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While in the design studio in 2011, the Apple team came to a conclusion… Your phone is ruining your life. “We’re so connected, kind of ever-presently, with technology now,” says Vice President of Technology, Kevin Lynch (Pierce). Like the rest of us, they were subjected to the constant tyranny of the buzz, spending hours scrolling through their notifications screens. They wanted a device that was a little more human, a device that would free people from their iPhones. Tim Cook unveiled the product, known as the Apple Watch, on September 2014 (Williams).
Capable of tracking exercise routines; measuring heart rate and blood flow; filtering through notifications, alerts, and messages; GPS navigation; among many other capabilities, the Apple Watch was designed to be the perfect supplement to an iPhone (Liszewski).
The development of the Apple Watch required teams of people working long hours at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, CA. Software was moving much more quickly that hardware, which lead to the employment of Kevin Lynch.
The team quickly learned that personalization and beauty were important physical features for a watch. “The only way to get one company’s product onto different people’s wrists is to offer options—sizes, materials, bands—for a wide range of tastes and budgets (Pierce).” They decided on two sizes, three tiers, and easily interchangeable straps. The patent for the electronic wristband was filed July 2011 and granted July 2014; it was given the United States Patent number 8,787,006 (Golko, et al.).
The Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $399 for the GPS-only version, and $499 for the cellular option.
According to Tabini, Apple determines the price of its products using price maintenance, that takes advantage of the popularity of its products and exploits a quirk in the way retailers are allowed to advertise their merchandise. Apple only offers a small discount to its resellers meaning the price of the Apple Watch is pretty homogenous across its retailers, which include Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, B&H, among many others (Tabini). It’s well known that Apple products come with a hefty price tag. With assembly and parts made overseas, it’s not uncommon for Apple products to be priced as much as four times as the cost it takes to make (Schupak). With the popularity of Apple products, the company could afford to price the Apple Watch more reasonably which would make the watch available to a greater audience. Although not as strong selling as iPhones, Apple Watches are making steady increases in sells with each generation of watches selling more than the previous model. According to research firm IDC, Apple maintained its position at the top of the smartwatch sales chart last quarter, selling 4.7 million Apple Watches and capturing 17 percent of the global market (Shirer, et al.).
More than any other company, Apple products have had a profound effect on society. The Apple Watch is slowly but surely following those same footsteps. As each year passes, there is a noticeable difference in the number of people sporting the shiny black screen on their wrists, all recounting the watch’s practicality and usefulness. The Apple Watch and devices like it have changed society because we no longer have to hold devices in our hands to get in contact with people or use our favorite apps, the Apple Watch allows for technology to become one with us and remain non bothersome to the owner of the device. Alongside, the Apple Watch has made it possible to keep track of our health in ways we could not do before. And it can do much more than simply tracking fitness and motion. Mobile health data company Cardiogram has said that the data from an Apple Watch heart rate sensor, when fed into Cardiogram’s learning network DeepHeart, can help detect atrial fibrillation, hypertension, sleep apnea, and has an 85 percent accuracy when detecting diabetes, according to Simon. Other third party apps, such Sleep Tracker let users track sleep statistics such as when you fell asleep, how often you wake up at night, and if you fall into deep sleep at all. With all those features and benefits, the Apple Watch has become a favorite device among the health conscious population.
Advertisements for the Apple Watch are geared towards busy, active people on the go. They highlight the different uses of the watch and how it can make everyday life just a little easier. From turning on the lights of an apartment building, responding to text messages, Apple pay, and the ease of changing straps. Some of the advertisements even depict how it is the perfect travel companion with turn by turn navigation, boarding time reminders so users never miss a flight, and location sharing.The advertisements for Apple Watch do an excellent job showcasing everything the watch can do in a relatable and attention-grabbing way.
The Apple Watch can be improved, and it will undoubtedly happen. The item can be a little less bulky, more streamlined, and come in other shapes. Apple Watch could also benefit from the red dot/ring on the crown to make the product more aesthetically pleasing. Seeing that text messaging and calls are fully supported, the next step would be adding a small front facing camera to support Facetime. It would also be nice to see the Watch become solar or battery powered, removing the need to charge yet another electronic device.
Apple Watch technology is predicted to greatly improve in the next 5-10 years. I suspect it will only be a few years for a camera feature to be added, more apps to be supported, and for other “accessory” items to be added such as eyewear that would serve as supplements or stand-alones. I envision the use of holograms becoming widely used within my lifetime and the Apple Watch would be an incredible way to introduce that technology to the public. I am also interested to see how and if it will affect medical care. Will it fix the detrimental effects technology has created on our health? Will it be able to serve as pre-screens for serious illnesses? Regardless of where technology shifts and how its used, the Apple Watch is part of the future.
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