The iPhone is still Apple’s hottest product, and it’s not even close yet. Don’t get distracted by all the folks who are eager to buy a car, wondering what Apple’s AR headset might look like, claiming that the iPad is the computer of the future, or wishing that Apple would actually go ahead and build a TV. The iPhone still accounts for most of Apple’s revenue, and iPhone users — who also pay for iCloud and Apple TV Plus and buy cases, cables, headphones, and smartwatches — account for even more. Apple has been the iPhone company for more than a decade, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
But the iPhone may not be the star of the show on Wednesday, when Apple holds its annual fall product fair. We’re expecting new iPhones, yeah iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max — but they’re likely to be the latest in a long line of slightly better iPhones. The iPhone is a great but quite mature product, and perhaps its most exciting innovation has already taken place.
Keep an eye on the smaller Apple display instead because the most important category of devices Apple will be talking about this week is the Apple Watch. It looks like Apple is preparing to announce up to three new smartwatch models, including the (apparently) larger Apple Watch Pro. Much larger), more powerful and more informative than any previous versions of Watch. And in the process, it could also finally start making the watch case the next great Apple device.
Seven years after its original debut, Apple has turned the watch into a super-successful iPhone accessory. But the watch could be more, and Apple needs to finally make it happen. Because we’re not all getting Apple headphones anytime soon, and good luck waiting for that car to finally ship. With the smartphone market still stable, and people keeping their phones longer and staying rooted in their ecosystems, the Apple Watch gives a chance to get the next big thing that’s already here. A smartwatch is old hat, but the age of the wrist computer may be just beginning.
Apple’s original ambitions for the Apple Watch were big – Maybe too big at that time. The company imagined it as, in essence, a more humane version of your iPhone. Since it’s on your wrist, you don’t have to take it out of your pocket a hundred times a day. It contains biometric sensors that help the device – and you – understand how you are physically doing at any given moment. Siri is used to accomplish the simplest tasks. Put these things together, and you’ll have a device that can be a digital partner that can help improve your life, not a big, flashing screen trying to suck the life out of you.
Since then, the watch has turned into a primarily fitness and health device. Almost every other smartwatch has switched to that as well. And Apple is an excellent story: the stories you hear about saving lives fall detection or Heart rate notifications Real, Fitness Plus ecosystem has turned into one of Best workout tools for beginners In the market.
Apple continues to count on what it does best, too. The new watches are said to have body temperature sensors, and Apple is rumored to be working on glucose monitoring as well. The Watch Pro will be, by all accounts, a powerful multi-sport fitness device, with the likes of Garmin and Polar sporting a stiffer chassis and a more advanced build. And from What we know about watchOS 9Health and fitness continues to be the driving force behind the devices. Apple is adding more sleep tracking, improved medication and heart rate tracking, and more accurate controls and analytics for athletes. The watch remains a fitness device.
But wait: There will now be an Apple Watch with a larger screen, More buttons are said, and probably better battery life? and maybe Even satellite communication? Not only could that make the watch a better fitness device, but it could also unlock some things that Apple couldn’t do before. The watch’s small battery has always meant you can’t ask it to do intense things, and the small screen makes it hard to type or tap a lot. But even a small expansion of both the battery and the screen can make some of these issues go away. (Watch Pro is also rumored to be You have another button on the caseand one button can make all the difference in what a device can do.)
Apple Watch wouldn’t be a good TikTok device or a satisfying way to watch Dragon House. But it doesn’t have to be. To deliver on its promise, the Apple Watch must be a better tool for managing the fast and constant interactions we all have with technology every day. In this world, your phone becomes something you use when you want to – to watch something, play a game, take some pictures, read the news – rather than the all-encompassing device it is currently. There is no way that the best way to turn on the lights is to take your phone out of your pocket, turn it on, open it, open an app, and toggle the button. There are a million such things in the life of every iPhone user, and a watch should be the answer to most of them.
These are tough problems to solve, of course, especially on the small screen, and Apple has been working on them for some time. Checking notifications is the most important, and Apple says watchOS 9 is redesigning it to be “less annoying while still being impactful.” Apple has also redesigned the Reminders and Calendar apps, both of which you need to check often but rarely need a full screen of info from. WatchOS 9 provides more access to voice calling apps, making the Watch and AirPods an effective combination of communications.
The watch actually serves some of that purpose — some parents Buying their children’s watches connected to the cell phone Instead of smartphones, for example, so they can track and communicate with their kids without worrying about screen time and internet addiction. Apple headed in that direction, adding more parental controls and Watch Family Sharing features. But the most reasonable and effective relationship with technology is something that Apple hoped the watch would provide for everyone.
The most powerful version of the watch is the version that is completely untethered to the iPhone. Until you can set it up, download it, organize all your apps, and use the watch entirely on its own, it will still feel like a phone accessory. Apple has made a couple of steps in that direction, including with the Family Setup, but a fully self-sufficient smartwatch may still be too complex and too power-hungry. Not to mention that Apple has no reason specifically to make this happen because they still prefer buying an iPhone. A good compromise might be to require your iPhone for occasional setup and maintenance but otherwise let the watch run on its own.
The other thing that stopped the clock a long time ago is that Siri isn’t very good. It works well to set timers and get really basic tasks done but still makes minor and unacceptable mistakes all the time. I scream “Hey Siri, remind me of” on my phone about a hundred times a day, and it spells the task correctly only about half the time. I have officially given up trying to play the song I’m thinking of or use it to replace my web searches. However, in a way, a fully-featured watch can live up to Siri’s promise by making all the little things easier to access and get done. It will only use buttons instead of voice commands.
If Apple doesn’t figure out how to turn smartwatches into more than just fitness devices, there’s a good chance someone else will. Google is reinvesting in the space, and The Pixel Watch is likely to come In the next few weeks. Samsung Galaxy Watches keep improving as well. Apple completely dominates the smartwatch market, but there are real and powerful competitors who are finally starting to appear in the space.
When was Tim Cook & Co. Announcing the new Watch models, they’ll almost certainly continue to talk about them as health and fitness devices. It’s a good playground, and it works! But keep an eye out for signs that Apple knows it’s not just building a fitness tracker but a wrist computer that knows who you are and how you’re doing — and that Apple is starting to figure out what to do with it. There probably won’t be any, and maybe Apple is just happy to build a great fitness tracker. But perhaps, as technology improves, screens get bigger and batteries last longer, Apple is ready to get back to building the less intrusive, more efficient computing tool we’ve been waiting for.