Horology — the art or science of time keeping — just got a major upgrade with the advent of Apple’s new smartwatch.
After nearly three years of development and much anticipation, Apple finally gave consumers a glimpse of its latest gadget. Though the device is scheduled to debut early next year, the design has been finalized. Regardless of the reviews, Apple aficionados will certainly be camping out in line, and will eagerly drop the $349 to wear it.
However, is the Apple Watch aesthetically pleasing enough to be worn as a fashion accessory, or is it solely a practical device? Apple is trying hard to achieve the former by collaborating with some of the fashion industry’s biggest names, such as watch designers Marc Newson, Burberry’s Angela Ahrendts, and Yves Saint Laurent’s Paul Deneve. These renowned designers are sure to help Apple’s watch carve its own niche in the industry by becoming a sought-after accessory.
Traditional watches have always been big business. According to Euromonitor, watches are an $8.3 billion industry in the United States alone. The majority of watches sold are quartz and cost under $150; however, luxury mechanical watches in the $1000-and-up range, from exclusive designer brands such as Rolex, Omega, and Louis Vuitton, continue to be popular.
Unlike other consumer gadgets and electronics, watches have been around for a long time as accessories and fashion statements. However, the smartwatch is fairly new contender in the watch industry. Last year, only 750,000 smartwatches were sold in the United States, compared to a whopping 123 million smartphones and 32 million traditional watches.
In addition to being fashion-forward, Apple’s watch boasts a variety of high-end features and functions, including beaming text messages, social media updates, simplified and intuitive apps, and of course, Siri. Other apps include Health, Calendar, Weather, Camera, Maps and even Apple’s latest feature, Apple Pay. The appeal of Apple Watch is that it eliminates the need to take out your device or phone to check notifications.
However, seeing as how the top two internet activities are search engine and email use, how will the Apple Watch fare? Is it practical to perform these activities on this device? Most likely, consumers will still have to use their smart phones and tablets for these tasks, but Apple’s newest gizmo is a strong attempt at combining form and function.