Next week, Apple is expected to announce new products, including a brand new wearable called the iWatch. Unlike most smart devices, wearable watches and the like have not been widely accepted by the public in daily use. If the iWatch is to be a success, there are five conditions that Apple needs to improve and change in order for the product to be a success.
1. The iWatch needs to be considered similar to fashionable jewelry
Unlike smartphones, which can be mounted on a wide variety of devices and hidden inside clothing, a smart watch is designed primarily to be laced around a person’s wrist. In order for a person to put up with extra weight and bulk on their wrist, the iWatch must be completely aesthetically pleasing, with color, material, shape and function all adding up to a product that a customer is willing to wear every day.
2. The iWatch needs to have practical and good uses
Apple is fighting to win two kinds of customers: those who use a smart phone to look up the time of day, and those who prefer to wear luxury watches like Rolex and Tag Hauer to make a statement. The iWatch should at least have a clear and readable display, a battery lifespan similar to any common watch on the market, and the same wireless connectivity and function of a smart phone.
3. The iWatch needs to cater to activities where a regular watch or a smart phone aren’t practical
Most watches are waterproof and most smart phones play music, but the iWatch should be a device where you can do both and monitor your heart rate and pulse while swimming in a pool. Being able to access all kinds of information in a wide variety of environments makes the iWatch practical far beyond other smart devices. (And it should be pointed out that the iWatch needs to be ruggedly built and waterproof, otherwise customers won’t bother buying the device on launch day.)
4. The iWatch should offer a new user experience and interface
Apple’s user interfaces have been a part of the brand: the one-button Macintosh mouse, the iPod’s clicking wheel, and the iPhone’s Siri voice command are all examples of a great, memorable user interface. However, these devices may be too big and clunky to implement on a wrist watch using current technology, and most customers would rely on their existing smart phones for such service instead. A touchscreen interface would make the most sense and be the most intuitive on an iWatch, although having voice command could have some useful benefits.
5. The iWatch must make people excited for Apple products again
When the iPod was released early in the 21st century, it wasn’t just seen as a portable music player, but as a device that captured the imagination of the world. The iPod was seen as the dreams of the future made into reality, a technological leap forward for mankind. Watches and phones once seen as magical are now viewed as old hat by many global customers, with better selections of similar products by other companies out there for anyone who wants to buy one. The iWatch has a major obstacle to confront next week; that like the Apple products before it, the iWatch must prove the ambition and capability of a company who wants to position themselves in the forefront of public consciousness. Time will tell if the iWatch succeeds.