There were no earth shattering surprises during yesterday’s unveiling of the Apple Watch, Apple’s first major product launch in several years.
In what was termed as a “carefully choreographed” presentation, Apple CEO Tim Cook highlighted the watch’s “beautiful materials”, some of its applications and its connectivity. There was also Digital Touch, which allows you to draw pictures on your watch and animate them on your friend’s watch, “exactly as you drew it.” (?)
Reaction to the launch was at best mixed. It has been reported that some investors were scratching their heads, and many have wondered out loud who would want to buy the watch other than staunch Apple loyalists. For the first time in a long time, negative Apple commentary has surfaced openly and abundantly on the web, until now buried beneath a sea of highly upbeat material. Most deemed it safer not to express sacrilegious views against the world’s most valuable company, particularly at a time when it is beating its own quarterly earnings records and has enough cash to buy entire countries.
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But it cannot be denied that the watch’s value proposition is highly questionable. Aside from helping you tell time, it carries over some functions from the iPhone, only on a much smaller screen, making them more difficult to use, and many of which will only work when tethered to the iPhone. There are also fitness monitoring capabilities, the bulk of which were not included in the initial launch.
It also supports Apple Pay, which can be good. A more interesting use case may be a bitcoin wallet, perhaps leveraging the device’s heart rate monitoring capabilities for biometric authentication, similar to the Nymi Wristband. This would actually be a function that only works specifically on the watch, not on the iPhone, and makes the most of Apple’s foray into the health technology discipline.
Circle recently announced the launch of its app for Android Wear, Google’s operating system for smartwatches, becoming one of the first to bring bitcoin into this space. But the functionality is similar to that of “traditional” mobile devices, not incorporating any physiologically relevant features.