Everyone is excited for the upcoming release of the Moto 360 smart watch powered by Android Wear. It is a bit larger than a normal wristwatch, but it is one of the first smart watches that can be worn daily without drawing unwanted attention. It has one of the few features that most smartwatch makers seem to leave out, the device actually looks great. The press was quick to announce that android took the steam out of any announcement that Apple can make in the future about their mysterious smartwatch that has been talked about for years. I think that everyone forgot what happened 13 years ago when Apple was three years behind other Mp3 manufacturers with the release of the iPod.
In 1998, Diamond released the Rio mp3 player that was a quiet hit and adopted by a small segment of music lovers who had various legal and illegal methods for obtaining music. The Rio proved that mp3 players were a viable alternative to portable CD players and took the mp3 off of the computer and into your pocket. With the success of the Rio, more companies were willing to take the plunge into this new electronics market. RCA released the more refined Lyra in 1999 and it was even more evident that a new era of music listening was upon us. The following year Archos released the Jukebox 6000 and Creative released the Nomad series of mp3 jukebox systems. It wasn’t until three years after Diamond released the Rio that Apple evaluated the current state of portable media players and created the iPod.
Steve Jobs went on stage to claim that there were no market leaders in the digital music category. He went on to say that electronics market leaders like Sony have failed to have any success in the field. Jobs pointed out that the four type of music storage/player devices at the time were the portable CD player, Mp3 CD Player, the flash storage media player and the hard disk media player that could carry 1000 songs when the next closest device could carry only 150 songs. Apple provided the idea of carrying your entire mp3 library in your pocket. They improved the small things and went back to basics with a minimalistic design and faster USB transfer speeds than any other mp3 player out at the time. They also added a quick charge 10-hour battery than was able to get a 80% charge in about an hour. The device was beautiful(at the time), had a simple UI , it was quick charging and it played well with your existing music collection. The killer utility came a little later with the release of iTunes. Over the next few years, Apple improved the ipod and eventually morphed it into the iPhone and changed mobile in the same way that it change music.
Apple is great at sitting back and waiting for things to mature a little before they jump in, simplify and re-imagine a device to make a better experience for the user. People claim that Apple lost a clear vision of what customers are looking for when Steve Jobs passed away, but I believe that Apple still is sitting on ideas and technology that will change our lives for the better.
I believe that Apple will release an ‘iWatch’ after the Moto 360 and other Android Wear devices are released. They will most likely figure out a way to make it easier to use and offer functionality that the current wearables are not even considering. If the rumors are correct the Apple wearable device will have advanced health tracking features and offer iOS notifications. I think that Android Wear will be a good competitor because it will likely be more affordable than anything Apple releases. Devices like the Pebble and Samsung’s Tizen OS wearables are sure to be dead in the water. I would have to guess unless the Pebble does a massive price drop, they are dead as soon as the Moto 360 is released. The Moto 360 appears to have taken a minimalistic design approach ahead of Apple’s release, but Apple and Jony Ive are the kings of minimalistic design. The higher end Apple products are just designed more beautifully than any devices out there. The web is full of rumors every month of what kind of features the Apple wearable device will have and how it will look. Fans of Apple are even creating designs of how they would like the device to look like. (see below)
Apple is at the pulse of what the world wants and interesting enough, I bet their device will give you a pulse reading.
I just hope that 2014 is the year the we finally get to buy one of these devices.