It doesn’t take much effort to see how well Apple’s products are viewed by even the most jaded of the technorati elite and market pundits. Up and down Apple’s product line you’ll read reviews that put Apple’s offerings at the top of the list. Best smartphone? iPhone. Best tablet? iPad. Best Windows PC? A MacBook Pro. Running Windows.
Apple’s new iMac with Retina 5K display gets top honors for desktops. The new Mac mini is heralded as the best small-form-factor desktop. The MacBook models always show up on top of their Windows brethren as the best of the best. Why? Apple’s revolution is simple. The company packages all the components together in such a way that the end product is greater than the sum of the parts.
What of Apple Watch? Get ready for another revolution. Apple plans to kill the iPhone with the Watch.
For now, ignore the combative, divisive click-bait headlines that predict gloom and doom. That’s the standard process for everything Apple does, and historically, the same was said about the Mac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad.
No technology company has done a better job transferring and offloading functionality from one device to another to another, and yet another is on the way. Just a few years ago, all our computing was done on our Macs or PCs. The iPod came along and moved thousands of songs to our pockets and purses. A few years later the iPhone came along and the ‘phone’ part of the product is the least impressive. It’s a Mac-like device you can carry in your pocket, and the world’s most popular camera. The iPad is merely an extension of the Mac’s screen in a far more mobile device. Apple extends functions from one product to another and we customers gleefully buy and comply.
Apple Watch will continue the extension revolution with a stylish design with just the right blend of extended functionality to keep our phones stuffed inside pocket and purse, yet give us notifications, alerts, alarms and the ability to respond and communicate without using the device Apple Watch uses to do all the heavy lifting.
Just a few years ago everything we did that had computing or computer attached to it was Mac or PC. Apple has managed to get a large swath of the great unwashed masses to buy additional products that work well together but do much the same thing (except for the telephone and camera).
Apple Watch is merely an extended revolution that does what a traditional watch does– look pretty and tell time– but more. Don’t mistake this revolution for anything else other than what it is– the beginning of the end of the iPhone as a phone. At some point in the not-so-distant future we’ll see dramatically improved battery life, and that means an Apple Watch that stands alone, untethered from the iPhone.
Will a standalone Apple Watch kill the iPhone?
For many, yes. For most, no. At least, not yet.
The first iteration of Apple Watch tells us something important about Apple. First, the company is pragmatic. Apple Watch is tethered to the iPhone. Why? It has to be. For now, it’s just not possible to build into a watch size all the functionality inherent in today’s smartphones.
Second, the company is ambitious. Functions which used to be on individual devices are now spread across multiple devices, and that includes Apple Watch. Personalized notifications, iPhone-like communication responses, combined with health sensors and tactile alerts will make Apple Watch very useful.
Finally, Apple isn’t afraid of the future. The iPhone as we know it will not undergo a certain death. After all, did Windows or the smartphone or tablet kill the Mac? No. The Mac is selling better than ever because it does more than ever. So does the iPhone, so even though we may use future iPhones less, thanks to Handoff, Continuity and Apple Watch, it won’t go away; usage will be changed to fit a changing lifestyle.
The real smartwatch revolution will begin with improved battery life. Think of how your watch can awaken you with a pulse to the wrist. You feel it. But your sleeping partner does not. No more ‘one alarm’ for everyone in the bedroom. The alarm is personalized for the wearer. But how can that alarm work if the Apple Watch needs to be recharged overnight, every night?
Apple Watch is another revolution in the making, and one which will change how we use our iPhones much as the iPhone changed how we use a phone, but future success will be tied up in battery life.