Thinking Out Loud

Apple Watch

Fri, Oct 31, 2014

So it’s been awhile since Apple debuted the Apple Watch and there are a few things that I still find very interesting.

Thinking back to the keynote, Apple stressed several times that the Apple Watch was an extremely precise timepiece. At the time I kind of laughed that off. I mean really, how many of us actually care EXACTLY what time it is? But now I’m thinking that was just their way of saying that they’re entering the watch market, not the ‘smart watch’ market. And if Apple is to make a watch, it’s going to be the best thing on the market for watch type things – like keeping time.

One of the other things that I find very interesting is what Apple is calling Digital Touch.1 This is the feature that lets you remotely tap on a friends wrist, send them little drawings and even your heartbeat. I’ve heard a lot of people laughing at this feature very dismissively but I think this is going to be the sleeper hit of the Apple Watch. My immediate reaction was the following use case:

I walk to work every morning. My girlfriend works nearby and we have a standing Thursday morning coffee date. So every Thursday I text her before I leave my place and again when I get close, the first to let her know I’m on my way and the second to let her know to head down stairs. Texting isn’t the hardest thing in the world but it does involve me staring at my phone long enough to type in something to send her.

With the Apple Watch the interaction could be as simple as one tap – I’m heading out the door. Two taps – Come on down. Three taps – Hurry up! I need coffee! 2

That seems far simpler to me. As for the drawings and heartbeat, these things may seem gimmicky right now but I really do think it’s going to create an entirely new, unobtrusive form of communication. Back to my coffee example – we sometimes get together on other days also. I’ll usually text her asking if she’s free for coffee but I could just draw a coffee cup and then a question mark. Yes, this is not needed. Yes texting works fine. But why shouldn’t communicating with someone I love be fun? Yes sending her a doodle of a flower during the middle of the day might be cheesy but you know what? I bet it will put a smile on her face.

My last little tidbit is about the marketing thus far. I’m not the first person to note this but Apple sure seems to be marketing this as a fashion watch – not a tech/smart watch. They invited a host of people in the fashion industry to the announcement event and recently the Apple Watch has been on display at Paris Fashion Week.3 Apple has most definitely entered into a new product category.

  1. Another thing to note is that the Apple Watch only has two hardware buttons on it, and one of them is dedicated to getting you in communication with your friends. This is going to be huge. 

  2. I’d rarely have to use three taps. She’s usually very prompt and way more addicted to coffee than I am.