The value of a wristwatch is typically defined by its materials, design, features and brand. For the new Apple Watch, all those factors will apply, but so will something else: apps.
Apple on Monday held a media event to explain how its long-awaited Apple Watch works and how much it costs. Just as important, it also demonstrated what the watch was capable of doing with apps made by other companies.
If the watch is going to succeed, those other companies will have a lot to do with it because few devices — not even those made by Apple — will sell well without the help of a whole lot of app developers.
“All of Apple’s devices really come alive with third-party apps, and it’ll be the same with the watch,” said Jan Dawson, an independent technology analyst for Jackdaw Research.
When Apple released the iPhone in 2007, it was essentially a blank slate. When the App Store opened a year later, the device became much more than a fancy phone.
Just by downloading an app, the iPhone could become a musical instrument, a medical device, a TV remote and gaming device. It became the ultimate Swiss army knife of gadgets.