AN APPLE WATCH?
When I first heard about the original iPhone, I wasn't impressed. My initial reaction went something like: “Just what I need, another way to check Facebook.” Admittedly, at the time, I was a couchsurfing kid in Thailand, rocking a fuzzy mohawk and carrying all my worldly possessions around on my back. I had not yet blossomed into the tech enthusiast and die-hard Apple fanboy that I am today. That began to change the first time I saw an iPhone in action while hiking through Golden Gate Park with a friend. When we started to get hungry, he took out his new iPhone, found a tasty Thai place nearby on Yelp, and used Maps to direct us there.
When Apple announced the iPad in 2010, I once again failed to recognize the value of the new product category. “Why would anybody want an oversized iPod touch?” I thought. Six months later, an iPad occupied prime real estate on my nightstand and it hasn't left my side since.
READ BETWEEN THE SPECS
Just as I once questioned the value of the iPad's larger screen, many are now questioning the utility of the Apple Watch's tiny screen. It's human nature to resist change and to doubt the next big idea. I've underestimated Apple twice already, and I'm not about to do it again. In my five years of covering the industry, I've learned that what makes a product great is not a collection of features and specs, but rather the contribution the product makes to your life. Steve Jobs understood this better than anyone, and the company that he built is continuing his legacy.
A major critique of modern society is centered around our tendency to walk around with smartphones in front of our fac- es. The Apple Watch will give us access to many of the iPhone's most valuable features while allowing the technology to recede into the background. It will allow us to navigate big cities, pay for goods, and view notifications all while keeping our phones in our pockets and remaining engaged with the outside world.
One of the biggest benefits of the Apple Watch is, of course, its fitness-tracking capabilities. It's no secret that we have an obesity epidemic in the United States. Nearly 70 percent of all Americans over 20 years old are now overweight or obese, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Apple Watch uses an accelerometer, a heart rate sensor, and GPS to track our steps and number of calories burned throughout the day to help us improve our health by getting in better shape.
NAVIGATING THE INTERNET OF THINGS
I believe the Apple Watch will be instrumental in connecting the so-called “Internet of things.” One of the hottest trends at this year's Consumer Electronics Show was the connected home—from smart cars to refrigerators to security systems. While smartphones offer more advanced navigation than traditional analog controls like keys, light switches, and intercoms, they still pose some challenges. Nobody wants to constantly keep his or her smartphone on hand.
Smartwatches provide the perfect solution—they still offer an advanced user interface, but are much more accessible than the iPhone. On a frigid winter day, it would be much easier to hold your wrist to your car's ignition than to have to take off your gloves and dig your phone out of your pocket or purse. I think that smartwatches will eventually become the lynchpin of the connected home and the Internet of things.