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The Apple Watch conundrum revisited

Michael deAgonia | Feb. 9, 2015
The soon-to-be-released device faces a modern audience for whom watches have become increasingly irrelevant.

When I receive an alert and pull out my phone to check, I usually feel more compelled to reply on the spot. The Apple Watch, by virtue of being more discreet, allows me to pick and choose my responses more quickly.

Although the Microsoft Band and other third-party wearables can display notifications, most don't (yet) allow for replies when paired to the iPhone. Of course, the Apple Watch will integrate with the iPhone far better and offer far more capabilities than competing devices. For instance, unlike current tech bands, notifications received on the Watch will have quick-response actions. Text message alerts will display contextually specific quick-reply responses. If that's not enough, the Watch can send manipulatable emoticons, or you can reply using voice messaging introduced in iOS 8. Or you could use Siri to dictate a message. From your wrist. That's just the beginning.

The wow factor
A wearable featuring notifications and fitness tracking would only get you so far; like other groundbreaking Apple products, a wearable still needs a wow factor. Though, two years ago, none of us could think just what such a lust-worthy feature could be, we also knew Apple wouldn't release something without it -- especially considering the waning audience for a watch.

I don't think the Apple Watch is really trying to attract current watch-wearers, most of whom have reasons for wearing a watch that has less to do with telling time and more to do with making a personal statement. The trick for the Apple Watch will be to entice people that gave up wearing a watch, or never wore one in the first place. And the only way to attract new customers is to give them a reason to wear it. Being fashionably designed is a small part of the answer; if the Apple Watch is to be successful, it needs to entice its target market: current iPhone owners.

As an iPhone accessory, the Watch fits right into the existing Apple ecosystem. The Apple Watch will not only display time, calendar, caller ID and other data residing on your phone, it can also be used to control AppleTV; act as a viewfinder and a remote trigger for iPhone and iPad photos; allow you to check on airline flights; and control home devices and lighting with HomeKit accessories.

Since Watch supports ApplePay, it can also be used to purchase items at supported ApplePay locations. (The Apple Watch keynote also featured a demo showing hotel doors being unlocked with a wave of the wrist.) Photos that are Favorited on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad automatically transfer to the Watch, so those moments are always with you. And when getting directions using Apple's Maps app, the Watch will "tap" you using the built-in haptic system to keep you on the correct path.


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