The Apple Watch: Digital Game-Changer Or Passing Fad?

The release of the much anticipated Apple Watch has everyone wondering how – or if – this bite-size piece of technology will change the digital game. We asked a sampling of Smashing’s Leadership Team to weigh in:

The release of the Apple Watch is set to change the wearables market and pivot the way consumers integrate wearable technology into their daily lives. How do you see the Apple Watch reshaping both the technology industry and the way consumers interact with digital?

Brian Burke, CEO. | I think at the very least, the Apple Watch will represent a milestone in wearable technology – one that serves as experimentation in use-case scenarios for immediacy of information, proximity, utility, and interaction with micro-content (micro-moments). Iteration will yield more useful solutions in the future, but it will provide the developer community another avenue to dream up and test hypotheses that may provide more value than the original intent of the product.

Lisa Forsyth, Director, Strategic Accounts. | I think sales of competing products will slow, dramatically at first, and some existing wearable manufacturers will decide to leave the hardware business and build software for the Apple Watch instead. Health and activity trackers from those that stay in the hardware game will become more fashionable as they try to bridge the gap. We’ll also likely see new design patterns emerge that transfer to other digital devices, similar to how the burger menu used for navigation on mobile devices is becoming more prevalent in desktop/full view of websites. Our watches, phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops will share a common visual language.

Brian Marr, Chief Strategy Officer. | The Apple Watch will allow us to create higher levels of digital engagement through micro interactions. While many believe the device still needs to find its “killer app”, it is likely that the best initial use will simply be allowing us to grab a moment of someone’s attention, garner a quick interaction, and then set them free to go about the other things in their lives. Feedback, timely notifications, indications of progress and more will provide even more opportunities to increase engagement through Motivational Design.

Lisa Dawson, Director of Production. | Considering my current investments in wrist gear, I’m undecided about the Apple Watch. I regularly wear a Fitbit, which is replaced by my Garmin Forerunner when I go for a run, or my classic Swiss Army watch when I’m feeling old school. Right now I can’t think of a compelling reason for me to make the investment (other than its beautiful design). Talk to me again when it will eliminate the need to carry my smart phone. Until then, the real estate on my wrist is taken!

Charlie Barr, Senior Director, Business Development. | Contrary to what most people think, I believe the Apple Watch, and other smart watches, will help to strip away the distractions of technology in our daily lives. Today people are constantly reaching in and out of their pockets to fish out their phone for every ping and alert notification. It’s distracting and can be rude in certain situations. The Apple Watch will allow you to filter content and push to the watch the most relevant information that can be checked by simply glancing at your wrist.

Chad Otis, Executive Creative Director. | I got an Apple Watch for my wife, and when allowed, have had some opportunity to explore it in the few days it’s been in the house (mine won’t arrive for another month or so). Like a lot of these things, I think this is an example of both creating a need where there wasn’t one, and taking another small, iterative step toward tech invisibility. To me, invisibility is the “backgrounding” of technology – where it becomes a natural part of our existence that we don’t need to be as deliberately mindful of.

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