Initial Apple Watch thoughts: Bands

My obsession with the Apple Watch continues as I try and understand the complexity of this product. I’ve been looking at the gallery for the Apple Watch and here are some initial observations regarding the bands.

apple watch sport 2 Initial Apple Watch thoughts: Bands

First, look at the sports bands. Notice how they are a solid color all way through, even to area where it slides into the watch case itself. What this tells me is that the sports bands are, for the most part, designed to look good on all versions of the Apple Watch. There’s only two slight differences as far as I can tell and that’s in the metal accents that are available in gold and space grey for the Apple Watch Edition (gold) and the Space Grey Apple Watch Sport.

white gold watch Initial Apple Watch thoughts: Bands

Putting those two differences aside, it appears that the Apple Watch Sport is really designed to be used with the sport bands. This basically means you have 5 colors to chose from.

White
Blue
Green
Pink
Black

Next, let’s look at the stainless steel Apple Watch, otherwise known as “Apple Watch.” Take a look at the bands very closely and you’ll notice something very interesting.

apple watch 31 Initial Apple Watch thoughts: Bands

See it? The “hinge” where it connects to the watch is polished to match the watch case. What this means is that while the bands may fit on other models like the Apple Watch Sport, it certainly won’t look good because you’ll have a polished band on an otherwise matte aluminum case. In fact, from the looks of it, it appears that there are at least 6 bands that are specifically built for just the stainless steel version. And remember, as I mentioned above, this doesn’t include the sport bands or the Leather Loop versions which could technically go on the Apple Watch Sport but are not ideal. All in all, if you purchase a stainless steel Apple Watch (non space gray) in either 38mm or 42mm, you’ll be able to interchange 14 different bands and have them all look good. No other models have this much flexibility. Clearly this is Apple’s flagship model.

Here are all the models that will work and look good on the stainless steel Apple Watch:

Sport:

White
Blue
Green
Pink
Black

Leather:

Black Classic Buckle
Soft Pink Modern Buckle
Brown Modern Buckle
Midnight Blue Modern Buckle
Stone Leather Loop
Bright Blue Leather Loop
Light Brown Leather Loop

Metal:

Milanese Loop
Stainless Steel Link Bracelet

Finally, the gold Apple Watch, otherwise known as the “Apple Watch Edition”, has taken some cues from the stainless steel Apple Watch and adopted some bands that have gold ends to match the gold case it clips into.

apple watch edition gold Initial Apple Watch thoughts: Bands

These bands include:

Bright Red Modern Buckle (exclusive to Apple Watch Edition)
Rose Grey Modern Buckle (exclusive to Apple Watch Edition)
Midnight Blue Classic Buckle

In addition to these bands, there are also two sport bands that have matching gold accents (black and white). This makes sense as gold accents on pink, green or blue would look pretty bad.

In total, it appears that if you buy the gold Apple Watch, you’ll only have 5 bands to choose from, especially if you want a strap that matches.

Quick pricing thoughts

Many have speculated on the price of these watches and while we can be pretty sure that the Apple Watch Sport is the version that starts at $349, I’m most interested in seeing how Apple prices the stainless steel Apple Watch. Why? Because with 14 bands to choose from, Apple could price this watch aggressively knowing that buyers may choose to buy several bands. If the sport band costs $80 and the Link Bracelet costs $300, between those two alone you’re already bringing in close to $400 in revenue. And that’s before we get into the possibility of a MFAW (Made for Apple Watch) license program that could bring even more revenue for Apple through 3rd party straps.

This is going to be super interesting.

Side Note: If you’re interested in hearing me talk more about this, feel free to subscribe to my new podcast, Resolve, where I get deep into topics like this. In fact, the first episode will be up this week where I talk to well-known watch reviewer and founder of A Blog To Watch, Ariel Adams. He’s been writing about watches and has had some private time with the Apple Watch.

The wrist and the smartwatch

watch wrist man The wrist and the smartwatch

Think about a future where you’re authenticating, paying, locking and unlocking wirelessly without a physical key. Imagine the day when you can walk up to your house and open the door without having to take out a metal key and insert it into a tiny lock.

Imagine a day when you go to pay for an item and you no longer have to take out a piece of plastic or cash from your wallet or purse.

Imagine the day when you go to the gym and you no longer have to scan a membership card to enter.

Payments, doors, memberships are just a few of countless scenarios that require you to be near in order for you to authenticate.

NFC is the closest technology we have that essentially mimics having a key.

Wikipedia:

Near-field communication (NFC) is a set of standards for smartphones and other mobile devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity, usually no more than a few centimeters.

A few centimeters. Think about that for a second. Not a few inches or even a foot. A few centimeters. And that’s why NFC is going to become increasingly more used in the coming years.

Which brings me to the wrist and the smartwatch.

When you wear a watch it’s essentially never out of sight. And if you wear a smartwatch it will be instantly available for various types of authentication. This is very different from the smartphone. Sure, it’s available and it’s even close by, but it’s only marginally better than having your wallet or purse. Why? Because in both instances you need to either reach into your pocket or dig into your purse to get it. The watch requires no digging.

And that’s why the watch is so compelling. It’s not about looking at photos, it’s not about seeing the time. It’s about convenience from pockets and purses. Sure, some of you may think that’s stupid but is the TV remote stupid? Is keyless car entry stupid? No, it’s not. Once you use it, you can’t imagine your life without it.

That’s what the smartwatch will be.

One picture as to why the Apple Watch won’t be round anytime soon

appple watch round One picture as to why the Apple Watch wont be round anytime soon

Not only does none of the UI fit, but in order to get it to fit, the watch face would have to be BIGGER. Plus, the Apple Watch is not a perfect square. Instead it’s a rectangle, which means it shows more info top to bottom than left to right.

It’s one thing to tell developers to prepare for a larger display. It’s another thing to tell them to prepare for a completely different shape.

12 sweet-looking Apple Watch app designs

Not too long ago we featured some gorgeous Moto 360 app concepts. And now that the Apple Watch has been unveiled, there’s been no shortage of great app and watch-face concepts. Here are a few that we’ve gathered that we like. Enjoy!

bell ross face 12 sweet looking Apple Watch app designs

By Bill Labus

applenetflixv2dribbblesize 12 sweet looking Apple Watch app designs

By Jeff van Steijn

real 12 sweet looking Apple Watch app designs

By Hasan Yalcin

apple watch 2 12 sweet looking Apple Watch app designs

By Henrik Abonyi

interval timer concept 12 sweet looking Apple Watch app designs

By Tristan Parker

apple watch 12 sweet looking Apple Watch app designs

By Kingyo

Apple Watch NASA 2X 12 sweet looking Apple Watch app designs

By Michael Mahmood

watch 12 sweet looking Apple Watch app designs

By Alexander Zaytsev

apple watch4 12 sweet looking Apple Watch app designs

By Michael Martinho

creative dash 12 sweet looking Apple Watch app designs

By Creative Dash

watch concept 12 sweet looking Apple Watch app designs

By Vitor Fernandes

activity 12 sweet looking Apple Watch app designs

by Oleksiy Tymoshenko

Quick thoughts on Apple’s wearable before Apple’s announcement

apple-shadow

We’re less than 24 hours before Apple announces the next-generation iPhone(s) and its long-rumored wearable device. For the past week, I’ve been thinking about which direction I think Apple will go with its wearable. Here are some quick thoughts with just a few hours left to go.

I don’t think it’ll be called the iWatch. The word “watch” pretty much implies two things to me: First, that it’s only worn on your wrist and second that its primary function is to tell time. While I do think most people will wear this device on their wrist, I don’t think its primary function will be to tell time.

If it does have a display (and I think it does), I think it will be square-ish. Round displays are incredibly inefficient at displaying information. Below I’ve attached a couple examples showing maps (rumored) and how text would display. As you can see, it’s not ideal. I think the problem with many of these round smart watches like the Moto 360 is that they’re trying to be a watch first. Because of that, the experience of everything else suffers.

round-square-both

I think there will be some onboard storage to carry some music. Here’s the thing: If part of its primary focus is health, then music playback is probably in the cards. Let’s face it, listening to music while working out is a pretty popular thing to do. Whenever I go for a run, I almost always leave my iPhone at home and take a Nano with me. Why? Because the iPhone is still too big and I prefer not to strap it to my arm when working out. I also don’t think that it would make much sense if I had to wear Apple’s wearable andcarry my iPhone in order to listen to music and monitor my activity. The iPhone can do that on its own. I have my doubts that it’ll stream music given how much it would tax the battery, but I guess it’s possible.

I think it will come in at least three metal flavors just like the iPhone: Space Grey, Silver, and Gold.

I also think that you’ll have a variety of bands to choose from. Some may be arm bands (for working out), others will be wrist bands. I think the combination of various bands and metals will create combinations that can reflect a variety of styles. Think of the iPhone 5c. You know how there’s the colored body, the case, and the wallpaper? I think Apple’s wearable will have a similar approach. Change the face, the strap and you have a totally different feeling device.

5c

Color is more than just a hue. It expresses a feeling. Makes a statement. Declares an allegiance. Color reveals your personality.

– Apple.com

I think we’re going to see some celebrity athlete appearances tomorrow. Rumor was that Kobe Bryant met with Apple not too long ago. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him show off something there.

Last and not least, I think we see Marc Newson at some point tomorrow. Maybe it’s in the video, maybe it’s on stage. I’m not sure. I think he’s been helping Ive on this project for some time. In fact, given that he founded a watch company many years ago, I think he was specifically brought on to help with this.

Oh, and one more thing. I was looking through some of Newson’s watch designs, and the Ikepod Manatee looks particularly interesting. I’m not saying this it what it will look like, but it does fit the description of a square-ish watch that can adapt to different colors. Just Google search “Ikepod Manatee” and see how many variations can exist from the same body (silver).

ikepod-manetee

You should also listen to our latest podcast where Don Lehman (an industrial designer) and I speculate on what’s to come.

Infographic: What people want in the iPhone 6

Recently, Ebay of Australia conducted a survey in which they asked iPhone users what they wanted in Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6. The phone, which is expected to make its debut on September 9th 2014, has been considered by many to be Apple’s most anticipated smartphone release. Rumors have suggested that the device will come in two sizes: A 4.7-inch variant and a monstrous 5.5-inch “phablet” version. There’s also been strong rumors of NFC for payments, as well as a much stronger sapphire laminated display.

Some interesting points from the infographic:

Based on the research, users identified a crack resistant screen, a longer battery life, and water resistance as being the most important features that they would like to see in the iPhone 6. Other wishes include removable battery (which isn’t likely to happen) and mobile wallet capabilities (which is likely happening).

The infographic below shows much more of what folks would like in Apple’s next-generation device. Take a look and see if you agree.