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The Summer of the Smartwatch

The Apple Watch “Sport” – Source: Geeky Gadgets

The summer of 2014 will most probably be remembered as the summer our watches became aware of their surroundings.

Samsung and LG decided to get their foot in the door first by announcing their first generation of smartwatches, and that they will run on Google’s operating system – Android Wear. Motorola (which had already announced its smartwatch in March) finally unveiled the final product in September. Apple decided to join the race a week later by announcing its Apple Watch.

Although, after the release of Android Wear operating system devices, technology blogs and websites agreed that there was something missing from each product. The LG G is not usable under sunlight, which makes the product impractical. Why would I spend $250 on a watch that I can’t even use during the day!? The Samsung Gear Live doesn’t seem to have a good battery life, which again, is terribly impractical.

Both of those devices also look horrible in terms of design. There was such a big outcry about the design of these watches that LG announced a second smartwatch with rounded corners just so it could compete with Motorola.

The Moto 360 had everyone convinced that Motorola had done the impossible: designing a smartwatch with a rounded interface! Both LG and Samsung have made their watch square shaped which didn’t seem to appeal to many people. But the Moto 360 and its circular shape reminded us of a normal looking watch, only smarter!

The industry was waiting for the Moto 360 to come and steal the show, but after the first round of reviews most people were utterly disappointed with its battery life. A watch that will only work for half a day is not worth being called a watch – you might as well just stick with your phone.

After all, I believe, the main point of having a smart watch is to prevent an everyday person from pulling their phone out of their pocket solely to check the time and messages/emails etc. Personally, I do it at least 20 times an hour, especially if I’m sitting in a boring lecture. So if these companies think that I’m going to spend at least $200 on a piece of technology that won’t last me at least a full day, they should know that they will not be getting my money.

The language they used to describe their products has grabbed the attention of many people who wouldn’t normally even think about having a smartwatch.

Everyone’s’ attention now shifted towards Apple. Due to all the rumours leaking out of Apple HQ for the last couple of years, people had been waiting for Apple to announce its own smartwatch. But Apple being Apple, they never told us what they were going to announce this year. After revealing the iPhone 6 – and a new payment system called Apple Pay – Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, decided to pull an old trick on the millions of people watching the event. He used Steve Jobs’ famous line which always preceded an important and unpredictable announcement at the end his keynotes: “One more thing!”

After that, Cook officially announced the Apple Watch, and went on to explain how it was designed and how it is going to become the most personal piece of technology Apple has ever made.

And now we come to realise which company is more likely to win the race as things stand right now.

The answer is clearly Apple, and, for me, it all comes down to one thing: Marketing.

Apple knows exactly how to create hype and knows exactly when to take advantage of it. They almost never invent an entirely new product. They look at what’s already out there, make it simple and then using the most modern strategies, market it to the everyday person.

In an interview with Charlie Rose, Tim Cook explains this quite nicely. He says that Apple has reinvented industries many times before. They did it with the iPod. He says the iPod was not the first MP3 player; rather it was the first modern MP3 player which an everyday person found easy to understand and use. The same principle applies to the iMac, the iPhone and the iPad. There had been many products that were released prior to any of the “iProducts”, and yet each of those redefined the industry in their own way and set new standards.

We could use the same argument for the Apple Watch. Apple has generated huge hype around this new technology by unveiling and announcing it the way they did. The language they used to describe their products has grabbed the attention of many people who wouldn’t normally even think about having a smartwatch.

During Apples’ events and keynotes it becomes very clear (almost annoying at times) that they clearly pick and emphasise certain words and phrases such as “the best”, “cool”, “ the most advanced”, “it just works” and so on. They repeat these words over and over again like a mantra until it becomes gospel for their customers. This was also evident during the Cook interview. Almost immediately after opening the segment, Cook started throwing around the same words and phrases over and over again; almost as if to convince himself that they were true. These are all marketing and advertising tricks that have proven to work over the years, and I’m certain it will work again for the Apple Watch. Unless Apple does something completely wrong with the hardware or software design of their smartwatch, they are going to win this arms (wrist) race.

Smartwatches are certainly very new to everyone, especially in our everyday life; but if there’s one company that has proven itself over time that they can change the way people live and conduct their business, it is Apple.

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