In a way, the Apple Watch is the first device that was truly a product of the post-Steve Jobs era. While the original Apple Watch was unveiled in 2014 and ultimately released in 2015, the development for the device actually started way back in October, 2011, shortly after Steve Jobs’ death.
Quite interestingly, Steve Jobs reportedly never warmed up to the idea of releasing a watch to consumers. That said, the creation of the Apple Watch was born from the minds of Jony Ive and his colleagues.
“The process was both typical and atypical for us. We are a tight-knit group of designers, and as always, these things start with an idea that quickly becomes a conversation that changes in nature as soon as you start to draw and make physical objects. Things are exceptionally fragile as an idea — entirely abstract — but once there is an object between us, it is galvanizing,” Ive said, according to an Apple Insider report.
Ive and his team worked on the Apple Watch in late 2011 and all throughout 2012. Rumors about the device started emerging not long after, culminating in the hiring of Kevin Lynch as Apple’s president of technology in 2013. Lynch was hired to formally head up the Apple Watch project, though the device itself was mostly kept secret.
Apple CEO Tim Cook ultimately unveiled the first-generation Apple Watch to an enthusiastic audience in 2014. Cook used one of Steve Jobs’ favorite phrases to announce the device, and the audience gave it a standing ovation. Cook described the Apple Watch as the “most personal device” that the company has created.
The first-generation Apple Watch was successful, but its performance left much to be desired. Shipping in 2015, the wearable had a clunky interface, underwhelming battery life, and it wasn’t even water resistant enough for a swim. Even the Edition models, some of which cost $10,000, did little to distract consumers that the device was still a work in progress.
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The Apple Watch Series 2 debuted in 2016, and it showcased several improvements to the original Apple Watch, such as the addition of GPS, a brighter display, better water-resistance, Watch OS3, and an upgraded S2 processor. Apple also kept an improved version of the original Apple Watch on sale, branding it as the Series 1.
Last year’s Apple Watch Series 3 saw the Cupertino-based tech giant include LTE connectivity for the first time. The device was also equipped with a new dual-core S3 processor, even better water resistance, and enhanced health applications. By this time, Apple had already overtaken Rolex to become the No. 1 watchmaker in the world.
This year, rumors are high that the Apple Watch Series 4 would feature the most radical design changes that would be featured in the wearable line. According to a 9to5Mac report, the Apple Watch Series 4 could feature a sleeker, slimmer body, as well as a larger display thanks to its bezel-less design that’s reminiscent of the iPhone X. The Apple Watch Series 4 is expected to be unveiled this September 12 at the company’s “Gather Round” event.