The Apple Watch - which is available to collect in UK shops as of today - has already seen a number of returns, with many seemingly disappointed at Apple’s offering. Blogs have been popping up all over the internet, detailed lists explaining why people have requested their money back. The takeaway from the majority of them is that there is a disconnect between what peoples believe an Apple Watch offers and the reality.
In a report released last year, Citi Research claimed consumer demand for smartwatches is set to ‘soar’ over the next four years. They claimed that the market for the devices will increase from a little under $2 billion in 2014 to $10 billion in 2018. Citi Research may well be right, but if users do not adjust their idea of their capabilities, it is also likely that people will continue to take them back.
It is not so much that smartwatches have no future, it’s that this future is not now, it’s at least five years away. The technology is still in the early stages, and if, as is likely, it follows a similar technological progression to laptops, mobile phones, and tablets, it will take that long before they really come close to doing what people want them to do.
There are a number of changes likely to arise in upcoming years that should see the functionality of smartwatches improve. Both the Apple Watch and the Android Watch are currently limited in their capabilities when not in close proximity to their respective phones. This will change so that smart watches eventually become self sufficient. This caters for one of the major attractions of the Apple Watch so far - that it enables users to use their phone less. The degree to which Apple will want to encourage this, however, is up for debate.
The small size of the screen is an obvious drawback with the smartwatches available at the moment. They are too small to adequately use social media or watch videos. A number of companies are working on this issue. Lenovo has already got a solution in the early stages of development. They are looking into a multi-screen smartwatch. The smartwatch has two screens, a normal one on which you can can view notifications, and a projector-style screen that projects images and videos onto the human eye. The projections appear 20 times as large as on a standard smartwatch screen.
While initial reviews based on demo models have been poor, it should be noted that it is in the stages of development. And regardless of whether Lenovo’s technology is necessarily the solution to the problem, this is an area that will almost certainly be seeing improvement.
While the Apple Watch may not be perfect, it far surpasses the majority of other smartwatches available. Buyers just need to be aware that other smartwatches available aren’t really up to much.