Years of speculation, rumors and conjecture surrounding Apple’s wearable device should come to an end on Tuesday. One of the biggest concerns facing competitor smartwatches has been insufficient battery life and new reports suggest the Apple Watch may face similar issues. According to The Information (paywall), “people who have talked to Apple employees have set low expectations.” The Loop, run by Apple insider Jim Dalrymple, published an editorial (written by Dave Mark) suggesting the market is “mature and well-funded“, suggesting it would be difficult for Apple’s Watch to “turn the smart-watch industry on its ear.”
The Moto 360 works with a partnering smartphone running Android Wear, connected via Bluetooth. I’ve been using one since early this morning, examining how this accessory can improve upon my current smartphone experience. The build quality of the Moto 360 is nice enough. It won’t be confused with a high-end Breitling, but that’s not its role. It’s a watch, like the iPhone is a phone. You can use it to tell time, but it’s the smart features that will have people lining up to buy it. It has notified me of new messages and Google Now integration lets me see the weather and other information specific to my interests. I’ve grown fond of Google Now and its ability to display relevant content. It routinely finds shipping information on products I’ve ordered, flight information and more. All things that are easily accomplished with a phone. Having it attached to my wrist means I won’t miss a thing, assuming it doesn’t run out of power. I’ve yet to assess battery life, but Motorola claims all-day with mixed use. John Gruber, who may or may not have knowledge of the Apple Watch, links to a Wall Street Journal review of the Moto 360. “So it’s way too big for half the population and has to be charged twice a day.” In fairness, Motorola has drawn praise for its design, with a point deducted for the dead area at the bottom.
Enter Apple. With all of the players in place, expectations are naturally high for Tim Cook and company. For one, this is Cook’s first new product as CEO. It also represents an entirely new and lucrative product category. We’ve seen countless reports of Apple hiring leading experts in health, fitness and fashion. The wearable you see on Tuesday is the result of years of development. Apple will nail the design. That’s one of their many wheelhouses. I suspect the level of refinement will be unmatched.
When Apple introduced the iPhone, they immediately put the collective market on its ear and in some cases, out of business. This now infamous slide presented by Steve Jobs shows phones from Motorola, BlackBerry, Palm and Nokia. It’s been a tough road for companies that once led the market.
It may be unfair, but the high bar has been set by Apple. Quality and user experience expectations of the Apple are based on previous product experiences. Battery life will play a vital role, with customers ultimately determining what’s acceptable? Is it 24 hours, a week? It’s difficult to assess until we know just how much functionality is built into the Apple. They can’t look at Motorola, LG or Samsung, aiming just north for product quality and features. Will hurdling those smartwatches translate to a win for Apple and for customers? Most Apple customers could care less about the Moto 360, Galaxy Gear S and so on. These shouldn’t be viewed as opening acts for the main event, but rather bands playing on the second stage.
What are you expectations for the Apple Watch?