The Apple Watch has only been around for five years, but it’s already become the most popular watch in the world. In fact, just this year, Apple achieved more watch sales in the entire Swiss watch industry. And I remember people laughing back in 2014when Jonathan I’ve warned that Switzerland was in trouble. A statement that turned out to be pretty accurate. So in this video, I’m going to walk you through the history of the Apple Watch and explain how it became such a dominant product. This is Greg with Apple Explained, and I want to thank Skillshare for sponsoring this video.
If you want to help decide which topics Icover, make sure you’re subscribed, and voting polls like this one will show up in your mobile activity feed. So the Apple Watch story begins in April 2014. When The Wall Street Journal revealed Apple’splans to release a completely new product that year. This sparked all kinds of speculation about which category Apple would enter, with many people betting on a smartwatch since Samsung had just released their Galaxy Gear watch in 2013, or a smart TV since in Steve Jobs biography he claimed Apple had cracked the code in regards to television. In September, the product was finally revealed alongside the new iPhone 6, and it turned out to be the Apple Watch. This was a super important release for Apple, since Tim Cook just replaced Steve Jobs as CEO three years earlier, and caused speculation over the company’s ability to innovate.
The Apple Watch was the first new product created under Cook’s leadership, so people were paying especially close attention to it. Now, what was the first Apple Watch like? Well, there were three models, the Apple watch sport, Apple Watch, and Apple Watch Edition. The Sport model was the most affordable at $350 and featured an aluminum design available in four colors, space gray, gold, rose gold, or silver.
The pricer Apple Watch was $550 and made from stainless steel available in space gray or silver. This model also had a ceramic backside and a sapphire glass display which was more scratch-resistant than the Sport model’s Ion-X Glass. Finally, there was the Apple Watch Edition. Made from 18-Karat yellow or rose gold, it was the priciest Apple Watch ever made, starting at $10,000. It was available in limited quantities at select Apple Store locations and came with its own unique buying experience.
The standard Apple Watch models were sold using 5 to 10-minute demo sessions at tables throughout the store, but the exclusive Edition models came with a private one-on-one demo session that could last up to an hour. It wasn’t entirely clear why Apple decided to release such an expensive model of Apple Watch, but there were rumors that Tim Cook was initially opposed to the idea until Jonathan I’ve convinced him otherwise.
Some have speculated that the $10,000 model helped the entire product line appear more luxurious and desirable, especially since high profile celebrities like Beyonce, Katy Perry, and Kanye West were seen wearing it. Now when it came to technology, the original Apple Watch models were quite impressive. They featured a digital crown that was used to scroll through lists and to zoom in or out. And a pressure-sensitive display that enabledForce Touch, which allowed for additional functionality by simply hard pressing on the screen.
The built-in heart rate monitor enabled detailed fitness tracking which was utilized with the activity and workout apps. Apple created a new custom chipset for theApple Watch, called the S1 and while it allowed the device to achieve all-day battery life, it was criticized for being painfully slow, especially when launching apps. Causing many to simply use their Apple Watch to check notifications or weather. Now if you’re enjoying this video, and you’re wondering how to create similar YouTube content yourself.
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Alright now despite the drawbacks of AppleWatch, Apple sold 12 million units in 2015 alone. Earning them the title as the world’s #1smartwatch manufacturer, capturing 66% of the market. But this was only the beginning. Because as competitors like Fitbit and Samsung were scrambling to catch up, Apple was already releasing the next generation Apple Watchin 2016. Consisting of two models. The Series 1, which was identical to the previous Apple Watch other than its upgraded S1P chip and more affordable $270 starting price. And Series 2, which cost $100 more at$370, but received many new features like built-in GPS, twice the display brightness,water-resistance up to 50 meters, and a new workout tracker for swimming.
The more affordable Series 1 was only available in aluminum, while the Series 2 was available in aluminum, stainless steel, and a new white ceramic. Apple also added a new aluminum Nike+ model that featured exclusive sport bands and watch faces. That year, sales of Apple Watch began to slowdown, falling about 55% compared to 2015. And this was mainly attributed to a lackluster update to the Series 1, and only a few new features added to the pricer Series 2.
Customers were waiting for a more significant change to the device, especially when they were hearing lukewarm reception from AppleWatch owners, who felt there simply wasn’t much to do with it. But 2017 turned that all around. That fall, the Apple Watch Series 3 was released and featured crucial improvements. Its S3 chip was 70% faster, making it much less frustrating to navigate different apps. Siri finally provided voice responses instead of just text on the display that you had to read.
Bluetooth was updated from 4.0 to 4.2 which meant a stronger and faster connection to its paired iPhone. An NCF chip was added to allow for Apple Pay right from the watch. And there was finally cellular model customers could buy for a higher price, which would always be connected to your cellular network even if you left your phone behind. That meant you could make and answer calls, send and receive texts, check email, and even stream Apple Music anywhere, anytime, right from your wrist. Also, the Apple Watch Edition was offered in a new gray ceramic color. Now if all these new features weren’t enough to convince customers to pull the trigger, its price probably was.
The Series 3 model retailed for just $330, the lowest price ever for a new Apple Watch. Plus, Apple continued to sell the older Series1 model at a reduced price of $250. As you can imagine, customer response to this new lineup was very positive. With Apple Watch sales in 2017 reaching a record-breaking 18 million units. Helping Apple become the #1 watch manufacturer in the world.
They’d already dominated the smartwatch market since 2015, and just two years later was dominating the entire global watch market. Which was just really hard to fathom. But Apple wasn’t resting on their laurels, because the first redesign to the Apple Watch came the following year with the series 4in 2018. It had double the performance of the previousS3, a larger display with smaller bezels, and rounded corners like the iPhone X.
A new electrical heart sensor that enabled ECG readings, which was a first in any consumer device. Fall detection, a more compact digital crown with haptic feedback, and 50% louder speakers. Apple also added new watch faces to take advantage of the device’s larger display, although the Series 4 starting price increased from330 to $400. Apple also added a new gold stainless steel model while removing the ceramic Apple Watch Edition.
Though the model did return the following year with the Series 5 in 2019. This was probably the most incremental update in Apple Watch history since there were only a few changes, the addition of an always-on display, a more power-efficient S5 chip, and a compass. Apple also introduced titanium models offered in silver or space black. But despite the lack of new features, Apple sold over 30 million units in 2019. Setting a new record, and outselling the entireSwiss watch industry.
Now the most recent update was in September when Apple introduced the Series 6 and new Apple Watch SE. The Series 6 included a 20% faster S6 chip, a brighter always-on display, a blood-oxygen monitor, and a U1 chip for that would allowably Watch to become a digital car key. Now the SE model is essentially a Series 4, with an S5 processor and without the ECG feature.
The Series 6 starts at $400, the SE at 280, and the series 3 will continue to be sold for just $200. No one knows what’s next for the Apple Watch, although many are hoping for a significant redesign next year. Perhaps a model with flat edges like the new iPad Air and rumored iPhone 12.