“Because why?” you ask. Isn’t it obvious? Apple won’t divulge how many Watches have been sold to date, so it can’t really be much of a hit product? Alright, don’t fall for that false reasoning. Apple Watch is an accessory to the iPhone. It’s not a standalone product and shouldn’t be judged the same as we view iPhone, Mac, or iPad.
Alright, it’s time for Watch to grow up.
Standalone Apps, Please
To be honest about my Watch usage I can’t say that I mind that Watch is an accessory to the iPhone, and it doesn’t bother me that it’s not a completely standalone product, and however many Watch units is selling shouldn’t be much of an issue because– and unlike LT, HTC, Motorola, or whatever Chinese knockoff smartphone or smartwatch garners headlines in digital technology rags these days– you can see Watch in the wild, in use.
Apple Watch is about to grow up. Let’s say it’s moving from primary school into adolescence as it gets ready for adulthood. In other words, Watch is getting ready to spread its wings and standalone on its own (mixed metaphors were on sale in San Francisco’s Whole Foods Market over the weekend; I bought a basket).
Sure, we’ll need iPhone to handle preferences, alerts, alarms, and get new apps onto Watch, but Apple just told iPhone developers to make sure their upcoming Watch apps are capable of running completely standalone on Watch, instead of being fully tethered to the iPhone itself. That means we’re nothing more than a hop, skip, and jump from watchOS 3, and a line of Watch watches that may exist without an iPhone at all.
What’s that? ‘Is that a Mac in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?‘ becomes ‘Is that an iPhone on your wrist?‘ As the iPhone matured it took on more functionality from the Mac. Mail, Safari, Calendar, Contacts, Music, Photos, and more became the mainstays of our iPhone experience. Then, Watch comes along and takes some of that newfound mobility from iPhone and moved it to the ever-more-convenient-than-a-pocket or backpack location on the wrist.
What Watch does require is an iPhone to help offload some of this functionality onto the wrist.
- Weather data
- Alarms & Notifications
- Sports scores
- Stock reports
- Apple Pay
- Phone calls
Watch of the future won’t need an iPhone. That means apps need to be standalone but with functions that can connect to iPhone or Mac so alerts, alarms, notifications, and other information can be fully synchronized between devices– but it’s not going to be a requirement. In the not to distant future we’ll be able to walk into an Apple Store and walk out with a Watch and all that was needed was to setup our Apple ID and iCloud account and Watch will take care of everything else.
I don’t expect all that to happen by Watch 2.0 (as opposed to watch OS 2) either this year or next year but it’s inevitable that Watch will become a fully standalone device; perhaps not for the masses, but certainly for the growing market segment of up and coming and mobile people who aspire to something better than cheap plastic.
Watch in primary school was interesting, but it’s time for Watch to grow up a bit and hit adolescence.