Wearables are the next evolution of mobile devices and Apple is looking to compete. More specifically under the wearable banner, smartwatches. A smartwatch is any digital timepiece that has capabilities beyond that of just keeping time. They are often linked to smartphones or have similar capabilities. There is already a varied market of these types of devices being prepared for release, but the titans of mobile hardware and software are preparing their offerings as well. With Samsung almost ready to release its Android Wear watch, Apple is looking to compete with the new technology. Most information on Apple’s version of the smartwatch is speculation at this point, but it is safe to assume that the mobile giant will not let Android go unchallenged.
Google continues to tweak its Android software to make it more viable for small gadgets like the Samsung Android Wear. As it stands Android systems are heavy and can be taxing on batteries, so Samsung is not putting all of its eggs in Google’s basket. Apple’s advantage could come in size and connectivity. If the iPod creators can make their product more convenient and more easily integrated with consumers current devices then they will have the superior smartwatch. In reality however, each company involved will most likely make such claims, therefore making one of the key factors the price of the cutting edge technology.
Apple will not have to look only to Android Wear for competition with their new products, but to Pebble and Sony among others. Pebble is a Kickstarter success story that has already shipped to great acclaim. Pebble is already available to buy and its uses mostly revolve around notifications. It can vibrate on your wrist to alert you to text messages, emails, incoming calls, and more. Listening to music on the go becomes far more convenient and Pebble also contains fitness related apps, which is great, but what makes it even greater is that Pebble is water-resistant. Swimming with a Pebble on and keeping track of the exercise is entirely doable. Apple’s unnamed device is rumored to be very fitness centric, but it will have to match all of these features, improve on them, and continue to innovate. The Apple device will almost certainly cost more than Pebble and its peers so without significant improvement to back up the brand name the current favorites will remain just that.
With the new Pebble Steel released as a stylish aesthetic update Apple and Google are both behind at this point. Android Wear and Samsung’s own Galaxy Gear look like they have the jump on Apple, while Apple’s competing device is still technically a rumor. With Android Wear ready to be shown off by mid summer Apple needs to have something groundbreaking up their sleeves. Whatever they have planned it will be sure to get the fanfare of every new Apple product, but once it reaches the market it will have to compete with the current favorite, Pebble. Rumor has it that Apple plans to release their mystery smartwatch at least by the end of 2014. Whether the extra time will prove to be worthwhile remains to be seen, but one thing is certain. With products from the mobile industry giants Google and Apple as well as strong alternatives like the well touted Pebble and solid Sony SW2 there will be no shortage of options for electronics enthusiasts to test the veritable flood waters of the new and rapidly growing smartwatch market.
By Matt Isaacs