Apple Watch: 5 Facts, 5 Questions - InformationWeek

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3/5/2015
01:30 PM
Kelly Sheridan
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Apple Watch: 5 Facts, 5 Questions

As Apple's March 9 event approaches, we break down what we know, and what we want to know, about Apple Watch.
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(Image: Apple)

(Image: Apple)

Now that Apple has released the invitations for its upcoming press event on March 9, rumors are flying about the Apple Watch that's expected to debut that day. It's time to separate fact from fiction -- while giving Apple our own list of demands, of course.

Wearable tech has been around for some time but has failed to generate much excitement among consumers. Devices such as Microsoft Band, Fitbit, and Jawbone are nifty for tracking fitness data and getting smartphone notifications, but most are perceived as little more than pricey accessories.

Can Apple Watch assume leadership of an otherwise dull market? The energy around its upcoming event suggests the possibility. After the watch was announced in September 2014, smartwatches have been getting some serious attention.

However, not all attention is positive. Despite its modern design and promised functionality, many consumers fail to see what Apple Watch will offer that smartphones do not. Plenty of us have already abandoned wristwatches altogether in favor of iPhones, which are required for the Apple Watch to function, and many consumers don't see the value for the watch's price tag.

[Not buying Apple Watch? Check out these gadgets instead.]                                       

There is little doubt that the watch will make a smaller splash than did the iPhone, but that doesn't mean it will be a flop, either. We may be underestimating it. Shortly after it was announced last year, Morgan Stanley predicted that Apple would sell 10 million to 30 million smartwatches in 2015, and said that 30 million is an "arguably still conservative" estimate.

Morgan Stanley's isn't the only opinion holding that Apple could drive market growth. When it comes to consumer tech, we can usually trust Apple to turn heads -- and spark sales. Now that the company is venturing into the wearables space, its competitors are preparing for battle.

Early smartwatch player Pebble got a boost from a Kickstarter campaign designed to garner funds for the color smartwatch Pebble Time. The project raised more than $10 million overall, and $1 million in just 30 minutes, a new record for the crowdfunding site. Pebble expects the smartwatch to roll out in May 2015, which is about a month after the anticipated availability of Apple Watch.

What will Pebble -- and other wearable makers -- be competing with? On the following pages, we take a look at five things we can expect from Apple Watch, followed by a few questions we hope Apple will answer on March 9. After you've reviewed these, we want to know what you think about Apple watch -- and wearables in general. Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
3/9/2015 | 8:33:20 AM
Re: It will be neither a hit nor a flop
"If instead the functionality comes from the watch, then the screen (or whatever display device you want) becomes the accessory, picture having a $100 phone sized screen for home use and another for the office, a $100 tablet sized screen and just for the heck of it something a little larger at home.   Now I get acess to all my stuff on all my "devices" because they're basically only one device."

 

This is a future that I've been predicting for quite some time.  I don't' think that the watch is going to be the brains of the crew but it does fit into that schema.  I suspect that a pocketable sized smart phone sized device will handle the functionality and screens will range from watches to tablets to desktop displays and TVs.  I don't know that I'm sold on smart watches yet and that is mainly because in my mind they really should just be a small simple screen for specific apps on your smartphone and should be priced accordingly. 

 
jamieinmontreal
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jamieinmontreal,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2015 | 8:15:12 AM
Re: It will be neither a hit nor a flop
@Soozyg - I see what you're saying but the control doesn't need to be via the watch screen; that's what the "dumb" terminal / handset would be for.   I think the key point is about use case, when would I need a device that I wear as opposed to one that I carry?   When I'm exercising perhaps?   Maybe at events where discretion was required and a glowing screen was perhaps a little indelicate?

I suppose existing watch / handset combos address that functionality to an extent, you just need to have the handset with you to have anything useful happen with the watch.

If instead the functionality comes from the watch, then the screen (or whatever display device you want) becomes the accessory, picture having a $100 phone sized screen for home use and another for the office, a $100 tablet sized screen and just for the heck of it something a little larger at home.   Now I get acess to all my stuff on all my "devices" because they're basically only one device.

Think of the implications for BYOD... part of the challenge that organisations face is the proliferation of devices, now we're down to one device and multiple displays.   Managing identities related to one device is a bit simpler that multiple identities shared across many devices.

It's going to be interesting.   I feel the large companies (Samsung and Apple) will market hard and aggressively against this concept - can't have someone disrupt $700 handset sales after all, especially if it means the $700 accessory sale for the watch disappears too.

However, if it gets some space in the market and if developers catch on we may see some really interesting things happen as new types of displays start to come on line...
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
3/6/2015 | 10:08:01 PM
Re: It will be neither a hit nor a flop
@Jamieinmontreal, interesting concept...and I'd tout it, except the keyboard on a smartwatch is so small, it think control would be an issue.
jamieinmontreal
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jamieinmontreal,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2015 | 4:30:19 PM
Re: It will be neither a hit nor a flop
Here's an interesting twist... instead of the watch being tethered to the handset, what if it was the other way around?

All the smarts are in the wristband and it syncs with a larger "phone sized" screen.   That idea intrigues me because the "dumb" screen could then be any size.   Picture leaving a screen at home, having one in the office, maybe a GPS link-up for the car which could tie in to the car's display.   Extend from there to home automation but the smart device that identifies you and manages all the interactions is a watch.

Even cooler, look at flexible materials as wearables, architectural plans being transported on flexible displays that we could then interact with based on the connectivity and processing power on our wrist.

No matter what the larger display - as long as it has connectivity you're good to go...

I WISH I'd thought of it first but credit goes to Simon Tian for Neptune Duo...:)

 

 
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
3/6/2015 | 3:33:24 PM
Apple Watch is a waste of time!
The dependence of this watch on being teathered to an iPhone for connectivity and location awareness makes it waste, in my book. I know people who no longer buy watches because they always have their phone on hand. When I'm running, I don't want to (and don't need to) carry a phone. My GPS watch has all the sensors I need. I'm with Tom that this will be neither a big success or a big failure, but with Apple, anything less than complete success falls short of expectations.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
3/6/2015 | 4:43:30 AM
Re: It will be neither a hit nor a flop
That's true - for wearables, not only Apple but also many other vendors like Samsung, did not get to the breaking point so far. There is no amazing product available so that people cannot live without them like smartphone. I am not sure how the future will look like. But at least for the moment wearables did not gain enough popularity.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
3/5/2015 | 5:05:51 PM
Re: It will be neither a hit nor a flop
I agree with both of you. It will be hot for a while, and a lot of people will complain how expensive it is and it will fall short in some way (or many ways) and then it people won't bother anymore.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
3/5/2015 | 4:16:30 PM
Re: It will be neither a hit nor a flop
I can see that happening. It seems like it'll be a hit among big Apple fans, gadget junkies, tech-savvy fashionistas, etc. but I don't see a great need for average consumers to buy. It's more of a nice-to-have than a must-have.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2015 | 4:13:20 PM
It will be neither a hit nor a flop
My prediction is that Apple Watch will sell reasonably well, but won't really catch on. I just don't see a killer app for it.
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