On Monday, March 9th, Apple will be presenting the highly-anticipated Apple Watch for the first time. It’s the company’s first real new product in four years, and many are wondering how far-reaching the smartwatch will be. However, many of the product’s features and capabilities have already been leaked, including information on the device’s materials and construction.
First, there is the watch’s power reserve mode and battery life. Sources claim the final Apple Watch should be able to handle 5 hours of fairly heavy application usage, and it won’t run out of battery for a typical day of passive use. The watch will therefore have to be charged nightly. Apple intends to address these battery life concerns with a “Power Reserve Mode,” which dims the display, slows down communication, and puts the display to sleep faster.
The Apple Watch will also include a Heart Rate Glance, allowing the user to track their beats per minute at any time. Reports state that the Watch will have an 8GB music storage capability. Streaming will be supported by headphones or external speakers via Bluetooth. Overall performance is expected to be strong, as the device supposedly runs a chip comparable to the Apple A5.
Also notable is that Apple will allow third-party developers more open access to its watch OS through its WatchKit developer platform. As a result, it’s possible the Apple Watch app store could be as robust as the stores for the iPhone and iPad. If so, it would catapult Apple Watch over Android Wear and improve the smartwatch experience immensely.
One app in particular to look out for is Retale, a location-based mobile app that enables customers to connect to the stores they shop at. Users are able to browse deals, locate stores and find discounts, and other features. Many believe the Apple Watch could play a big role in the digital revolution of the retail industry because of this.
The most important benefits of the Watch, however, may be intangible. A recurring theme from sources who have tried the Apple Watch is that the smartwatch will save you time and attention. People who have worn the Watch say they take out their phones a lot less. A simple tap or glance at the watch is a much different interaction than pulling out a phone and prevents you from spiraling into a vortex of distraction. Apple hasn’t specifically mentioned this benefit, so perhaps this is one of those features that can only be felt after using the device extensively. If the Watch truly does offer the benefit of added time and attention, it could be a game-changer.
These feature leaks are not exhaustive, of course. The Apple Watch may have many surprises in store still. Tim Cook has previously stated he wanted the Apple Watch to unlock your car to replace your key fobs. Cook has also implied the watch could replace your Apple TV remote and that the watch can be used in the shower. Whether these features are really included will be answered on Monday’s event.
So what is the bigger implication of the Apple Watch? How will it affect Apple’s bottom line? Analyst reports here are mixed.
Deutsche Bank’s verdict is that the Apple Watch will be a limited growth driver for the company over the next few years. They estimate Apple will be making $28 billion a year from the segment by 2018, which assumes 25% of iPhone users buy one. On the other hand, J.P. Morgan believes Apple could make as much as $23 billion from the segment as soon as next year.
Still, it’s general consensus that Apple will help catalyze the wearable tech market and lead the way. The Apple Watch will generate significant buzz and strong up-front sales from the legion of dedicated fans who will buy any new Apple product. The company’s entry into the smartwatch segment will also make the market more credible to everyday buyers. Apple rarely moves first, but seemingly always captures the lion’s share of the market by building devices that consumers love.
The flagship wearable device is set to ship in April, however Apple hasn’t yet revealed an exact release date. If you’re interested in watching the event, Apple will live stream it from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Monday at 1 p.m. ET.