How the Apple Watch will help make Android Wear a huge hit

Tim Cook Apple Watch
Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends
Apple has unleash its new Apple Watch to the world. Android lovers rejoice!

Love it or hate it with every fiber of your soul, the Apple Watch will nonetheless help evangelize people into the world of wearables along with Android Wear and other smartwatches. Indeed, all smartwatches will benefit from its launch on April 24 — especially those based on Android Wear — thanks to Apple’s focus on fashion and future developer support.

If there’s one thing Apple does differently with its wearables, it’s understanding what a smartwatch is supposed to be. During the Apple Watch keynote, CEO Tim Cook focused on two big things: He talked extensively about how Apple Watch doesn’t just look good, it’s built with fashion and great design in mind. And he didn’t try to sell the Apple Watch like a gadget, but like a piece of jewelry.

Sure, a few other smartwatches on the market look great — notably LG’s G Watch R and Motorola’s Moto 360 — but Apple is the sole company not only designing with fashion first in mind but also marketing and advertising like the rest of the fashion industry. You don’t go into a retail store to merely buy an Apple Watch; you go in to get fitted for an Apple Watch, like trying on a pair of jeans.

Fashion comes first

Apple has realized something that watch and jewelry sellers for years already knew: A watch isn’t just a tool, it’s a fashion statement. It doesn’t matter if the company sells a single $10,000 gold Apple Watch. The fact that it even exists is enough to turn heads. Apple’s focus on ensuring its smartwatch will work for any lifestyle and any wrist size will make all smartwatches seem less like novelties and more like necessities. It will also get the competition to stop thinking that one size fits all for wearables, as well as how important a watch is as a fashion statement, and not just a gadget for your wrist.

Apple Watch is making square look good again.

Apple Watch is helping all smartwatches in another way, too: It’s making square sexy again. Rather than opt for a circular display, Apple is using a rounded, elegant, square watch face to take advantage of the extra screen real estate. Circular displays are inevitably smaller and ill-suited to lists, as Jony Ive pointed out in one recent interview. Apple made square look so good that the company actually inadvertently bumped up pre-sales for the Pebble Time, another square smartwatch currently on Kickstarter.

Pebble Time

Pebble Time

As people see the Apple Watch more like a digital Rolex than a Casio calculator, all smartwatches will start to look less dorky and more like the great gadgets that they are. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to get more manufacturers to make their gadgets more fashionable on the heels of the Apple Watch.

Developers will build for both

While we’ll all have to choose between Android Wear and Apple Watch, once the wearables war is in full swing we won’t have to worry about picking the apps we want. As smartphone adoption grew exponentially in the last five years, apps emerged to satisfy almost any need we had, whether on Android, iOS, or any other smartphone OS. Just as many developers have built apps for both iOS and Android, Android Wear and Apple Watch will attract similar cross-platform development.

It’s easier said than done, however.

Android (and Android Wear) apps are primarily built on the Java programming language, while iOS (and Apple Watch) apps use Objective C. Even if a developer doesn’t end up porting his app, what you will see emerge is a greater interest in developing for wearables in general, especially now that Google and Apple are backing the movement. Plus, if rumors are true that Google wants Android Wear to support iOS, we may see Android Wear become easier to develop on if you’ve already built an iOS app.

Either way, developers will want to make their apps feature-rich and compatible with the smartwatch interface. They’ll also want to build for as many people as possible, and seeing as Android Wear and Pebble already have a sizable audience, it doesn’t take much imagination to see a lot of cross-platform apps emerge following Apple Watch’s launch.

Google will learn and improve Android

Android Wear isn’t the best experience it could be, and the Apple Watch is already helping Google up its game. An update was announced just this month that will add new wrist gestures, emoji drawing, Wi-Fi support, and more features to the fledgling OS. We’ll undoubtedly hear more at Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, in June. The Apple Watch is already a hit, and that is good news for Android because there’s now a standard to compare to, and a watch people may want to buy.

There’s always Pebble

Apple is trying to be the high-end leader in smartwatches, just as it did with smartphones eight years ago. Sure, the Sport model starts at $350, but that price is a far cry from the $150 entry-level prices for other devices like the Pebble, and doesn’t include the high-end look you get from a $300 smartwatch like the LG G Watch R. Apple isn’t beating around the bush with its high prices, and that’s perfectly fine. Plenty of other cheaper smartwatches exist, and the Apple Watch doesn’t look that different from them. People new to wearables will be just as hyped with a Pebble or G Watch, and Apple is doing all the work spreading the word about your new gadget. Feel free to bask in the fame.

Even if you happily own a different smartwatch, give Apple some credit: A lot of good will come out of the Apple Watch launch. Not only will smartwatch makers start focusing more on style and design, but more apps should soon come. And people will finally start caring about these devices. Watch for it.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Product Review

At $180, you won’t care about the TicWatch S2’s utilitarian looks

The Mobvoi TicWatch S2 is not the best-looking smartwatch you’ll strap on your wrist, but it may be the toughest, and it’ll almost certainly be the cheapest. We’ve been wearing it to see what it’s like.

Mobvoi’s TicWatch E2 and S2 are the most affordable Wear OS smartwatches yet

Quality smartwatches don't have to be expensive, and Mobvoi's TicWatch is the proud paladin of that philosophy. Mobvoi's new TicWatch S2 and are both available for low prices from Amazon and Mobvoi's website.
Product Review

It may be basic, but the TicWatch E2 is all the smartwatch you need

Want a smartwatch that can track heart rate, has GPS, and interact with notifications — for cheap? Mobvoi’s Google Wear OS-based TicWatch E2 can do it all, for just $160.

Google is buying mysterious smartwatch tech from The Fossil Group for $40 million

Google is about to step up its smartwatch game. The company has agreed to buy an unnamed smartwatch technology from The Fossil Group for a hefty $40 million. Considering the acquisition, it's clear Google is serious about smartwatches.

Check out the four cool Swatch watches you can use for mobile payments

Swatch has announced its Swatchpay technology is now available in Switzerland, enabling mobile payments from your Swatch watch. It works in a similar way to Apple Pay and Google Pay. Here's everything about it.
Home Theater

Here are some common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.

Lack of regulation means wearables aren’t held accountable for health claims

As fitness trackers become more like health monitors, some physicians are concerned they can lead to over-diagnosis of non-existent problems. It’s already happening with wearable baby monitors.

Alphabet’s health watch monitors your heart health, is approved by the FDA

A health monitoring watch being developed by Alphabet, Google's parent company, has received clearance from the FDA as a medical device. This means that the device has been found to be safe and can legally be sold in the U.S.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

The best Apple Watch bands and straps to stylize your timepiece

If you have an Apple Watch, you know how easy it is to take off the strap it came with, so why not buy yourself another one? Here, we've gathered the best Apple Watch bands we've seen so far. There's something for everyone.

Tizen 4 arriving on Samsung’s Gear S3 and Gear Sport smartwatches

Samsung is updating the Gear S3 Classic, Gear S3 Frontier, and the Gear Sport to the newest version of Tizen 4. Along with of some little tweaks to usability and quality-of-life, Samsung has added some new features.

With weeklong battery life, the new Honor Watches are a real Dream to wear

Honor has unveiled the new Honor View 20, one of the best smartphones of the year. Alongside it, however, the company also took the wraps off of the new Honor Watch Magic and Honor Watch Dream.

10 top features you should be using on your Apple Watch

The Apple Watch can do more than just tell you the time, but you may not be aware of all the different functions it has. Our list of the 10 most often used functions and features will help you understand what it can really do.
Product Review

Honor puts the Magic back into smartwatches by going small, not big

Honor has taken the Huawei Watch GT and made it a little smaller, designed it a little better, and come up with the Honor Watch Magic. The alterations are winners, for the most part, and we’ve tried the various different versions on to…