Vancouver developers to capitalize on Apple Watch

“We are definitely going to invest our resources in developing for the Apple Watch.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the company's Apple Watch

Thinking about paying US$10,000 for a consumer device that fits on your wrist?

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is confident enough its die-hard fanbase won’t scoff at such a question and is willing to shell out big money for the high-end version of its Apple Watch.

Appearing at Apple’s Spring Forward event Monday (March 9) in San Francisco to unveil the wearable device, CEO Tim Cook told the crowd the Apple Watch is the “most personal device we’ve ever created.”

The 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition starts at US$10,000, but less expensive models will be available when it hits stores in Canada and the U.S. April 24.

The Apple Watch sport model will retail for US$349-399 and the standard Apple Watch will run for US$549-1099, depending on the variant.

The high-tech company is targeting health nuts and, apparently, amateur detectives with the device’s launch.

Like comic book detective Dick Tracy, users will be able to make calls from the watch to other phones. However, watch-wearers would need the device connected to their iPhone via WiFi or Bluetooth to make calls.

Andrew Lau, product manager and developer at Vancouver-based Elastic Path Software, told Business In Vancouver the hardware features on the watch impressed him but the software left much to be desired.

He said a recent trend at Apple as been to rush products out before the software is up to snuff, but he still sees a lot of potential despite certain drawbacks.

“Ultimately, you’re going to have to buy both the phone and watch (to get it to work) but given the price points of what they’re targeting — the high-end fashion consumer — the price isn’t an issue at that point,” Lau said.

“It’s really about encouraging the type of interaction that they want.”

Cook highlighted features such as “digital touch” and “glances” as some of the new technologies the device would include.

Digital touch allows users to exchange messages, digital sketches and even live heartbeat readings between other wearers.

Glances allow users to swipe up on the watch-face to view weather, browse music and check one’s heart rate.

Cook said the timepiece’s ability to track fitness levels is “like having a coach on your wrist.”

The Apple Watch provides detailed metrics about users’ workouts, how many calories are burnt and distances travelled when exercising. Cook said the Apple Watch was designed for all-day battery life.

Jason Madar, chief technology officer at Vandrico, said features such as near-field communication (NFC) will help draw more consumers to the watch given all the integration when it comes to daily life.

His Vancouver-based company specializes in making workplace apps for wearable technologies, such as goggles and smartwatches used in the mining sector or by first responders.

So while the Apple Watch is geared more toward consumers than businesses, Madar said Apple’s entry into the wearable devices has the potential to give the products more legitimacy and boost interest in the enterprise market.

“We are definitely going to invest our resources in developing for the Apple Watch,” he said, adding he is particularly interested in the device’s physical dial and what it could mean for enterprise uses.

For now, he said Vandrico would have to gauge interest in the enterprise market when it comes to which user interface elements would be of most benefit.

“I can see this exploding and kind of short-circuiting the development lag (that exists in the mobile segment of the enterprise software market).”

Apple stock closed at $US127.14, up 54 cents for the day. 

torton@biv.com

@reporton