CHAN: Success of Apple Watch may hinge on hefty price tag

Madison Chan, Staff Writer

Watch out, everyone, because three new Apple products have just fallen off the Apple tree.  On Tuesday, Apple unveiled a number of their newest revolutionary ideas, including Apple Pay, the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch. Out of all of these big reveals, the Apple Watch in particular created a storm of interest as it marks the beginning of what may become the age of wearable technology.

Contrary to popular belief, the Apple Watch is more than a shrunken down iPhone strapped to your wrist. I have to admit, when I first heard about it, I thought it was kind of redundant. Most of a watch’s features are now available on an iPhone, and if you need a portable clock on your wrist, let’s face it, regular watches do that just fine. It didn’t seem like Apple was answering a legitimate need like they had with previous products. However, as more information about the Apple Watch became available, I found it easier to imagine the technology gap it would fill.

The thing I found most intriguing about the Apple Watch was the fitness and health component. Two new and innovative apps have joined Apple’s lineup: The Activity app, for tracking everyday fitness, and the Workout app, for setting goals and tracking specific activities. By keeping track of daily calorie burn, time spent doing brisk activity, and time spent standing as opposed to sitting, you can get an overall look of your daily fitness.

Unlike other attempts at urging America toward a healthier state, this might actually succeed; it’s easy, accessible, isn’t asking for much, and is persistent. If people looked at their fitness progress as often as they checked their Twitter feed, we could be looking at a much more health-conscious population.

As far as some of the basic Apple functions go, the Apple Watch does store pictures, send messages, run popular applications, and includes Siri. However, many of these also include a new twist. In addition to standard messages, one can now send a Digital Touch message. Digital Touch expands the world of communication by allowing people to send feelings such as a tap or a heartbeat through their device. It also allows the user to draw and send sketches. Although the Digital Touch was demonstrated to great applause from the audience, it remains to be seen whether or not this feature is useful enough to really take off.

Another interesting addition with the Apple Watch is WatchKit, which allows app developers to adapt their app specifically for the Apple Watch. A cool example is the Maps app; although the app retains its iconic blue path, the watch can tell the user to turn left or right with a vibration or pulse. In my opinion, the thought of nonvisual directions in itself is worth expanding upon.

The last substantial change with the Apple Watch is the addition of the Digital Crown. From a functional standpoint, the digital crown seems like the watch’s version of the home button. It can be used to pull up the home screen, scroll through and select applications, zoom in/out, and when pressed down, activates Siri. However, this seems more like a solution to a problem created by the watch – its miniscule touch screen – rather than a solution to a preexisting problem.

Overall, I think that the new Apple Watch is certainly interesting, but whether or not it will live up to the success of the iPhone is yet to be seen. I would definitely use it… but the real question is whether or not it’s worth $349, the starting price for the Apple Watch. I, for one, don’t think it is.

But get ready because Apple is about to change the world of technology as we know it… again.