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Apple has finally entered the smartwatch market with the Apple Watch
Apple has finally entered the smartwatch market with the Apple Watch
 









Jury is out on Apple Watch

After years of speculation and rumour, Apple has finally thrown its hat into the smartwatch ring with the release of the much anticipated Apple Watch – but will it affect the traditional watch market?

The smartwatch was unveiled in the US on Tuesday 9 September in conjunction with the release of Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with Apple CEO Tim Cook describing it as “the most personal product we’ve ever made”.

“With Apple Watch, we’ve developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically for a device that’s designed to be worn,” Apple senior vice president of design Jony Ive added.

The device – which wasn’t called the iWatch as many predicted – will be available in three variations: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition. Each model will be offered in two sizes – 38 mm and 42 mm – and in a range of finishes, such as stainless steel, silver anodised aluminium and 18-carat rose or yellow gold. 

The technology giant has developed a range of watchstraps as well, including an elastomer sport band, a flexible stainless steel mesh, and a leather option.

It also features a tool dubbed the “Digital Crown” that according to Apple, provides an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate the user interface without obstructing the display.

With a steady stream of new players entering the smartwatch market – including Swatch Group, which has announced that “smart” features will be included in a line of watches next year – competition is rife and creating a point of difference would seemingly never be more important than what it is now.

Background reading: Google watch a game changer?

One area Apple appears to be setting itself apart is by allowing wearers of the Apple Watch to send and receive text messages and answer phone calls from a linked iPhone – a function that isn’t available in many existing smartwatch models.

The company has also introduced inductive charging, which allows users to snap a magnetic attachment to the watch’s underside to recharge the device, without the need for plugs or cables.

In addition, the smartwatch incorporates a range of health and fitness-related features, such as a built-in heart rate monitor and an app that provides metrics on the user’s workout, collecting historical data to suggest personalised, realistic fitness goals for the user.

Mixed reviews
While the Apple Watch has been one of the most highly speculated products in recent decades, none of the hype was Apple’s doing given that the company never comments on its activities or product developments.

That aside, while the tech world and the traditional watch industry – particularly the Swiss – have been closely monitoring the rumours, Apple’s announcement of its first wearable device has been met with mixed reactions.

Even though the watch is not expected to be available until early 2015, it has already received a range of commentary – see below.

 

WATCHING THE APPLE WATCH – THE JURY IS OUT

“I think the Apple Watch will be successful. But it’s not competition for the classic Swiss watch industry.”

“Apple Watch is the first convincing smartwatch, and we believe it will impact the entire watch industry, but mainly at the low-/mid-end price level.”

“High-end consumers will buy Apple Watch, because it is Apple, but they should not stop buying classical watches. They will have both.”

Read: Swiss watch industry denies threat from Apple Watch


The launch of the Apple Watch this week has raised questions about its impact on the Swiss watch industry. Contrary to Apple designer Jony Ive's remarks that the Swiss watch could be in trouble, there are several reasons why the Swiss have nothing to fear from Apple's success.

Read: Why the Apple Watch is a gift to the Swiss watch industry


Swiss watchmakers, however, believe that the Apple Watch does not pose as a threat to them.
"It looks a little cold, and lacks, for my taste, a bit of personality. It looks perfect, but perfection sometimes has a lack of sexiness. This won't create another crisis for the Swiss watch industry.”

Read: Apple Watch is cool? Luxury watchmakers say NO


The Apple Watch cannot compete with any prestigious watch from a prestigious brand. The only thing you might be able to do with your 18k gold Apple Watch is to melt it down and recoup the few grams of gold; end of story!

The Apple Watch cannot compete at all with European watches. Let’s see what happens next, when they will have improved the following generation. For the time being, however, there is no comparison with the designs of Swiss watchmakers.

Read: Luxury watch industry leader reacts To Apple Watch
 

“The Apple Watch won’t hit the market until early 2015, but I’ve already decided I don't want one. It looks like an elegant, useful and fashionable device. I could see why some others might be counting the days until it hits the Apple stores, but it’s not for me.”

“The watch they showed was fairly stunning, but here are four reasons why I won't be reaching into my wallet any time soon:
1. I’ve never had one, so why do I need it now?
2. It could make my life worse.
3. There are cheaper ways to track your workouts.
4. It will wreak havoc on what’s left of my concentration.”

Read: Apple Watch: why I won’t be buying one


“Yet, unlike the original iPhone, which debuted when android meant something on a sci-fi television show, the Apple Watch is nudging into this crowded category somewhat uninvited.”

“Unlike the old days when the iPhone could differentiate with better apps and a slick interface, the Apple Watch needs to provide some life-changing features for business and personal use. I like how we’ll be able to wave the watch near our hotel room to gain access, and maybe even make purchases without having to pull out a smartphone.”

Read: Is there room in the crowded market for the Apple Watch?


“The Apple Watch looks like a ‘shrunken-down smartphone’.”

“The watch is ‘pure techno porn’, which sounds like praise. Apple should have taken more risks with the shape, perhaps opting for a ‘skyscraper’ form in which the screen wraps around the wrist.”

“But in trying to satisfy everyone Apple may have pleased no one – least of all those looking to make a fashion statement with their watch. People in Silicon Valley will feel very good about it. But honestly, they’re not fashion-forward guys.”

Read: Apple Watch: these top designers aren’t impressed

 

Apple Designs

Apple Watch
Apple Watch
Apple Watch
Apple Watch
Apple Watch
Apple Watch

Apple Watch Sport
Apple Watch Sport
Apple Watch Sport
Apple Watch Sport
Apple Watch Sport
Apple Watch Sport

Apple Watch Edition
Apple Watch Edition
Apple Watch Edition
Apple Watch Edition
Apple Watch Edition
Apple Watch Edition










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