Yesterday Tim Cook stood up and announced that there was “one more thing”. We expected it, but after months of speculation, the Apple Watch (thankfully not called the “iWatch”) was unveiled.
No doubt we’ll soon see in-depth breakdowns of the inner workings of the device itself and benchmarking results with its competitors.
We’ll also see the bizarre hatred that any and all Apple devices generate from Android fanboys, and also the equally baffling blind love from the Apple fanboys. No real surprises there.
The Apple Watch is not the first smart watch. As a company, Apple firmly avoid the MVP model and instead wait to present a product that will generally woo the masses. Make no mistake, the Apple Watch will shift millions of units. In that sense, it’s a game changer for wearable tech.
Current smart watches are gadgets for gadget lovers. It’s all a little weird. You may catch people giving you strange glances. Maybe a question or two directed at you and the occasional “ooooh”. Very few of those people will head to their local retail store to buy one though.
I imagine that at some point in 2015, you’ll hop on your train for your daily commute and you’ll see a crowd of people all sporting the Apple Watch. They’ll be a variety of colours and straps and they’ll be on the wrists of every demographic you can think of. This isn’t because it’s the best smart watch, or the prettiest, but because it’s got the full brand juggernaut of Apple behind it and they sure as hell know how to sell a product.
A few things stood out for me. Apple were clearly marketing the device for the casual user. Examples of use were simple communication between friends; arranging lunch dates and browsing cinema listings. Everyday tasks for normal people.
His and her sizes, a multitude of colours and strap choices mean that it really is the smart watch for everyone.
A crucial factor behind the success of the Apple Watch will be how well it fits in with the wider Apple ecosystem. I imagine that after a couple weeks of it being strapped to your wrist you won’t remember how you managed without it. That is Apple’s speciality.
And then of course, there are the 3rd party apps. They’re the driving force behind the iPhone and iPad and it will be exciting to see what developers can dream up, and plough resources into, if the Apple Watch really does shift large quantities of units. I can’t wait to start designing for it with the guys at Degree 53.
My happiest moment of the whole night though was the sight of a new typeface in use for the Apple Watch. We’ve not seen much of it, but it has similarities to the lovely FF DIN. Apple have confirmed that it’s a bespoke typeface made in-house, and I’m hoping we might finally see a shift away from Helvetica Neue. I’ve been hammering on about how poor a choice Helvetica Neue is for a UI ever since it was foolishly introduced alongside iOS7 and Mavericks.
For now though, relax. Head out with your loved one to a restaurant with the knowledge that for the next month or two you won’t be glancing around a room of people all staring at their wrists instead of, you know, actually talking to one another.