Threats and Delights of the Apple Watch

13 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

More technology, less fashion: Why fashionistas haven’t exactly fallen for Apple’s smartwatch.

To observers of the secretive Swiss watch industry, its quiet, seemingly passive response to Apple Inc.’s plan to attack their centuries-old business could be mistaken for submission before an overwhelming adversary. The Apple Watch is wearable, highly-portable tech, designed to be seen rather than stuffed vulnerably in your back pocket like a smartphone, and for that reason alone is worth noting for travelers. But luxury and fashion groups Richemont, LVMH, Swatch Group and Guess Inc. have been busy in the past year tinkering with smartwatches of their own, while aiming to preserve their products’ more timeless appeal.

When Apple Watch was first announced last September, some experts dismissed such devices as appealing to a different class of customer – those who prize technology over prestige. Supermodel Christy Turlington Burns became the timepiece’s highest-profile advocate from the fashion world when she joined CEO Tim Cook onstage in San Francisco during the recent watch launch. And the company has made a big publicity push in Paris, giving style heavyweights Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour and model Karlie Kloss an advance preview ahead of a display last fall at the Paris boutique Colette.

Members of the style establishment, in Paris for shows from the glittering likes of Chanel, Givenchy and Hermes mostly said they saw the watch as a gadget, not this season’s must-have accessory. Up-and-coming model Julia Van Os dismissed the new device in an interview with Reuters after working the Stella McCartney show inside the ornate Opera house. “I haven’t heard anyone talking about it,” said the Dutch model. “It’s a different world, it’s more technology rather than fashion. People don’t wear that kind of watch in fashion.” A salesman at the famed department store Printemps agreed, saying his store won’t carry the watch, which will range in price from $350 to more than $10,000 for the high-end Apple Watch Edition in 18-karat gold. “You have to understand. The most detailed data on this problem, a July 2014 Endeavor Partners study, tells us that about a third of all smartwatch and fitness band owners abandon their wrist wearables after six months.

Apple predicts sales will range from 10 million to 20 million in the first year alone, and eventually, say Apple execs, may hit 100 million—the number of iPhones sold last year. We are luxury brands, and [the Apple Watch is] more technology,” said the salesman at Printemps, which carries such brands as Rolex, Montblanc and Longines. Montblanc, owned by Richemont, announced in January the launch of the TimeWalker Urban Speed e-strap watch, which combines a traditional mechanical watch with an interchangeable strap containing a Bluetooth connected device. Apple’s new timepiece, which will go on sale in April, links to a wearer’s iPhone, and can display messages, alerts and appointments, among other things. He said this is less risky than the strategy of LVMH’s Tag Heuer, which has partnered with an as-yet-undisclosed U.S. tech company to produce a watch outside Switzerland. “It creates a bit of a grey area between Swiss-made and probably made-in-China products, so that could be a bit difficult to manage over time,” Mr.

The rectangular watch face display can be changed by the user to feature a range of styles, from Mickey Mouse pointing his hands at the time to a simple digital clock. French newspapers put coverage of Monday’s Apple watch unveiling on their business pages, reserving their popular glossy fashion pages for the winter runway shows and ads for luxurious items such as watches by Bulgari and Boucheron.

You can manage your Instagram photos, and find hundreds of other travel-related apps to make travel more pleasant. – To keep you fit on the road, there’s a heart-rate monitor, accelerometer, and burned-calories counter. Though Turlington noted that she was wearing her “chic” version of the watch at Apple’s Monday event, she praised it primarily as a fitness tracker, noting that it had helped her in training for a half-marathon in Tanzania and would, she hoped, help her crack the four-hour mark in her next full marathon.

Trust me: I’ve been reviewing smartwatches since they became a thing, and once you run out of juice the first time, you’re already on the path to giving up. The phone shows a simple diagram of how long you sit, stand, or exercise, and keeps detailed metrics on your exercises wherever in the world you may be. – All the data can be shared with a third party, so you can take Cook’s romantic advice and “Send your heart rate to let someone know you’re thinking about them.“ Even when you’re traveling far from them. – Digital Touch allows wearers to sketch a picture that is instantly transmitted to another wearer’s screen.

A year ago, it said it would produce a smartwatch based on Google’s Android Wear software, and in September it said it had partnered with chipmaker Intel Corp. Fashion trend-spotter Roseanne Morrison of the Tobe Report said the watch’s need for a nightly charge and an accompanying iPhone were considerable drawbacks. Major chains such as Starbucks and Panera Bread have already signed on, and more undoubtedly will do so when the Watch arrives. – Huge numbers of iPhone features are readily available –anything you can receive on your phone: Siri, apps, emails, messaging, calling, music, and photos are all pushed from the user’s phone to the Watch. – The Watch allows 18 hours of active/passive use and three days of standby, so it might need frequent recharging, which can be difficult if you’re traveling in certain areas. – It seems more complicated than most Apple products.

The threat that Apple will cannibalize existing watch demand is most acute for Swatch, analysts say, because it has the highest proportion of products selling for a few hundred dollars, instead of several thousands as high-end names do. Yet on Monday Apple confirmed that the Watch will allow voice calls from your wrist, just like Samsung’s Gear, an ambitious but seriously flawed smartwatch pioneer. Baktidy, owner of two auto body repair shops in New York and two dozen watches by luxury brands including Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Breitling and Omega.

As for this traveler, I’m getting on board!) Follow me @lealane, or on Instagram, where I’m Travelea; and check out Amazon for my latest book in paperback and on Kindle, Travel Tales I Couldn’t Put in the Guidebooks But it’s also essentially useless, as none of these watches’ heart rate sensors can provide accurate real-time readings during the jumping and jostling of physical exercise. Now, sure, you could argue that some smartwatch features are must-haves, that a smartwatch isn’t a smartwatch unless these features are present and accounted for. I think a much stronger Apple Watch would offer simple notifications, Passbook with built-in Apple Pay, HomeKit integration, and a full suite of timekeeping and personal messaging functions.

Indeed, Apple’s small, ostensibly trivial surprise-and-delight tricks (taps, sketches, stickers, and custom animated emojis) might be all the Watch requires to be a resounding success. So while you might buy the upcoming Apple Watch, you may not buy its second-gen follow-up if you feel you didn’t get your money’s worth, or some borderline features just didn’t work.

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