Like many of you, I had the Apple product announcement playing in the background at the studio recently. I was excited by the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but what I really wanted to see was the Apple Watch. There are so many possible applications for wearable computing devices and, until Apple, no manufacturer had come close to realizing that potential.
Why Does Apple Watch Matter to Photographers?
What makes the Apple Watch a potential game changer? A combination of form factor, Bluetooth, WiFi and apps that take advantage of all three. We’ve already seen manufacturers like Canon, GoPro and Panasonic marry their products to our smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth and Wifi. So what makes Apple Watch different?
In the field, camera management via one’s phone or tablet opens up a lot of possibilities, but it can be somewhat clunky to use and puts the device at risk of damage from the elements. Ever chosen to keep your phone or tablet in your bag because of inclement weather? I have.
Designed to be worn on the wrist, the Apple Watch is engineered to be durable and withstand the elements. And, while the watch form factor is small, it is incredibly powerful, particularly when married to the Haptic Engine.
What Can It Do?
While the device hasn’t been released yet, here are just a few of the ways I expect Apple Watch to find its way into the standard kit of many photographers.
- Camera Remote: Seems simple. But, imagine never having to pack camera remotes for anything more than backups. One less thing to lug to location or find in the studio.
- Intervalometer: I love my Promotes, but again, it would be great to replace them all with the something like TriggerTrap or CamRanger activated by the Apple Watch. You’d probably still build and test your shots on your tablet, but activate and monitor them from your wrist.
- Notifications: Shooting a long time lapse? Grab a coffee and wait for your wrist to buzz when it is almost done. Different buzzes could alert you to low batteries and memory cards as well. Lots of possibilities.
- Review: Clearly, the screen is too small to seriously vet images as you shoot them. So, I don’t expect to see much wrist chimping. Still, in instances where you are operating the camera remotely, I can see value in using the Apple Watch to do a rough check of framing and exposure.
- Portfolio: Have your portfolio with you at all times, on your wrist. As needed, toss it up on the big screen via Airplay.
To be fair, Google was in this space before Apple with Glass and a variety of wearables similar to the Apple Watch. While I am sure these devices will find their place in the market, I expect Apple will eventually own the space.
Why Choose Apple?
Google tends to be a first mover, willing to put things out there and iterate until it finds the functionality sweet spot. In contrast, Apple is fine with being “late” into a market because they are obsessive about getting it right the first time. Both approaches are valid and both work, as proven by the sustained success of both companies.
Ultimately, when I add a new bit of physical gear to my kit, I need to know I can count on it almost out of the box. For this reason, I give the “wearables” edge to Apple. Their hardware track record speaks for itself.
What do you think of Apple Watch? Will it find a place in your kit? Let me know in the comments below.