Information broker. Health tracker. Digital wallet and keys. Communicator. Remote Control. We might not have gotten it presented on stage like that, but we still got it — it’s all one product. It’s the Apple Watch.
Just like the iPhone and iPad, different people will find each of those features compelling to a greater or lesser degree, and which ones they find compelling can change over time. The Watch as remote control is a great example: Apple hasn’t spent a lot of time on it yet, but it could become much more important as time passes.
With the Apple Watch, you can remotely access the viewfinder on your iPhone’s iSight camera. That means you can put your iPhone somewhere, see what it sees, and take the perfect picture — even from afar. That could be for a selfie, group photo, or just to get what would otherwise be an impossible shot. You can even set a time lapse, right from your wrist.
I can see Martin Reisch — Instagram’s safesolvent able to take his renowned “stance” shots with just a few taps, no matter how insane his positioning.
Music + Audio
The Apple Watch can store up to 2GB locally and play it as well as any iPod ever could. It can also control your iPhone’s music playback, both locally stored music and from iTunes Match. If your iPhone is streaming to AirPlay-enabled speakers, whether you’re in your office or at the lake, you can control all of that as well, right from your wrist.
Right now headphone remotes are like iPod shuffles — they let you do basic actions. With Apple Watch, it’ll be more like an iPod nano. A small window that really lets you see into your audio.
Apple TV + iTunes Remote
Similar to the Remote app for iOS, the Remote app for the Apple Watch lets you connect to any Apple TV you own, at home or at work, along with any iTunes library on your Mac or Windows PC. Whether you’re in the family room or the board room, alone or in a group, there’s no more reaching for the hardware remote and no more reaching for the iPhone or iPad — There’s just a few taps and twists of your wrist.
Best of all, if you need to quickly pause at any time, you don’t have to find the controller or scramble for the phone — you can just tap what’s always on your wrist.
Siri + HomeKit
As cool as media remotes could to be, the bigger promise is home automation. With Siri, Apple’s personal digital assistant, and HomeKit, the company’s accessory interface framework, you’ll be able to do everything from opening and closing doors to setting lights to changing the temperature and more. And all with a word.
HomeKit was announced last year for developers, but we’ll probably only start seeing an influx of HomeKit-enabled accessories for this year’s round of winter holidays. The Apple Watch will have been out for months by then, and my dream of lifting my wrist and saying “Siri, crash the compound!” could well be fulfilled.
The future will be wearable
There’s already a BMW car remote, Pacemaker DJ, and an AMPLIFi remote for speakers and and guitar amps on Apple’s App Store for Watch page, and Apple demonstrated a garage door opener and closer with remote monitoring on stage.
The big caveat here is that we don’t yet know how well any of this will work. It could be utterly seamless to the point where it’s transformative, or it could get off to a slow, glitchy start. After having seen the Apple Watch and HomeKit in person, I’m enthusiastic to say the least. I can see a future where homes, toys, gear, and more is all easily controlled, at least at the simplest and most convenient level, by the device on my wrist.
And it’s a future I really, really want.