History of the Apple WatchMay 01, 2020
Hey guys, it's Greg with Apple Explained, and today we're going to take a look at the secret development process of the Apple Watch and the updates it's received since its introduction. This topic won last week's voting poll and if you weren't able to vote, make sure you are subscribed, that way the voting polls will appear directly in your activity feed and you can tell me which video you would like to see. see next. When Tim Cook introduced the Apple Watch in September 2014, it marked the beginning of a new era for the company, as Apple had never before made a wearable device.
And as you can imagine, it wasn't an overnight project. In fact, the foundation of the Apple Watch dates back to 2002, when Apple's design team asked Nike for several high-end sports
watches. Apple ended up receiving a couple of different models, including the Presto digital bracelets and the aluminum Oregon series Alti-Compass. This may have seemed like an odd request for Nike, but Scott Wilson, who was its creative director at the time, said, "he was flattered that they requested them. We thought they were just personal requests, but their materials guy followed up with many "Questions about materials and processes.
They definitely relied on
watchindustry techniques and manufacturing in their products from the first iPhone." This strong base of knowledge and experience in mobile devices eventually led Apple to think seriously about smartwatches, but before entering the development of the Apple Watch itself, you may find it interesting to know that Apple already made a smartwatch back in 2010. And it was called the 6th generation iPod Nano. Now, obviously Apple didn't market it as a smartwatch, but this iPod nano did include a variety of watch faces. And other manufacturers actually made watch straps for it. Many users wore them.
The iPod nano on their wrist as a watch and this became a popular trend among Apple fans at that time. And perhaps this further encouraged Apple to create a proper smartwatch as users showed interest in that type of technology.Now let's talk about the early days. of the development of the Apple Watch. In 2011, Apple filed for several watch-related patents, including a bracelet that harnessed the kinetic energy of everyday wrist movements to recharge its battery. The patents also suggested that the device would include a curved touch screen made of flexible glass, along with numerous sensors to monitor exercise patterns and heart rate.
And since many of these features were eventually included in the Apple Watch, we can assume that the Apple Watch project was officially formed in 2011, shortly after the death of Steve Jobs. During this time, Apple invited a number of watch historians to speak at its Cupertino campus, likely as a way to educate its employees and generate ideas about how its own smartwatch should work. Now, the following year, 2012, rumors about an Apple smartwatch were already growing. Most of this speculation was based on a Chinese news site that claimed Apple was working on a new device with Intel chips, Bluetooth low energy technology, a 1.5-inch touchscreen, and voice controls.
And this information would turn out to be quite accurate, although no one was sure of it at the time. I should also mention that the Apple Watch was called the iWatch, both internally at Apple and externally by suspicious consumers. It wouldn't carry the name Apple Watch until its introduction in 2014. And when Tim Cook was asked why it wasn't called the iWatch, Cook simply said, "I think Apple Watch sounds better, don't you?" Now, 2013 is when the Apple Watch project reached a big milestone. It left the experimentation phase and went into official production. This meant that Apple began investing more resources into the Apple Watch and had to prepare for mass production.
And more suspicions arose about an Apple smartwatch when an anonymous employee claimed that Apple held discussions with its manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry about producing a device that was neither a smartphone nor a tablet. Now, because of all the talk and anticipation around Apple's potential smartwatch, some companies wanted to beat Apple to the market and position themselves as pioneers in the industry. One of those companies was Samsung. They launched their own smartwatch called Galaxy Gear in September 2013 and it was a huge flop. Only 800,000 units were shipped worldwide and we're not sure how many of those units were actually purchased, as Samsung never released those numbers.
But what we do know is that at least 30% of Galaxy Gear watches sold at Best Buy were returned by dissatisfied customers. Reviewers were also dissatisfied with the device, some of their complaints included an uncomfortable and inflexible strap as some components were housed inside it, limited app functionality, an inconsistent notification system, and poor battery life. I think The Verge summed it up pretty well when they said: "As with industrial design, software engineering is not among Samsung's strengths, and the results on the Gear are a painful mix of unreliability and inadequacy." . Apple's unofficial blog compared the Galaxy Gear to the sixth-generation iPod Nano, calling the three-year-old MP3 player a "better and cheaper smartwatch" than the Galaxy Gear because it didn't rely on a smartphone. host". or tablet, and contained more features than the Galaxy Gear.
Now, in mid-2013, Apple had already applied for 79 watch-related patents and registered the name iWatch in Japan and Russia. And during an interview at the AllThingsDigital conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at the possibility of developing a wearable device. He said: "It's an area that's ripe for exploration, it's ripe for us to get excited, a lot of companies will play in this space." As for other wearable devices like Google Glass, Cook wasn't so sure: "I'm interested in a great product. I wear glasses because I have to, I don't know many people who wear them because I don't have to." Now, from From 2013 to 2014, Apple began to reorganize and recruit talent to assist in the development of the Apple Watch.
The reorganization occurred with Jeff Williams, the company's senior vice president of operations, who was assigned as the head of the Apple Watch project, responsible for overseeing logistics. And planning with suppliers like Foxconn. And Apple recruited Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as head of its retail and online stores. And the health features included in the watch were made possible by two medical technology experts that Apple hired. And finally, the vice president of sales of luxury watch manufacturer TAG Heuer joined the team in 2014. Now, the hiring of all these people with experience in the watch industry raised eyebrows in the technology community.
Apple was essentially signaling that a smartwatch would be released, and it was just a matter of time. In September 2014, the wait was over: Apple finally revealed the Apple Watch at the "One More Thing..." event alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. It featured Apple's single-core S1 system-on-chip and relied on a paired iPhone for location services, as it did not include GPS. Although it did include something called a linear actuator which Apple marketed as a "Taptic Engine" that provided haptic feedback in different situations, such as when an alert or notification was received. The watch was also equipped with a built-in heart rate sensor, which used visible and infrared light LEDs in addition to photodiodes.
Now, one problem with such a small touchscreen is that you can't pinch to zoom, so Apple created the Digital Crown to replace it. With it, you can zoom in and out, raise and lower the volume, and scroll through menus. Another problem with small screens is that they can't display much content at once. And Apple got around this by incorporating something called force touch, where users could access additional features when they pressed hard on the screen. Now let's talk about the specifications. All versions of the first-generation Apple Watch had 8GB of storage; but the operating system only allowed users to store up to 2GB of music and 75MB of photos.
It also featured splash resistance, Bluetooth 4.0, a 450-nit retina OLED display, a 520 MHz single-core processor, and 512 MB of RAM. Now there were a few different Apple Watch models. First, the sporty Apple Watch, which was made of aluminum and had a starting price of $349. Second, the regular Apple Watch, which was stainless steel and started at $549. And third, the Apple Watch Edition, which was gold and started at $10,000. But just a year later, Apple stopped selling the Apple Watch Edition in gold and opted for a nice ceramic finish that dropped its price to $1,249. Now you might be thinking, why did Apple sell a $10,000 gold smartwatch to begin with?
Well, it wasn't something Tim Cook supported. In reality, it was Apple's chief designer, Jonathan Ives, who pushed with all his might to make the gold Apple Watch a reality. He believes that to be taken seriously by luxury Swiss watchmakers, Apple had to create its own luxury watch. But the problem is that smart watches end up becoming obsolete, while mechanical watches last a lifetime. Now, the Apple Watches Series 1 and Series 2 were released in late 2016 and provided some interesting improvements over the original. Both models added a faster 780MHz dual-core processor, while the Series 2 had built-in GPS, water resistance up to 50 meters, a second-generation retina OLED display with 1000 nits of brightness, and a higher-capacity battery.
Apple also added two new models: Apple Watch Nike Plus and Apple Watch Hermes. What made these models unique were their straps and watch faces that were not available to other users. The next update arrived with the Series 3 in late 2017. These models added optional support for LTE cellular connectivity that would add $10 to your monthly phone bill, Bluetooth 4.2, an altimeter to measure ascended flights, and 768 MB of RAM. Reception of the Apple Watch was generally positive, with a few exceptions, especially with the original launch. Reviewers praised the watch's overall design and its potential to integrate into everyday life, but noted speed and price issues.
Many described the watch as functional and convenient, although they also felt that it did not offer as much functionality as smartphones at its launch. Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times thought the device had a steep learning curve and said it took him "three long, often confusing and frustrating days" to get used to it. But when critics compared it to competing products, such as Android Wear, they stated that "the smartwatch finally makes sense." There were also mixed opinions on the battery life, with Geoffrey Fowler of The Wall Street Journal saying that "the battery lives up to its all-day billing, but sometimes just barely." Others complained that there simply wasn't much to do with it.
The Financial Times' Tim Bradshaw used the Apple Watch for a few days and concluded that there were no "killer apps" so far besides telling time, which is the basic function of a wristwatch anyway. There were also some issues with the Apple Watch heart monitor for people with tattoos working properly, as the watch shined a green LED light on the skin and recorded the amount of light absorbed by the blood. But in certain circumstances, such as with tattoos or other conditions, the skin would not allow the green light to be absorbed and would therefore provide inaccurate heart monitor results.
Since its launch in 2015, the Apple Watch has become the world's number one smartwatch with approximately 24% of the global market share and generates billions of dollars for Apple each year. But it is interesting to note that the watch has not yet received a design update. It looks the same today as it did three and a half years ago, and many are wondering how the Apple Watch will change when Apple gives it a new design. Will it still have a rectangular design or will Apple go in the direction of the Moto 360 and create a circular Apple Watch? I personally enjoy the current design, although I would appreciate a slimmer profile as I tend to hit my watch on various things, such as doors.
But let me know in the comments what you'd like to see in a redesigned Apple Watch. And if you want to vote for the next topic in the video, don't forget to subscribe. Thanks for watching and see you next time.
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