According to Re/code, Apple’s first wearable device will be shown off at the company’s Sept. 9 event, but it won’t be available to purchase until 2015.
There’s one very good reason for that, and it can be summed up in one word: Apps.
When the iPhone first launched, many were sceptical of its high-end starting price of $US500, particularly for an untested product with a measly 4 GB of storage space. Many are similarly sceptical of the iWatch’s alleged $US400 price tag.
That phone was a success anyway, but iPhone sales didn’t really take off — or become the iPhone experience we’re all familiar with today — until the iPhone 3G, which was the first phone to ship with the iOS App Store.
The App Store, which first launched in an iTunes update in July 2008, answered the big unanswered question at the time: “What makes a smartphone so special?”
(We have yet to answer that question with smartwatches, but that’s where apps come in.)
Third-party apps — software that allowed users to navigate their surroundings, order food, hail a cab, or read the news — made the iPhone into a monumental success. The iOS App Store inspired others like Google and Amazon to make their own stores, and the rest is history.
Well, Apple is ready to launch another untested product — but like the iPhone and iPad, it will take time for developers to grasp and build apps specifically for the new screen and interface.
If Apple launched the iWatch in October, as earlier reports said it would, developers would only have about 30-50 days to reconfigure their apps for the iWatch or build new apps from scratch. That’s not a lot of time, especially since Apple will reportedly introduce two new iPhone screen sizes this year, which ought to send developers scrambling to optimise those apps.
By pushing the release of the iWatch to 2015, developers will have more time to build apps first for the new iPhones, and then for the iWatch, which is expected to be closely tied to the iPhone anyway. Of course, development for the iWatch will really open up once it’s available to the public, so we might not see any boundary-pushing apps for some time. We’ll likely learn more about Apple’s timetable for the wrist wearable on Sept. 9.
Nobody has seen the device yet, which might be called “iWatch” or “iBand,” but we have a pretty good idea of what it can do. Based on iOS 8, the company’s forthcoming software release for mobile devices, Apple’s rumoured wearable will be able to talk to the company’s other gadgets — like iPhones, Mac computers and Apple TV — but also be able to control home electronics, and accurately measure your health for the sake of preventative care, among other features.
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