Search

Watch this space!

Apple launched its long anticipated Watch at the Apple Live event in California on Tuesday, 9 September - Apple followers will not be disappointed.

Apple have designed every aspect of its new product from first principles to create a product that is imbued with simplicity and elegance. It retains features of a traditional watch, like the crown, that makes it immediately recognisable, but has used it to control access to functions and applications on the watch.

Apple have also applied their trademark simplicity of design to create an elegant and desirable product. But they have also ensured that the Watch remains practical by using sapphire glass for the surface, to ensure that it retains those good looks, and inductive charging to ensure that the product is completely sealed against the elements.

Going beyond the simplicity of its design Apple have sought to ensure that the Watch appeals to the widest possible market. They have achieved this by making the Watch highly customisable, both through its display but also by providing a variety of different cases and watch straps. Consequently, the Watch will be equally at home on the wrist of celebrities, sports enthusiasts and technocrats.

To develop the Watch, Apple have redesigned the technology used to drive it, both in terms of the miniaturisation of the computer circuitry and the applications and operating systems that it employs. It has also added new functions, such as the Taptic Engine to provide it with tactile feedback to the wearer.

Those familiar with the process of design will know that the simplest looking products are, exponentially, the hardest to create. For its first step into wearable technology, Apple have again produced an iconic design and a highly desirable product. And Apple's tactic of introducing the product months in advance of its availability (the Watch won't be available until 2015) will also feed the frenzy to be the first to own one.

Surprisingly, however, the press seems to have paid more attention, at least initially, to the launch of the new iPhone 6. The new phones are an evolution of the existing iPhone series that will use larger screens, faster processors and the new iOS8 operating system.

The new phones will be available in the UK from 19 September. This is the same date as they will be launched in the US, from which it must be assumed that Apple is not anticipating to be deluged with orders. This is perhaps a reflection on the market for phones where the market is now reasonably polarised into Apple lovers and Android lovers, with Windows phones and BlackBerrys having smaller followings.

The third product launched at the Apple Live was Apple Pay. This is contactless payment using near field communications, a process that has been available for some time but which is now being enabled in the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. The limitation of contactless payment, as Apple CEO, Tim Cook, acknowledged during the Apple Live event, is the limited number of stores that are willing to provide contactless payment devices at checkouts. Contactless payment systems also put the phone manufacturers in direct competition with the credit card industry, who have a vested interest in seeing stores using the contactless payment systems they already provide.

The launch of the Apple Watch was the star product of the Apple Live event, and Apple's confident launch of this product demonstrates just how difficult it will be for the competition to bring alternative products to market.

Now watch this space for the first report on living with one of the new Watches!

Related Sectors