Apple announced the Apple Watch (WATCH) on September 9th. It won't be available until "early 2015." What we know about it comes from three main sources: the video from Apple narrated by Jony Ive, the demo done during the Apple keynote, and the rumors that are still swirling around the tech and financial worlds.
The video presents the Apple Watch as the most beautiful object ever imagined. It is not only described that way, but also appears to be the stuff of dreams – ethereally desirable, yet perfectly executed in every detail. If the watch is half as good as the video, it will be more successful than the iPhone.
During the keynote we learn that the Apple Watch is dependent on the iPhone, but is a world unto itself. It comes in two sizes and three hardware finishes, with various options for the watch band – all made by Apple with a unique magnetic attachment. Software will allow "millions" of variations to how the face itself will look, allowing each owner to decide what it looks like on their wrist.
Apple has created something new, just as they did with the iPhone. It is as if the category never existed. Financial analysts predict Apple will sell between 10 and 30 million of these in 2015. (That would mean something like $20 billion dollars in sales, easily a new industry.) These are not techies or Apple fanboys, but portfolio managers. They think Apple has done what they expected them to do – take on a new category and redefine it, making a product that people will want, pay a lot of money for, and feel they need. [Update: Apple expects to sell 50 million in 2015.]
There are at least a couple problems for Apple to overcome. Battery life is rumored to be about a day. And the watch is thick. It won't fit under a shirt sleeve like almost any other watch. I imagine Apple is intensely working on battery life to make absolutely sure it will last a day (or longer) by the time it is released. The thickness will only be addressed in future versions, with technological advances allowing it to become thinner, as the iPhone has.
I'm really looking forward to owning the second (or maybe even the fifth) generation of the Apple Watch. It will be thin – and I want a very thin watch. It will also have a lot more health sensors that will integrate it into sports, fitness, and medical applications.
I will buy one, though, when they come out. Maybe, like the iPhone, I will find I need one.