This week, Apple finally gave us more details about the Apple Watch, which launches on April 24 and will cost anywhere between $US350-$US17,000, depending on the model you want.
Expectations were high, to say the least. The tech industry has been looking to Apple to show us why we would want or need a smartwatch, just like it did with the smartphone when the iPhone launched in 2007.
But the first generation iPhone wasn’t that great. It didn’t have an app store, and it was full of bugs and glitches. It didn’t take long for Apple to make major improvements, though, and many people believe the case will be the same for the Apple Watch.
Despite its high price tag, the Apple Watch is probably one of the best smartwatches you can buy today. But there are a few reasons you might want to hold off.
The next version of the Apple Watch will probably have better battery life.
Apple says the watch will be able to last for 18 hours on a single charge, which varies depending on how you use it. That means you’ll have to charge it every night.
Battery life was a big concern for Apple. Initial reports suggested it wouldn’t be able to make it through a day, which would be troublesome. But the problem isn’t specific to Apple, other smartwatches such as the Moto 360 received similar complaints. (Motorola has improved the battery since).
That’s because the components in today’s smartwatches are really designed for smartphones, Chris Jones, VP, principal analyst at Canalys Insight told Business Insider in a previous interview about one year ago. Chip makers will probably design components that are better suited for smaller wrist-worn devices as smartwatches become more popular.
Intel’s new Curie computer, which the company announced at CES in January, is the size of a button and includes sensors commonly found in wearables such as a pedometer. There’s a chance that the next Apple Watch, as well as other competing smartwatches, will run on smaller components that are more battery efficient.
Apple could add more health sensors that didn’t make it into the current model.
Apple reportedly cut a bunch of health-related features that it originally planned to include in the Apple Watch, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. These included a sensor that could measure your blood pressure, oxygen levels, and how stressed you are by examining your sweat levels. The Apple Watch was supposed to ship with a more advanced heart rate monitor, too.
It’s unclear exactly what these features didn’t make it to the final product — the Journal reports that the company simply couldn’t get them to work. But that doesn’t mean we won’t see them in the future. Perhaps Apple will figure out how to get these sensors to work properly in time for its next major Watch launch.
Apple may introduce new casing options.
Apple is offering the Apple Watch in three different flavours: Watch Sport, which has an aluminium casing, the Watch, which is made of stainless steel, and the 18-karat gold Watch Edition.
On its website, Apple says it created custom metals and gold alloys that are more durable than usual for its watch. There’s a chance Apple will further improve its current cases while also adding new options. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Apple eventually offer new, slimmer watch cases made of the same materials too.
Maybe Apple will make an Apple Watch that doesn’t need to be connected to your iPhone.
The Apple Watch won’t do much other than telling the time unless it’s connected to your iPhone. This means you won’t be able to send or receive messages, send your heartbeat to another wearer, or perform any other task that requires an internet connection unless your iPhone is nearby.
This can be limiting, as The Wall Street Journal’s Daisuke Wakabayashi notes:
Apple Watch faces significant challenges. The device needs to be close to an iPhone to have wireless connectivity or gather global-positioning-system location information. This makes the watch an accessory to a device that already performs most tasks well.
Most smartwatches suffer from the same limitation, except for Samsung’s Gear S, which has its own 3G radio built-in. But it’s also a bit bulkier than the Apple Watch. As components become smaller and easier to squeeze into a tight space, there’s a chance Apple could add this functionality to its watch too.
Apple Watch apps will probably get better.
This isn’t an improvement that’s specific to Apple, but it’s still worth mentioning. Once people actually start buying the Apple Watch, both Apple and third-party developers will learn what kinds of apps work best on the wrist. Apps for the iPhone and iPad have gotten more polished over the years, and there’s no reason to believe the same won’t happen for the Apple Watch.
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