Five years ago this week, Apple’s first smartwatch was released. The Apple Watch was a big test for Tim Cook, who took over as CEO after Steve Jobs introduced Apple’s last high-profile product, the iPad.
In the last five years, the Apple Watch has transformed from a niche product for early adopters to a mainstream device. Once seen as a fashion accessory, Apple Watch is now inching towards becoming health and medical device. It is also the most popular watch in the world.
On the fifth anniversary of Apple Watch, here are some little-known facts about the timepiece.
Steve Jobs wasn’t involved with the Apple Watch
It is a known fact that the Apple Watch was Jony Ive’s passion project from the very beginning. However, not many know that Steve Jobs was not involved in the project as first talks about Apple Watch started a few months after Jobs’ death.
“The first discussion took place in early 2012, a few months after Steve’s passing. It caused us to take time, pausing to think about where we wanted to go, what trajectory we were on as a company, and what motivated us,” Jony Ive said in an interview with Hodinkee founder Benjamin Clymer.
“At that point in the journey, we were all routinely carrying around incredibly powerful products, in terms of their technical ability, in our pockets. And it seemed, I think, that an obvious continuation of this path that we’ve been on for so many years was to make technology more personal and more accessible,” he added.
Apple Watch was designed to be rectangular
Ask any watch enthusiast or collector and they will tell you that round cases make sense for a timepiece. But unlike others, Apple went the opposite way and created the Apple Watch to be rectangular. In a piece published by The New Yorker in 2015, Apple’s star designer relieved that a circular face doesn’t make sense for what you will do on the watch. “When a huge part of the function is lists, a circle doesn’t make any sense,” Ive said. To date, Apple Watches have a rectangular touchscreen face with rounded corners and a rotating crown button for scrolling.
Apple consulted watch experts
Apple is a notoriously secretive company and it’s hard to imagine the company would take outside help in the design process of its products. But in the case of the Apple Watch, Jony Ive recruited his best friend and famous designer, Marc Newson. Interestingly, Ive and his team also reached out to experts to help design the Apple Watch, including horologists, curators at the Royal Observatory and an astrophysicist. “We knew there was so much to appreciate in this space that in order to ground ourselves, we had a series of people that helped. Just to begin to understand the historical space, having tremendous respect and deference for watchmaking,” Ive said. “This was highly unusual for us, speaking to anyone outside of our team early on in a product development stage. But, normally there are no parallel products from which to learn.”
Jony Ive doesn’t think Apple Watch is a watch
Is Apple Watch a watch or a tiny computer? Well, Jony Ive doesn’t think the Apple Watch is a watch. “No, I think that this is a very powerful computer, with a range of very sophisticated sensors, that is strapped to my wrist,” he told the Financial Times in 2018.
Apple sold more watches in 2019 than the entire Swiss watch industry
The Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry in 2019, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. According to the UK-based consulting firm Strategy Analytics, Apple shipped 30.7 million watches last year, compared to 21.1 million sold by the Swiss Watch industry. While there is no doubt Swiss watches are luxurious and a lot of people buy them, the way Apple Watch made a place of its own in the watch world is a case study itself.
Apple made a $17,000 sold gold Apple Watch
Alongside the first-generation Apple Watch which started at $349, Apple also unveiled a watch priced at $17,000. The high-end “Edition”, was priced between $10,000 and $17,000 and was made from custom alloys of rose or yellow 18-karat gold. The “Edition” watch was targeted at the Chinese market.
You can play games on Apple Watch
The Apple Watch might not sound like the most friendly gaming platform, but there are plenty of games available for it. While you won’t find graphics-intensive games on the Apple Watch, there are some excellent tiny sized games that are designed to take advantage of the Apple Watch’s screen size.
Apple made a watch way before the Apple Watch
Do you know Apple made a watch in 1995? Well, it wasn’t a smartwatch, but a regular analog watch. Back in 2015, Apple created a watch meant for users looking to upgrade to Macintosh system 7.5. It was a cool looking watch, featuring scratch-resistant glass, an eye-catching blue bezel, Japanese quartz, a Mac OS-embossed band, and a multicolor Apple logo. The watch was a promotional item, so it never went on sale. These days the watch has seen a resurgence in popularity among die-hard collectors and Apple fans. You can still buy the original Apple Watch from 1995 on eBay, but be ready to dish out anywhere between Rs 50,000 to Rs 200,000.