Two years ago, Apple Watch was born: here's what's happened since


On April 24th, 2015, Apple started shipping its first smartwatch, a brand new device category that the company had been developing for years: the Apple Watch.

It's now been two years since the Apple Watch launched, it has undergone one major upgrade with the new Series 2, and it has gone through many software iterations, including a massive speed boost.

In the meantime, smartwatches in general have not been quite the hit that manufacturers had hoped them to be. The small start-up Pebble that started it all for smartwatch enthusiasts is now dead because it could not sell enough watches, companies like Fitbit are struggling to stay relevant, the Android Wear platform has to go through some major changes to prove itself worthy and it seems like smartwatches have still not found their raison d'etre.

Looking at all this, let's focus our attention on the Apple Watch and what has happened in its two years of existence. First, let's start with a quick timeline of the major events in the 2-year anniversary of the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch timeline


  • February 10th, 2013: New York Times and Wall Street Journal report that Apple is beginning to develop an iOS-based smartwatch with a curved screen
  • April 2014: Tim Cook tell The Wall Street Journal that Apple is planning to launch new product categories in 2014
  • September 9th, 2014: Tim Cook officially unveils Apple iPhone 6 and... Apple Watch, "the next chapter in Apple's story" ***Cook describes the Apple Watch as "a precise timepiece, a new intimate way to communicate from your wrist, and a comprehensive health and fitness device." This 3-in-1 explanation is similar to the way Steve Jobs described the revolutionary new iPhone as a 3-in-1 device: phone, internet connected device and music player.
  • April 10th, 2015: Apple Watch pre-orders start
  • April 24th, 2015: Apple Watch official release date
  • June 4th, 2015: Apple announces plans to stock Apple Watch at its retail stores
  • August 24th, 2015: Best Buy announces it will start selling Apple Watch in its stores by end-September
  • September 9th, 2015: Apple Watch Hermes bands collection announced
  • November 6th, 2015: Apple Watch goes on sale in India and other markets
  • March 21st, 2016: New nylon bands and new color watch bands announced at Apple Event. Apple Sport model price cut by $50
  • September 7th, 2016: Apple announces Watch Series 2 with water-protection, brighter display, GPS and faster chip inside. Cuts prices on the first generation Apple Watches and upgrades them. Apple Nike watch collaboration announced.
  • September 13th, 2016: watchOS 3, the biggest software update for the platform arrives. It brings a big boost in app loading times, a dedicated Breathe app, a dock with favorite apps, a new Control Center, and more.


1. Is the Apple Watch a success or a failure?


Two years after the launch of the Apple Watch, there is still no one opinion on whether it has been a success or a failure for Apple.

There are two ways to look at the Apple Watch: firstly, it generates more revenue than any other smartwatch by a long shot, and secondly, it's clearly not a product that generates nearly as much revenue as iPhones and iPads. While Apple does not provide sales numbers for the Watch, Tim Cook has said that the Apple Watch has become the second-biggest watch business by revenue, falling behind only Rolex. Clearly, we have all the evidence to conclude that the Watch is now a multi-billion dollar business that is much bigger than any other smartwatch out there.

So it's up to you to choose your viewpoint: choosing to compare with other devices in its class means that you will see the Apple Watch as a success, and choosing to put it in the overall Apple corporate perspective, it's true that the Apple Watch has not become a game-changer like the iPhone or iPad.

However, we are not here to crunch numbers, we are here to answer the bigger questions around the Apple Watch: do people need one? What is it used for? What is it not good for? And can it ever become a must-have product like our phones. Let's go ahead and start with...

2. Why do people need a smartwatch?



People need a phone and are used to carrying one with them at all times, but do people need a smartwatch? And what should it do and what should it refrain from doing? Luckily, we don't have to write an essay on this topic: Apple itself has a very telling picture of the Apple Watch front and center on its website. Look at it closer: it's clearly a masterpiece of photography, carefully orchestrated to show the most important, the essential aspects of the watch. Analize it well and you will learn a few important things about what Apple views its Watch as.

The choice of a watchface is particularly telling: it shows that the watch is a timepiece, but above all it shows a fitness tracker. Notice that you have the daily rings, the running activity in the top right, and the watch itself in this most representative picture that takes a full screen over at Apple.com is shown in its nylon and sports bands. You can also see a weather app shortcut and a shortcut to the most recent appointment. From this picture, we can see that Apple knows that people use the Watch a lot for tracking their fitness, but also want to check the time, weather and calendar. What is not shown on this picture is notifications, another important aspect of the experience.


The Apple Watch and its meaning has changed over the years: the added speed boost has shown that Apple realizes that it is crucial for people to be able to just quickly glance and see information right away, rather than wait for apps to load or to chat on your apps. The digital crown is no longer the watch interface solve-it-all that Apple touted at start. The app drawer consisting of tiny, bubbly icons is rarely shown, as people have found it hard to navigate such small sized icons. The previously advertized feature that you can look on your photos on the watch is basically not promoted anymore. Most importantly, the Apple Watch is no longer advertized as a communications device. That aspect is not completely gone, but for less accentuated.

The perception of a smartwatch has changed at Apple, as the company now sees more clearly how real people are using the timepiece. And it has realized that a watch is definitely not for: heavy texting or social media, it's not about games. It has realized that the Watch has to be quicker than a phone, because people would instead just use their phones. It has realized that a $10,000 gold watch is an overkill and that most people buy the $300 sports model. It has realized that while apps are important, they are far less important on a watch than on a phone.

3. What has to improve in future Apple Watches


Looking at the competition, it's clear that the Apple Watch has a special place.

It is one of very few small smartwatches that also appeal to women. But other smartwatches have also shown that many things could and should improve in Apple's wearable.

We now have many Android watches with always-on display that lasts a couple of days, while the Apple Watch only lasts one day without the option to have its screen always awake.

We have learned that the digital crown is not that useful and that rival interface mechanisms like the rotating bezel on the Samsung Gear family is now commonly seen as a very viable alternative.

Last but not least, we have learned that many people prefer a round smartwatch that more like a traditional timepiece than this rectangular design.

And, of course, we have also seen independent smartwatches, that can place and receive a phone call without the need to connect to a phone.

Conclusions


At the end of the day, the Apple Watch is a popular device that is still trying to find itself. But while in its early days Apple itself seemed confused as to what and how will users use its Watch, these days it has a much clearer idea. And this knowledge will allow it to move quickly and decisively to make the Watch better. We already know that the company is hard at work on bringing full independence to the watch and the new AirPods work as a great combo with the Watch.

Is a major Apple Watch overhaul coming, though? Can we expect a round Apple Watch or a rotating bezel? We are a bit skeptical on that front. It's not impossible, but with all credible rumors pointing towards a huge push towards the upcoming Apple augmented reality glasses in 2018, a completely new category of a device, we'd think that Apple's thoughts are going towards that upcoming project rather than to an Apple Watch revolution. Only time can tell, though.

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49 Comments

1. slannmage

Posts: 289; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

Got mine a year and a half ago, I think it's great and I just don't get why everyone feels the need to slag everything off that they do not want. If you don't want a Smartwatch, fine, don't buy one, just please stop going on about how something sucks cause you don't want it. It's a watch, it won't change the world... but it doesn't need to.

40. JBDragon

Posts: 9; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

Do people think Amazon's Echo is a Hit? Because looking at the numbers, Amazon has sold 9 million since the Echo launched!!! Apple sold 12 million Apple Watches last year. So Amazon is a hit and Apple is failing? Of course both these numbers are guesses as neither company releases sales numbers. Apple is also selling far, far more then anyone else selling Smart Watches. (Fitbit is not a Smart Watch). Smart Watches on Android has been failing. Look at the Moto 360 that is no more. That was a pretty good looking watch except for some flaws like the flat tire screen and poky. If you can't make money on the hardware you leave. I was going to get a Echo when it was still Pre-Release for $99 and for some reason there was a credit card issue, even though it was fine a couple days before on another order and so Amazon canceled, I thought about it and decided it was pointless. My Apple watch on me can do it all just fine. It works great and in any room I'm in. At any time I can say Hey Siri without touching my watch and issue a command. From telling a joke, to setting a Reminder, a Timer, a Appointment, etc, etc. There's Homekit support built in to control devices around your house by Siri. I'm always learning to do new tricks with it. I've left my iPhone in my office and forgot to take it with me expecting a important call, and I'd be upstairs working on something, and get a call, and answer on my Apple Watch. If it's quick great, or say can you please call me back in 5 minutes so I can get on my phone. Did you know the Apple Watch will tap you one way for a left hand turn and differently for a right hand turn when using Apple Maps? I can go Hey Siri, When do the Giants play next, up pops the info on my screen. I've limited Notifications to only important things so I'm not flooded with a bunch of crap. I can quickly replay to a text message with one of the canned responses or write something on the screen. I can go on and on and on. Just being able to look on the screen at any time and seeing the Time, Date, My next Appointment, The current temp outside, what time sunset and sunrise is, and my Exerside rings is great. Not having to pull out my iphone so much and be a ZOMBIE with the phone like I see so many people doing.

49. jakoh

Posts: 4; Member since: May 09, 2017

ITs not a Watch. Its an anodized aluminum "Square with rounded edges". Its ugly and lookes like a pebble on the wrist, Square with rounded edges looks good on Icons not watches.

2. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1575; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

What happened when the Apple watch launched? Half my customers at Verizon asked if the Samsung smart watch on my wrist was the new Apple Watch, had to tell them Apple was late to another party.

20. Unordinary unregistered

You're one of those annoying reps I try to avoid lmfao. Oh boy

30. iushnt

Posts: 3122; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

So you find all those rep annoying who doesn't promote Apple?

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 31256; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Overall good watch. 8 outta 10.

4. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

I'll buy a smartwatch, irregardless of brand, if it have a weeks worth of battery life. But for now no.

6. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Its never gonna happen so...good luck with that. Its not a watch, its a computer that has watch functions. The software is heavy, its not a ROM chip. So considering the services in the background that have to run, its never gonna get a weeks life unless battery tech changes to something where you can get double the battery into such a small space. I don't know any computer that can last a week on a single charge. No phone, no laptop or similar.

10. sgodsell

Posts: 7416; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Pebble use to last a week. However it was using a MCU instead of full fledged processor that you find in a number of smart watches today. Android Wear, Tizen, and now the second gen Apple watches use full fledged processors. The first gen Apple watch only used a single core 400 MHz processor and was really slow and had no wifi. The second gen now uses a dual core processor. However there is still one major problem with Apples smart watch. It's watch face is off for most of its life. You have to press a button tap a screen or do a wrist gesture in order to view the display. With all Android Wear, and Tizen smart watches they have their displays on all the time, with the option to have the display off, and it will turn on like the Apple watch. There is no option to leave the Apple watch display on all the time. That to me is a major flaw with Apples smart watch.

11. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Sonim XP7 with minimal use ( 5-10 calls a day with 1 email sync ) can hold out 1 full week on a single charge. Hell with 3 email sync and a bit more usage its holded from Friday morning to monday night when i gone camping.

13. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

@TechieXP1969 What happened to your "technology logic". Here let me quote you; "Stop crying. All I hear you guys saying is, change is bad. Lets just keep the old shyte. If we all live in you all's world, cars, planes, space travel and under water diving would never become a reality because you all would still be walking and beating woman with clubs. No one is making you leave the stoneage. But let us leave it." "Technology progresses. Someone hs to take that initial step and others will follow."http://www.phonearena.com/news/Do-you-have-faith-in-the-future-of-21-display-ratio_id93437 Your statement "Its never gonna happen so...good luck with that." contradicts the way you see technology as quoted by you.

32. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The Apple Watch was a huge step backwards. Because it only does what someone else did, 2 years before it. Apple doesn't progress technology, they stall it. The only thing Apple did that I truly and honesty do that was right and progressive, was make a phone that made the industry stop dragging their feet and do better. Yes phones were already progressing to that the iPhone was, but if Apple had never made the iPhone, I think we wouldn't have gotten a phone like the iPhone until 2010 or maybe even later. Every other product Apple made prior and since, have all been backwards VS what others had done already. Example...what did the iPod do that we didn't have before? What about Newton, the Mac, Apple Watch and iPad.

33. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

It's amazing what you chose to quote. But I did say this in my post above. I did leave room for an exception did I not. I never said it was impossible. I said it won't happen unless the follow8ng happens The software is heavy, its not a ROM chip. So considering the services in the background that have to run, its never gonna get a weeks life unless battery tech changes to something where you can get double the battery into such a small space If you are gonna claim I said something and then claim I contradicted myself, may sure your stupid ads reads everything I said. The exception was, someone qpukd need to improve battery tech to make it happen. Samsung is doing that. But until that happens or someone creates a sustainable energy in such a small package, it isn't gonna happen. I fail to see how what I said today go again what you quoted. It dowsnt5. Some things Re impossible. That doesn't mean we can't move forward. Here is a fact for you. We have a power source that even at the size of a nickel, could likely power a smart watch for years. It's called Nuclear energy. The problem is, you can't be near it. So go find a way to make it safe and you will have a power source that basically almost will never die.

36. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

What are you yapping about? I never said anything about Apple. E-ink displays and traditional LCDs can be used. As long as it can display the info I need and a week worth of battery life, any display is welcome. Kinetic charging is good as our body is on constant motion, going nuclear seems to be the last resort.

41. JBDragon

Posts: 9; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

A week of battery? Who cares! I don't want a crap display for a little longer battery life. I don't wear a watch 24/7. I won't want to wear a watch to bed. it takes seconds to take on/off my Apple Watch and throw it onto it's charging stand right next to my iPhone which also is charged every day. So you don't have a problem with your daily charging of a smart phone? Why not just go back to a dumb phone where the battery would last a week?

16. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

Or just get a regular watch because as far as smartwatches goes, they're never gonna satisfy you.

9. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

My Casio has an expected battery life of 10 years...

5. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

THe Apple Watch is a disgrace. They talked about ut having so many features, and after 2 years of delay, it came out being worse than Samsung's first Gear. There was no rush for this product. They could have delayed it one more year to actually get it right. It has dismal battery-life for a watch that has no cellular or WiFi capabilities. Its just BT. It can't be used as a standalone device. The very things that the original Gear was slaughtered for as cons, the Apple Watch was given a pass for not having. TYPICAL! I want one, but I refuse to pay more for less. Your phone must be with you in order to use it. PERIOD. That' ok for a 1st generation model, but we are on a newer gen and yet nothign has changed. It's no match for the Gear S. The Gear S can be used 100% standalone. You can download apps directly to it without yoru phone. The only plus side to Apple is all the devs support it lie a religion. If the devs support the GEar S like they did Apple, the Apple Watch would be a complete failure. I think devs purposely don't support other platforms because they claim they can't mkae any money. Which is BS. If you make what people want they will buy. There will always be more people who will buy vs steal. That is 100% fact. Its simply a lame excuse. Like the iPhone the Apple Watch is boring. But to be fair, the Gear S3 is boring too, outside of when you use it for what features it offers. BEcause of this, ALL smart-wearables are expensive accessories that don't do anything your phoen doesn't do already. But the Gear has a huge advantage in being able to do SMS texts, phones calls and track your workouts automatically and then sync to your phone when they connect. And both devices can be connected remotely over WiFi and over your cellular connection which means you will never miss a call, or a text...even if it comes to you cell phones number and not your watch number. Apple has the app and support advantage. If Samsung can get devs to support them better, the Apple Watch would die a horrible death. Apple Watch proves that having all the jack in the world, won't automatically give youi a better product. A better product comes from thinking outside the box vs just trying to create another money laundering scheme.

15. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

All companies are trying to make bucks and not just Apple. Apple knows its brand popularity will always bring in more money but is that something you can argue with? For Pete's sake, it's not even a bad product and I'm pretty sure it sells more than most smartwatches out there. Let that sink in....

18. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

When you will go to a psychiatrist? Your situation is alarming.

19. maherk

Posts: 6922; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Make sure you go with him, because both of you need serious help.

23. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

I will leave my place for you, urgent cases first!!!!!

28. Tipus

Posts: 893; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Nailed it! Lmao

7. BullDozer

Posts: 159; Member since: Dec 18, 2015

Huge failure for Apple and for smartwatch industry. Markets were expecting something extraordinary but they got an ugly cheap looking design, poor usability and very limited battery life. The result was that market lost interest to smartwatches overall.

14. Spyro

Posts: 334; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

So it's Apple's fault that they didn't repeat what they did with the release of the iPhone?

42. JBDragon

Posts: 9; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

WOW, another completely clueless person. As the Apple Watch is a great looking device. Seen all over including TV. Usability is great. battery life is more then a day. It charges next to my iPhone hat gets charged nightly. Apple sold 12 million Apple Watches last year, that's more then Amazon has sold of the Echo in it's whole life looking at reported numbers. Yet the Echo is a huge hit? No the market lost interest is Android Wear watches. The Apple Watch is doing just fine.

8. insmek

Posts: 6; Member since: Apr 26, 2017

I bought one as a birthday present for myself after I got back from Iraq late last year. After about six months of use, it's become an invaluable part of my daily routine. Quick replying to messages and fitness tracking are probably my biggest day-to-day uses, but the thing that really makes it indispensable is being able to ping my phone, which has a habit of being left in odd places around the house. I do wish the battery life was a bit better, so I could regularly use it for sleep tracking. As it is I could get away with charging it every other night, but I'd still miss out on 50% of the tracking, making the whole thing a bit moot. All told, however, I don't have much to complain about. The fact that it brings so much to the table for just remembering to put it on every morning has made it a more than worthwhile purchase, and it's something I'll be using for a long time to come.

12. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Have anyone bought the 17,000$ gold watch? Just curious.

17. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Apple changed the game as usual. Keep it up Apple with another innovations. Apple does, the others follow.

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