saw some apps but let's not pretend for a second that this was the software display we were expecting or normally get from Apple.

With the first iPad, Gameloft and EA were invited on stage to show off the likes of Need For Speed. Steve Sprang from Brushes demoed how Apple's tablet could be used as an artist's creative tool, and Phil Schiller himself had a good 30 minutes up there with great detail of how Keynote, Numbers and all the Apple work apps were just perfect for this brand new device. By the time the iPad launch event had ended, everyone knew that they wanted one, and everyone knew what they wanted one for.

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For Apple Watch, there was very little of the same certainty and no special guest developers to help convince us. In fact, there's was really nothing shown off that can't already be done from an iPhone. So, it seems that Apple is human after all. Just like everyone else, it's not entirely sure what smartwatches are for and it's quite happy to have the 1,000+ submissions for Apple Watch apps, at the time of writing, help to figure that out.

Will those uses come? Of course they will. Are smartwatches here to stay? Most certainly, and even if Apple itself might not have all the answers, it's certainly on the right track. We saw smart home demos from Alarm.com, access credential ideas from W Hotels plus a very clear and early display on how Apple Pay can work from your wrist. These and the health and fitness uses are exactly what wearables are about.

If Tim Cook and the gang need a little help with imagination beyond that, then that's no different to anyone else, and no great shame either. It's Apple's entry into the market alone that will be enough to inspire it. Let's not forget that there was no 3G and no third party apps for the original iPhone.

The perfect model

It was uncomfortable, a little eggy but certainly the right decision to choose supermodel and marathon runner Christy Turlington to champion the Apple Watch. Apple could have gone for a sports star instead but that's not what this device is all about. It's for people who aspire to exercise a little more, not for actual triathletes.

More obviously, of course, Christy is an embodiment of fashion and style - something that all wearables need to be. So, Apple has been absolutely clear that this is not a watch for tech geeks. That's what Pebble is about.

The Watch is a good-looker first and foremost. It can be feminine, it's subtle and it's something that anyone might want to wear. So, while getting developers on stage to show off their apps might have been useful, a person to model how attractive and appealing it can be was far more crucial.

CarPlay for Apple Watch

Park your BMW from your smartwatch

"Every major brand has committed to CarPlay," said Tim Cook at the beginning of the event. That's a very important step for Apple Watch too. While CarPlay is more about connecting your iPhone to your car - so that you can use Siri and your dashboard touchscreen for calls, messages, music and such - the fact that Apple has got all the car companies on side is what counts.

We've seen how Audi and LG wowed the crowds at CES 2015 by driving a car onto the stage using a wristwatch and there's clearly an important link up between wearables and one's automobile. It's not too tricky too see how a proximity sensor could direct you to your vehicle in a crowded car park from Apple Watch or how the device could be used to unlock doors and start engines or even just vibrate when it's time to turn off the motorway.

Ultimately, there is an oddly natural marriage between cars and watches that no one's yet to really define. While we've seen a handful of likely application areas for smartwatches begin to rise, cars is an important high-end area that could really help one company differentiate its wearable offering from the others. Getting all of those brands committed puts Apple in pole position.

Mickey Mouse watch?

Just what on Earth is this obsession with the Mickey Mouse Apple Watch face? Ok, so the Mickey Mouse watch is an iconic design. We get that, but surely there has to be another version of something fun that one can choose? After all, it's not going to be to everyone's taste.

Well, presumably Apple Watch just doesn't come with that many faces to choose from. You can customise those that are there with colour and information detail - and we like that very much - but it seems that it's going to be down to the third parties to find your own favourite way of telling the time. That said, it might require jailbreaking if you're after something with a little more cachet.

So, has Apple got it right?

The short answer is yes. The event wasn't the all-questions-answered smartwatch showcase that we'd all been hoping for but it's very clear that the Cupertino company knows exactly what it's doing.

The Apple Watch itself is physically a little safer than it is exciting. Still, there's a style and a price for everyone at launch which is more than any other wearable to date can say.

Just watch it sell.

6 Comments

  • RamyaS says:

    As usual Apple made revolution in technology again and again.Its time for apple watch,They designed to be both fashionable and functional, available in an array of different color and materials with six different types of watch straps that are easily interchangeable.

    <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUvH32_aUBw">Apple Watch Models</q>

    • Extraneus says:

      The Apple Watch comes with nothing new in comparison to it's much older competitors. It's design is mediocre at best; too feminine for men, too bulky for women. It is, of course, completely overpriced for a relatively useless device - much like it's competitors, mind you... And what a ridiculous comparison anyway; the Apple Watch is only useful for iPhone users, just like Samsung gear is usable for Samsung users... It's not like the customers actually have a choice.

      • yannick_camus says:

        Actually they have,
        Someone made avaible an apk for motorola 360 to work with iphone,
        So you can already get the notification from your iphone to your android watch just by making ios thinking of android watch as a pebble one (no jailbreak in that)

        source : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIIYmVSc9Yw

  • yannick_camus says:

    Actually Motorola 360 cost 80£ not 250£ as motorola pay back 50£ for it and you can find it as cheap as 130£. (France here it is but not a sub sale, well known market).
    So its more a 299£ vs 80£ that we are talking about i could get 3 motorola 360 for 1 sport... almost 5 for 1 standard watch, let alone the luxurious one wich i wont argue. 

  • JimmyLee says:

    Not impressed at all and the iWatch is a massive step back in the smart watch realm.  Not saying it won't sell, because it will end up being the best seller.  It brings little to the table and the design is beyond awful.  As a watch aficionado  it does not speak to me at all.

  • db4ip says:

    It is at the Apple events that Steve a Jobs is missed most. Not only was he the CEO but the Chief Putchman for the company. He knew how to make you want something that you didn't even realize you needed. Tim Cook is a decent man but you can tell he is uncomfortable being on stage. This is why he should have kept Scott Forstall. He was as comfortable as Steve was on that big stage.

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