Devices Opinion

Wearables Wednesday: anticipating the Apple Watch

Apple Watch on Display

It’s Wearables Wednesday again, and once more, it’s unfortunately almost impossible this month without mentioning the elephant in the room – the Apple Watch.

So once again we have succumbed to the temptation to add to the countless thousands of pages written about Apple’s newest device. And with only 9 days until the watch ships (preorders started on Friday, 10th April), let’s examine what there is to look forward to when we finally get our hands on one.

Apple Watch anticipation

It’s no secret that here at Mobile Industry Review, several members of staff have already ordered an Apple Watch, and indeed I believe that Ewan intends to try out the Sport model.

Apple Watch Order

In my case, I ordered the 42 mm Apple Watch Sport in space grey with a black rubber band. According to various news sources over the last week, that’s the most popular configuration, and one that sold out the quickest. That’s no surprise when you consider price factors, and the fact that it’s perhaps the best-looking Sport model.

When ordering the device at 8.01 am on Friday last week, shipping times were already quoted as between 4-6 weeks. However, it’s just possible that the shipping dates will be sooner than those quoted, according to an email exchange recently between Apple forum members and company executives.

Apple Watch Space Grey
The Space Grey Apple Watch Sport.


It’s true that we’re all looking forward to the Apple Watch, as early tech adopters and keen followers of the mobile industry, but what else is there to be excited about for Apple Watch?

First off, it’s hard to argue that the Apple Watch does look like a sexy piece of kit – it’s all a matter of personal taste of course in terms of styling, but from the dozens of video reviews and prerelease images I’ve seen, the build quality appears excellent (typical of Apple) and the attention to detail is said to be impressive. So there’s the initial novelty of wearing a gadget that can do all manner of things, not least of which is making phone calls through a connected iPhone.

RELATED: Why the Apple Watch will be a hit…

Uber Apple WatchThe convenience factor is also part of the Apple Watch’s appeal – no more pulling out an iPhone to check an email that invariably turns out to be spam. Quickly being able to see notifications of all types at the flick of the wrist seems like a great way to save time and be more productive, besides the appeal of just being able to speak a reply via Siri to a Facebook message or email.

Is it so hard to pull a phone out of my pocket and check messages? Yes it is, when you’re on a busy train or running to catch a taxi, or driving to a meeting – surely using the Watch is going to make these kind of quick, glancing notifications so much easier to handle?

All about the apps

In terms of apps, there are already said to be more than a thousand apps available for the Apple Watch at launch. A thousand apps. I’ve not crunched the numbers, but that’s surely more than available for Android Wear smartwatches, a platform that’s been around for almost two years.

While we’re on the topic of apps and Android, Google’s smartphone OS has the upper hand in terms of raw numbers, but at least as far as smartwatches are concerned, Apple just beat Android Wear’s total sales (across several manufacturers) with an estimated million sold in just 6 hours. Apple might lose the numbers game for iOS, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen for smartwatches for quite some time.

Apple Watch Health Apps

I’m optimistic that it’s going to be the wide variety of killer apps that will make the Apple Watch an essential companion device in the long run. There are already dozens of app genres such as fitness tracking to travel apps (Uber, for example), but it’s likely that the best apps haven’t even been thought of yet.

In the last week alone, 13 new health apps were announced for the device, and AgileBits, who makes the 1Password app that works on computers, phones and tablets, announced on Tuesday it will be available for Apple Watch: “If you need the code to open your garage door, one of your one-time passwords, or to look up your credit card number while phoning in an order for pizza, 1Password is right there for you”. Will this be the first killer app?

Apple Watch 1Password

What is a smartwatch for?

It has been claimed by many that nobody yet knows what a smartwatch is really for, but that’s likely to change as developers get to grips with the new device. Will fitness and activity tracking become popular? Will the watch be used to play simple, touch-based games? Will we use it for phone calls and video calls more than anything else? Nobody yet knows, but it’s going to be exciting to see the breadth and range of apps over the coming year.

The Apple Watch is just beginning, and will be refined and improved over successive generations. Just as nobody really knew what the iPad was for when it launched in 2007, Apple’s new wearable may eventually give rise to a whole new ecosystem of wrist-based apps that make life more convenient and fun.

By Roland Banks

Roland Banks has been passionate about mobile technology for the past 20 years. He started his career at British Telecom's research division working on collaborative virtual reality environments, before becoming a video streaming specialist at 3 UK where he helped launch some of the world's first mobile video services. More recently he enjoys writing about his obsession, and developing software that helps mobile operators analyse their subscriber data.

Roland has lived in Asia for the past 5 years, and tries to indulge his other passion for riding motorcycles whenever possible.

One reply on “Wearables Wednesday: anticipating the Apple Watch”

“but that’s surely more than available for Android Wear smartwatches, a platform that’s been around for almost two years.”

Almost 2 years? It was announced March 2014 and the first watches came out in June 2014. By that kind of reckoning, the Apple Watch has already been out for almost 6 months.

Also, I’m not sure if an app count is going to be that useful or accurate (not that this is going to stop anyone from using app count in “which is better” arguments). For a lot of the apps I’ve seen, all they’re doing is reusing the built in notifications functionality (so things like hotel apps that let you know that you’re going to be checking in today and don’t actually do all that much else). Their Android counterparts already have exactly the same functionality with Android Wear, it’s just that the marketing departments aren’t making a song and dance about it (or possibly even aware of it).

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