Today’s release of Apple Inc.’s smart watch into the public domain in nine countries heralds a change in the way businesses and professionals in the workplace will operate.
Most assuredly, business owners will begin to scramble to develop appropriate apps in order to leverage “the buzz that Apple has created and [establish] their leadership in a major new device category,” says Mike Wehrs, head of U.S. operations and global chief marketing officer for Appster, Australia’s fast-growing mobile app and product development company.
With pre-orders exceeding 950,000, and lines wrapping around city blocks coast to coast in the United States, Apple Inc. continues to have a strong hold on the emerging mobile tech market with the release of the Apple Watch. In a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, about 40 percent of adult Apple iPhone owners in the United States said they were interested in buying the company’s new watch, which ranges in price from $350 to $17,000 for the 18-carat gold model.
Leveraging the buzz, Appster, on the eve of Apple’s launch of its smart watch, announced a “limited-time” promotion for companies that want to develop an app for the watch. “Apple Watch will enable businesses to play a bigger, better part in their customers’ lives, which is why savvy business owners know they need a Watch app immediately,” Wehrs says.
According to Apple, more than 3,000 Watch apps will be available when sales commence today at given stores across the globe. Users can read email, summon Siri, receive calls, receive Facebook, WeChat and Twitter notifications, and even track their heart rate.
Apple says the Watch’s “digital crown” will allow users to navigate nimbly and precisely through the phone without obstructing their view. You can zoom in and out of photos, quickly scroll through lists, input data, or press it like a button to return to the Home screen.
Techies stress the urgency of developing Watch-friendly apps, saying local businesses that have built their brand and visibility on current modes of technology and communication will have to adapt if they are going to survive.
Similarly, professionals who have paid little attention to the advent of wearable technology will need to show more interest as the technology begins to change conventional workplace practices. At the very least, the speed of the workday will increase.
The Apple Watch comes in three core models: the Apple Watch Sport, which totes an aluminum and glass face and retails for $349 to $399, depending on the screen size; a stainless steel edition with a sapphire-crystal combination, ranging from $549 to $1,099, depending on the watch band; and the most sought-after version, the limited-supply 18-carat gold Watch, at $10,000 to $17,000.
It is available in 1.5-inch (38 millimeters) and 1.7-inch (42mm) screen sizes—too small to support on-screen typing. However, a Smart Replies function allows users to choose from a number of pre-written responses, eliminating the need to remove the watch from their wrist. The mechanical wheel, normally used to set the time on a standard watch, allows the user to scroll and browse through the user interface, which includes an option to answer calls.
The battery will last just two and half hours with heavy application use, although CEO Tim Cook claims it will last 18 hours on average. Wireless charging support is also included. And therein lies an annoyance, say those who have tested the watch. To save battery life, the watch goes dark when it thinks you’re not using it. To turn it back on, you have to shake the device with enough momentum to, in Apple’s words, “Activate on Wrist Raise.”
An up-to-date version of the iPhone—the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5—is needed to initiate the watch. The iPhone 4S is not supported.
The Apple Watch went public today in Australia, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong and the United States.