Apple Watch Pre-Orders Sold Out Within Six Hours

Read original story on: 9to5Mac

Despite lukewarm reviews across the board, Apple Watch still proved it is very much in demand (or just limited supply, depending on your perspective), selling out all its pre-orders within six hours of its launch on Apple’s online store this morning. At the moment, many Apple Watch and Apple Watch Editions are not expected to ship until June, or even later.

To drum up consumer interests, Apple has reportedly spent $38M on its “Watch Reimagined” TV ad campaign since its March 9 event, compared to the $42M it spent over five months for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The Lab has ordered several models as well, so stay tuned for our upcoming hands-on testing and more.


Header image taken from Apple’s Website


Global Watch: Apple’s Big Bet On The Chinese Market

Yesterday’s Apple Event brought a few surprises, such as a skinny gold MacBook and a new SDK for medical researchers. One thing, however, was clear from the start—Apple is really going after the Chinese market.

From the prominently featured Chinese consumers in various promo videos shown throughout the event, down to the deliberate choice of Tencent’s WeChat in the on-stage Apple Watch demo, Apple is sending a clear message to the Chinese market. And the Cupertino-based company certainly has good reasons to do so. As the biggest global market with over 520 million active smartphone users, China has become the fastest-growing and third-biggest revenue source for Apple, partly thanks to its recent retail expansion in the country.

Even though the gold Apple Watch Edition is already being widely ridiculed for its $10,000 price tag, luxury experts are pointing out the target market that Apple has in mind could very well be the 2.4 million newly-minted Chinese millionaires, a number that’s expected to double by 2018. Add in the fact that Chinese culture has a longstanding appreciation for gold as status symbol, Apple might just hit jackpot in China with the gold watch.

Competitors Gear Up In Anticipation Of Apple Watch Release

Days before the long-anticipated official release of Apple Watch, several brands are announcing their own major releases all hoping to capitalize on the forthcoming public attention and legitimacy that Apple may bring to the market, including:

Equipped with a new color e-paper screen, a 7-day-long battery life, and a new timeline-based interface, Pebble’s new Time smartwatch has become the most funded project in Kickstarter history in just one week, with a whopping $16 million in pre-orders so far.

One of the highlights of Mobile World Congress has been a well-received minimalist smartwatch from little-known Chinese manufacturer Huawei. Billed as its first play for the western markets yet, the Huawei Watch is backed by Android Wear OS.

Trying to recapture the attention of mobile phone consumers, Motorola announced earlier this week that a new version of its Moto Maker, the consumer-facing customization tool for Moto X, will be soon adapted to offer more personalization options for its smartwatch Moto 360.(Update: the customization site is now live.)

How will the Apple Watch stack up to all these eager competitors? Follow the Lab on Monday as we live tweet the event, followed by end-of-day recaps and implications for brands.

Header image taken from Huawei Watch’s official webpage

Everything We Know About Apple Watch So Far

We are just four days away from Apple’s “Spring Forward” media event on Monday, March 9th, and all sources are indicating that it will be an opportunity for Apple to drum up momentum as the official release of the Apple Watch approaches.

Since the first announcement last September, we’ve learned about the WatchKit SDK, and a leaked companion mobile app, but everyone’s anxious to learn more. Some major highlights teased by Tim Cook in recent interviews include:

  • Fitness Tracking In addition to the now-confirmed bundled Workout and Activity apps, which allow users to custom program exercise routines and measure fitness statistics, third-party apps are also being allowed.
  • Hotels Apps will allow you to check-in to your hotel and even unlock your room at “some of the best hotels in the world.”
  • Business Applications Cook hinted that Salesforce, a long-time partner, is developing software.
  • Mobile Payment Continuing its Apple Pay push, Cook noted that Panera Bread is working on a payment app.

How many of these will be proven true? Follow the Lab’s live tweeting @ipglab or catch our recap after the event.


Header image taken from Apple Watch’s official webpage

Why Apple Watch Returned to Vogue

Read original story on: 9to5Mac

After making its magazine debut on the cover of Vogue China last October, Apple Watch has once again popped up in the fashion publication with a multi-page spread showcasing its various collections. Moreover, the first video ad campaign for the Apple Watch has been released in the corresponding digital version of Vogue. Its first U.S. magazine cover, however, went to the latest issue of SELF, yet another female-centric lifestyle magazine. As we point out last year, tech and fashion industry need to work together to make wearables mainstream, and Apple has been doing exactly that.


Lead image taken from 9to5Channel’s YouTube Video

Look Out For The Swatch Smartwatches

Read original story on: The Verge

Fashion watch-maker Swatch is planning to sell its own smartwatch within the next 3 months, which would put it in direct competition with the upcoming Apple Watch. The company claims their first wearable will support Windows and Android systems, communicate via Internet connection, and have mobile payment functions, all without “having to be charged”.

While that may sound a little too good to be true, it has definitely got us intrigued to learn more about it. Battery life has been a long-standing problem for wearables, and if Swatch has found a way to fix this issue, it might just have a real shot at taking a piece of the burgeoning wearable market.

What’s Next For Apple

Read original story on: The Verge

Coming off its record-breaking fiscal quarter thanks to massive holiday sales and huge growth in China, Apple is gearing up for its upcoming Apple Watch release. According to CEO Tim Cook, Apple’s much-anticipated smartwatch will start shipping in April. He also commented that Apple is encouraged by the positive response from developers so far.

Besides prepping for the launch of Apple Watch, the Cupertino company is also continuing to push Apple Pay into new territories. Over 200,000 vending machines, kiosks, paid parking, and other self-serve locations nationwide will soon start supporting Apple’s mobile payment system, which marks yet another step in its steady expansion in market coverage.


Getting A Head Start On Apple Watch

Even though Apple Watch won’t come out until March, some brands are gearing up to be ready for the much-anticipated wearable on Day One. Here are some prime examples of the early testers of Apple Watch across the industries.

Advertiser: Last week at CES, TapSense unveiled its plans for building a programmatic ad platform targeting Apple’s upcoming wearable. The mobile marketing company has been reportedly working on getting ads onto the watch using all available options. It’s not yet clear if Apple will allow mobile ads on the Watch at this point, but TapSense seems determined to be prepared just in case.

Retailer: Marsh Supermarkets is working with beacon solution startup InMarket to install iBeacon systems in stores nationwide that will enable interaction with the companion app on the Watch and deliver relevant content like brand messages and contextual coupons to shoppers’ wrists

Publisher: Although Apple Watch does not have enough space for reading, its sophisticated notification system is still valuable for digital publishers. Pipes News is developing an app for Apple Watch, and the company has debuted an in-browser demo to simulate the experience of actually using the watch.

Five Things We Learned About Apple Watch Via A Leaked App

Read original story on: 9to5Mac

An iPhone companion app for the yet-to-be-launched Apple Watch purportedly offers more clues as to how Apple’s first wearable will work, including some novel new functions. Highlights includes:

  1. Mobile Payment: As previewed, Apple Watch will support Apple Pay. You will need to set up a 4-digit passcode (like on iPhone) for the Watch in order to use it.
  2. Haptic Navigation: Users will be able to enable or disable Taptic Engine’s tapping of the user’s wrist for turn-by-turn directions.
  3. Notification: A subtle red dot will appear atop the Apple Watch’s clock face whenever a new notification is received on linked iPhone.
  4. Messaging: Without a keyboard, the Watch will allow users to respond to messages via voice, with either transcribed dictation or actual audio messages.
  5. Storage: The About Screen within the watch companion app confirms that the Watch itself will have usable storage space, presumably for music and photos.

All these new details fall pretty much in line with what we learned from the WatchKit back in November. Apple Watch is reportedly set for a March release this year, and we will continue to keep an eye on its development.

Update 2015/01/22:  Apple targets Watch battery life of 2.5 hours heavy use and 3.5 hours standard use; pure standby battery life likely to be 2-3 days; CPU said to be A5-caliber

Things We Learned About Apple Watch From The WatchKit

Source: WatchKit – Apple Developer

Yesterday Apple officially released the SDK for Apple Watch to developers, and as a result, some new details of Apple’s first wearable device have emerged:

  • Dependence On iPhones: In Apple’s own words, Watch apps serve to extend iOS ones, partly because Watch apps’ processing power is all coming from the iPhone. That means for now, Apple Watch will require an iPhone at almost all times, save for basics like timer and alarm, in order to function. Native apps are reportedly scheduled for development later next year.
  • Two Screen Sizes: The resolution for The WatchKit revealed Apple Watch will have two screen sizes of the same 4:5 resolution ratio, with the smaller model being 272 x 340 pixels and the larger one 312 x 390 pixels. Reportedly , there could be more Watch sizes coming as well.
  • Touch-free Notifications: There are two types of Apple Watch notifications. The “Short Look”, which features “glanceable” information, is only seen when users raise their wrist. After a while, the notification will automatically change to a “Long Look” mode, which provides more information and is more customizable.
  • Some Limitations: Besides the aforementioned dependency on mobile devices, the WatchKit also revealed several other limitations of Apple Watch, including the lack of support for custom touch gestures and video playbacks. The Map on the wrist will be static and non-interactive, at least for now.