On September 9th, 2014 (as in, it's still currently happening...), Apple held another one of its signature keynote addresses, unveiling the new line of iPhones (iPhone 6 and 6 Plus), a new way to pay using Apple Pay, and something that I think encapsulates the definition of what I've been made to believe Apple is about: the Apple Watch.
The iWatch Paves the Ideology for the Future
At the heart of Apple, what we as consumers have seen for years on end now is improvement. Improvement, by all means, is not a bad thing. I don't think you can find a single argument against improvement, especially when it comes to technology (unless you're in the school of thought that believes there will be a machine uprising in the near future). Over the past few years alone, we have seen how the iPhone has become the flagship of Apple internationally, even when competing with other powerhouses, such as Windows and Google and their own line of products. However, what I've begun to notice is that this trend is not as obvious anymore. With each new iteration of the iPhone and iOS, there are more and more striking resemblances with competing products. The most frightening sign of that was with the release of iOS7, and a complete overhaul of the visual aspect of the iPhone. While I don't think it looked bad, it looked too Android and too Windows. Barring comparisons aside, though, I still think it was a necessary improvement that really upped the ante in terms of visual representation.
But the truth of the matter is that when something can no longer be improved in its present state, whether its due to the limitations of the existing technology or a limitation in manufacturing processes, the only way to move is to innovate. Right now, as I look at the release of the new iPhones, all I see is various improvements, and most are those that seek convenience. That's all fine, sure, but it lacks novelty and really doesn't excite me, a potential consumer, all that much. Maybe that's just the way the psychology of my brain works. But what I think is this: Improvement mildly rouses, but innovation excites. The Apple Watch, I believe, excites.
The Apple Watch Addresses a Few Key Issues in iPhones
Out of the many amazing technologies to be introduced in the Apple Watch, Apple has the benefit of entering the smartwatch industry fairly early, and with force. In my last post, I mentioned that one of the things that Apple should keep their eye on moving forward was the importance of customization. With the announcement of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, we didn't get to see much of that. However, the Apple Watch on the other hand, basically tackles this aspect of design—and succeeds.
As smartwatches are essentially wearable technology and fashion design products, it goes without saying that most people will probably not want to have their watch look like everyone else's. Well, they are all in luck because not only are the watch faces themselves highly customizable, but the watch bands are also variable, depending on your own personal tastes. Some may like a silicon band, others may like leather. For the most part, I believe these are all available. For the watch faces, there are multiple different kinds of watch faces that you can customize to your taste. Added personalization comes with the apps.
Most importantly, I think what the Apple Watch introduces to us is something new—an innovation. As I followed the liveblog, there was a stream of a few messages where Apple gave a brief history of their products.
The Digital Crown is visually similar to the crowns on traditional watches, and control multiple aspects of the Apple Watch, including scrolling, zooming, and navigating. Simple in concept, simple to use (I assume; I don't have one). But beyond being "cool", I think it introduces a new stepping stone for Apple to continue their business. It shows that they are still very capable of innovating and not just improving. If Apple is to continue to persist in the industry, I think this ideology and mindset will be vital.
For what it's worth, I think that the Apple Watch is and will continue to be a fine product. However, since we're on the topic of improvement and innovation, I thought I would offer my two-cents on some things that could be looked into (but are definitely not necessary) for future iterations of the Apple Watch.
One thing I noticed is that, despite the sleek and compact design of the apps on the home screen it still seems a little too cluttered for a screen that is about the size of your wrist. I have fat fingers, so maybe that's my fault and I should go on a diet by using their fitness capabilities, but it could be an annoying problem. Again, small things.
Another that I know won't be changed at any time in the future is the price ($349). First off, I understand that cramming all that processing power into a wrist-sized device doesn't come cheap, but I guess the question I'm asking is whether the Apple Watch is meant for everyday consumers, or if it's meant to be available to people who have the disposable income to purchase a timepiece that is as costly as some smartphones. This isn't a bourgeoisie vs. proletariat debate, I'm just wondering what Apple sees as the target consumer base for the Apple Watch. Since I don't think I'll be buying one ever, I suppose it's just out of interest.
Anyway, that's basically all I got out of the keynote, although I can only say so much because the livestream hosted by Apple themselves was not made available to anyone who wasn't using Safari on a Mac with a more recent OS. Since I'm using Chrome on a Windows 8 device, I'm pretty sure I didn't stand a chance at all. Other people had similar issues with the streams, I'm told, but that's a different topic for a different post.
Feel free to discuss in the comments section about your thoughts on the Apple Watch, or the keynote in general! I need people to talk to D: