If you have been paying attention to…well…anything then you’ve likely heard about the new AppleWatch. Yes, this revolutionary little device is going to connect to your phone, track your movements, bring peace to the Middle East and, will also apparently, tell the time.
Yesterday I got the chance to try on an Apple Watch and, let me be honest, it was amazing. The fact that I had to book an appointment just to try it on, that I had to wait in line and have it specially handled by an expert all contributed to the feeling of wonder. However, what I was dealing with was, let’s be honest, just a watch. Yet, I must confess that I fell in love with it. I already have the model I’m going to buy picked out in my mind and looking at my wrist it just seems naked without it.
Recent estimations say that Apple sold close to one million Apple Watches within the first weekend. What this means is that from May upwards of one million people will be wearing their shiny new Apple Watch on their arms and gleefully swiping, glancing and interacting with their fancy toy.
But what interests me is not the watch itself, yes it’s impressive, but how it will change lives. Ten years ago we could not have imagined the world, and the economy, that we have today. When Apple introduced their iPhone in 2007, they brought the smartphone to the consumer in an easy to use and functional device. A year later they changed the world. They did this by introducing the App Store. For those who are unfamiliar the App Store allowed developers, from anywhere in the world, to create programs for the new platform. It turns out that by unleashing the creative minds onto a device that was already in the hands of millions of people truly shifted the way that a device was used. Games such as Angry Birds, Tiny Wings and Plants vs. Zombies all became hits and made their developers incredibly wealthy people. Other developers turned iPhones into functional devices such as calculators, levellers and on the go scanners. Social networks all made sure that they had a presence on the new phone, and they all saw a major increase in users because, for the first time, people could carry their social lives in their pockets.
So, now that the world is far more comfortable with their new phones and the new ‘app economy’, Apple has decided to spring their new watch on us. But how will brands use the new watch? How will they be able to take advantage of the sleek little device for keeping in touch with their customers?
The first thing that any brand has to take into account before designing an app for Apple Watch is the limitations. While Apple wants people to interact with their iPhones for as long as possible, they want to limit the amount of time that people spend with their watch. This is because there is a limited battery, reviews come in at about 12-15 hours with medium usage, and it’s a physical pain to hold your wrist up to your face for too long. So, Apple has stressed that, rather than considering the watch to be a device that you interact with it is something you only use for a few seconds at a time. Apple has called these ten second interactions ‘Glances‘.
Glances are a simple way of being notified that something is happening. So, how can brands use a glance effectively? Because the watch is tied to the iPhone it already has a wealth of technology available to it which means that the iPhone does all of the heavy lifting (conserving battery life on the watch itself) and that for apps to truly work you need to be connected to your iPhone. Some apps that have already been updated to take advantage of the Apple Watch. Hotels will allow you to unlock your door with your new watch, Pandora allows you to change music with your watch and Evernote lets you read and dictate your notes on your wrist. Apple has positioned their new watch as a device that allows you to not interact with your phone as much.
For brands wanting to take advantage of the new Apple Watch, they have to realise that the audience is going to be one who only wants bite-sized pieces of information. Let them access their boarding pass for their plane on the watch, coupons or discounts, or tell them that their car is ready for pickup.
All of these are ways for brands to easily, and unobtrusively, interact with their customers and provide them with relevant information that they can act on.
The most important thing to remember is this: If you’re too annoying, if you make the user lift their wrist for too long or too many times you’ll find yourself deleted in a heartbeat. On the Apple Watch….a heartbeat is only a two-finger touch away!