One year ago, most were expecting Apple to unveil an "iWatch" in September 2013. That didn't happen, of course. Instead, it looks like Apple's long-rumored wearable device will make its debut this September or October.
On July 3, 2013, I suggested five ways Apple could guarantee that the iWatch would be a success. My list holds up fairly well one year later, despite the passage of time. Unfortunately, on at least two of these points, Apple will probably be going in another direction.
Then: I was an early proponent of UP, the exercise and sleep tracker by Jawbone. A few weeks ago, I switched to the Fitbit Flex. Unlike the UP, the Flex provides wireless syncing to the desktop and iPhone. That reason alone is why I switched.
The iWatch needs to sync to iOS devices wirelessly. Otherwise, it could prove too cumbersome for many users.
Now: Wireless syncing has gone mainstream thanks to Bluetooth Low Energy. The iWatch will almost certainly ship with this technology, or something similar. The wearable device may also feature wireless charging capabilities.
This isn’t an iPhone
Then: With that being said, the iWatch also needs to be able to stand on its own. No doubt, the iWatch will include features that are enhanced by connecting it to the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad. However, this shouldn’t be a requirement.
Like current iOS devices, the iWatch should be able to download its own music, apps, or games. In other words, it should include its very own iTunes and App Stores.
Now: The iWatch is likely to focus on fitness. Therefore, I'm not sure there's going to be room on the device for its own music, apps, or games.
Would this be such a big deal? Maybe not.
Don’t forget your audience
Then: Apple needs to remember that not everyone carries the Y chromosome, or wants to wear what most would consider a bulky watch. Therefore, the iWatch should be designed to appeal to both sexes.
Now: In June, The Wall Street Journal reported the iWatch is going to have different versions and come equipped with a number of sensors. In other words, a female version is probable.
The Right Price
Then: The iWatch needs to be priced right. The sweet spot seems to me to be around $99 so that it can be an impulse buy.
Now: Apple is likely to price the iWatch between $250 and $350. This price point might prove difficult for Apple to maintain once first adopters are out of the way. Competition may also drive the price down -- at least in time.
Why we need it
Then: Finally, we end where we began. Apple needs to remind us that wristwatches are part of our past, present, and future, despite us living in the smartphone age.
The first ad Apple produced for the iPhone featured movie clips of celebrities using a phone. To me, this showed that since everyone uses a phone, everyone needed an iPhone. Apple needs to do the same when it introduces the world to the iWatch.
What I imagine is a series of ads that show everyday people checking the time, whether on a watch, smartphone, or Times Square billboard. The slogan: It’s Time.
Now: In June, Apple released an ad that highlighted several wearable devices and other accessories that already work with the iPhone 5s. "Strength" felt like the world's first iWatch advertisement, although the long-rumored wearable device was never mentioned.
I expect we'll see Apple launch an avalanche of iWatch ads once the device is finally released. Will they be as good as that first iPhone ad? We should find out very soon.
What does Apple need to do to convince you to buy an iWatch?
Image: iWatch concept, Pyropixel