The Apple Watch could be the first mainstream wearable computer, but you'll need an iPhone to use it.
In a recent survey, thirteen percent of respondents who didn't own an iPhone said they'd consider buying one just to get an Apple Watch. Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, also recently said that more Android owners were switching to iPhone than ever before. Combine them together, and that's potentially millions of first-time smartphone buyers and Android converts ready to put Apple products in their pockets and on their wrists this month. Are you one of them?
Logging. Controlling. Authenticating. Alerting. Communicating. These are all important things. They're things we need and want. But they're also brief things. They're intermittent and unpredictable things. They're things that the Apple watch will be able to do more efficiently — maybe even better — than our phones. By taking these things out of our pockets or purses and putting them on our wrists, the result is faster, more efficient, more subtle, and more socially acceptable interactions. In other words, less stressful and more enjoyable lives.
There have been numerous fitness bands and trackers over the years, but Apple has taken health and fitness to a new level with the watch. It doesn't just track activity and heart rate to measure walking, running, and stair climbing; it logs rowing machines and exercise bikes; it reminds you to stand up and move around, and rewards you for it. It makes the Apple Watch especially compelling. It can not only help quantify your life; it can become your virtual personal trainer.
The watch as remote control is something Apple hasn't shown off as much, but something that's incredibly interesting. With the Apple Watch, you can remotely access the viewfinder on your iPhone's iSight camera. It can also control your iPhone's music playback, both locally stored music and from iTunes Match. If your iPhone is streaming to AirPlay-enabled speakers, whether you're in your office or at the lake, you can control all of that as well, right from your wrist. Similar to the Remote app for iOS, the Remote app for the Apple Watch lets you connect to any Apple TV you own, at home or at work, along with any iTunes library on your Mac or Windows PC. As cool as media remotes could to be, the bigger promise is home automation. With Siri, Apple's personal digital assistant, and HomeKit, the company's accessory interface framework, you'll be able to do everything from opening and closing doors to setting lights to changing the temperature and more. And all with a word.
Digital wallet and keychain
Something else that will be compelling to many is Apple Watch as digital wallet and keychain. We've seen Apple Pay already, but when it comes to authentication, there's a lot more to see. The Alarm.com app, for example, will not only let you monitor a live feed of your home from your Apple Watch but also do things like open or close your garage door, even when you're far from home. The Starwood Hotel & Resorts app — think W and Aloft — will not only lets you check in and find your room, right from the Apple Watch, but it lets you open the door as well. And there's a lot more to come.
Before and after
If you look at phones before the iPhone, and then look again after, you can see the divide as clearly as any great extinction layer in the earth. Nothing was the same. Whether the Apple Watch can do that for wearable we'll have to wait and see. If it can, you can be in on the ground floor of the next big step forward in mobile computing. You can help discover it. All that, and you get an iPhone as well. Great hardware and great software, both working together in a way no other manufacturer has managed to duplicate, not when it comes to both operating system and apps.
Time to switch
We've been getting a lot of questions from people considering switching to the iPhone just to get the Apple Watch. (That's part of the reason we made the Apple Watch FAQ and Apple Watch buyers guide, after all.) If you're one of those people, let me know — are an Apple Watch and iPhone in your future? And if you're still on the fence, what are you looking for to help you decide?