Why Apple Watch will be Tim Cook's legacy, and not Vision Pro

Apple BKC launch Tim Cook
(Image credit: Palash Volvoikar/iMore)

We're almost there. The long-anticipated Vision Pro mixed reality headset from Apple is officially set to launch on February 2, ushering in what the company is calling a new age of "spatial computing." 

While the Vision Pro headset is surely just the first step into this mixed reality future and new products from Apple down the road will get even more interesting (i.e. Apple Glasses), it's certainly an exciting time for the company and its CEO, Tim Cook. While there are many virtual and mixed-reality headsets on the market, everyone is looking to see if the CEO can pull off a revolutionary product with the headset.

As everyone waits until February 2 to judge whether the Vision Pro is the legacy that Tim Cook will leave behind, I can't help but feel that it isn't. The Vision Pro isn't Tim Cook's legacy at all — the Apple Watch is.

Nothing has impacted me more

Two Apple Watch Series 9s next to each other

(Image credit: Apple)

There's no doubt that the Apple Watch isn't Apple's biggest product if you count it by revenue generated or units sold — that honor, of course, goes to the iPhone. But if you had to decide what product Cook will have overseen the development, launch, and growth of that made (or will make) a material impact on the world — it's the Apple Watch.

Between Blood Oxygen monitoring, being able to take an ECG, high and low heart rate notifications, irregular heart rate rhythm notifications, low cardio, fitness notifications, temperature monitoring, and the entire suite of wellness and fitness features packed into the watch, we now have what Apple calls an "intelligent guardian of your health."

The introduction and continued improvement of the Apple Watch also fueled the creation and popularization of smartwatches from other big technology brands like Samsung and Google. I can't imagine we'd have the Galaxy Watch or Pixel Watch we have today without the Apple Watch.

Personally, the Apple Watch has been the most impactful product I've ever used from the company. Health is such a core aspect of our lives and, without it, it's hard to live a fulfilling life. This device helps me ensure I'm not only healthy now, but helping me ensure I stay that way for the rest of my life for as long as I can. That is a much more important product, even if you don't interact with it directly for much of your day.

A lot of people echo that sentiment, probably best depicted in the "Dear, Apple" video that the company released a few years ago:

Cook said so himself

Tim Cook

(Image credit: Apple)

If you disagree with me, you don't even have me to argue with. You'll be arguing with Cook himself. When the CEO first unveiled the Apple Watch back in 2014, he called it "the most personal device we have ever created."

Then, back in 2022, right before the company hosted its September 2022 event — just nine months before it would announce the Vision Pro, mind you — Cook doubled down on the impact that the Apple Watch would have. In an interview with Popular Mechanics (as reported by 9to5Mac), Cook said that Apple's "greatest contribution" will be in health.

"We started with wellness. And then the three rings on the Apple Watch (…) And then we put a heart rate monitor on there, and through time, we got more advanced. When we put A-fib determination on there, that went up to another level of notifications. And then we put EKG on there. I think that when we look back one day and ask, what’s been Apple’s greatest contribution, it will be in health."

The greatest contribution

Apple Watch Health

(Image credit: Apple)

While the Vision Pro may bring us into a new era of spatial computing, the Apple Watch brought us into a new era of health tracking. We now have more information and intelligence surrounding our health than we've ever had before — all thanks to a little device that sits on our wrists.

The amount of people who have been impacted by the Apple Watch — all of the lives that were improved through better health choices or saved through its detection features — is a far greater metric than the things we will measure the Vision Pro to.

I'm excited for the future of spatial computing. I'm sure Tim Cook is, too. The Vision Pro could, like the iPhone, eventually change the way we interact with the world through technology. But, like Cook said himself, I don't think it will be Apple’s greatest contribution. It's in health, and the Apple Watch is at the forefront of that contribution.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.

  • naddy69
    While all of your points about the watch are fine, it can all be reduced to this: The Apple Watch sold more in the first week of availability than the Vision Pro will ever sell.

    If the Apple Watch was $4,000, how many do think would have sold? Not to mention that the Apple Watch looks good on your wrist. You look like a dork wearing a scuba diving mask in your living room.

    If I was Tim Cook, I would not want the Vision Pro to be my legacy.