Today the Apple Watch starts shipping. A lot of the pre-release reviews have been mixed and written it off as an overpriced under-specced version 1.0 that is probably best avoided.
It’s also been described as ‘something you want but you don’t need’. But this is exactly what people said about the Apple iPad. Many predicted it would be a comparative failure next to the iPhone. Despite this Apple went on to sell over 200 million iPads.
I think these reviews have missed something. The Apple Watch has the potential to lead us into a whole new era of computing. The iPhone and iPad were a big departure from a keyboard and mouse but retained the concept of clicking on icons and typing on a keyboard (even if virtual).
The Watch moves us another step away from the form in which we’ve interacted with computers over the last 50 years. It moves us towards ubiquitous technology – technology that is totally integrated with our lives, almost part of our body. Why force us to pick up our phone a hundred times a day to look at its screen and to type (which was never a natural human interaction) when we can talk to it, feel its nudges, and use force-touch to communicate what we want to do. This is part of a trend called “No interface”. There’s a great intro this week from TrendWatching and there’s also the recent book The Best Interface is No Interface.
I couldn’t resist a front-row seat at the reinvention of the human-computer interface so I put my order in on day one and went to try on the Watch in the Covent Garden Apple store. Unfortunately there had been so many orders in the first hour that the shipping dates had already moved to June – so I’m going to have be patient for a while longer yet.
I look forward to seeing where the “No interface” trend will lead and what businesses will emerge around this new platform.
Meanwhile here is an interesting article here on why the Apple Watch launch needs to be understood as a watershed event by Horace Dediu, an experienced analyst of mobile technology.