The buzz in the world of wearables has been focused on the launch of eagerly awaited Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Watch.
So far, the reaction to the Apple Watch has been somewhat muted. Reviewers have been disappointed by niggles like a mediocre battery, overzealous notification system, buggy “wrist-to-wake” screen-on system and long loading times for apps. If sales miss estimates, it will be blamed on supply chain issues.
Despite the marketing muscle of AAPL, the Apple Watch hasn’t yet generated the kind of gotta-have-it-now coveting that’s a hallmark of new iPhone introductions.
Much of the pre-release hype concentrated on the digital crown scroll wheel interface that, truth be told, is a little finicky to use, requiring fine motor control to manipulate a feature the size of a pea.
Moreover, Apple Watch users are complaining about the delicate digital crown getting dirt and debris stuck in it — necessitating a rinse under the kitchen tap.
Samsung Electronics (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) — which is actually leading the wearables sales race at Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY) right now — is firing back with what could be a coup against the long-reigning design talent at Apple: A rotating, round watch bezel.
What’s unique about this is that Samsung is building the user interface on top of its own Tizen operating system, setting itself apart not only from the Apple Watch but the multitude of Android-based smartwatches as well.
Referred to as Next Gear in developer materials, Samsung’s upcoming wearable it set to feature a 2G data connection, GPS, a heartbeat monitor, accelerometer, gyro, and pressure sensor all topped by a 360×360 pixel display.
Set for launch later this year, Samsung’s new device could address many of the shortcomings of the Apple Watch and potentially drive innovation in the segment just as it did with large-screen smartphones — forcing AAPL to respond with the iPhone 6 lineup.
If that happens, it’ll be a big embarrassment for AAPL designer Jony Ive, who’s been displaying some hubris lately — lamenting the “shocking” state of car design — on rumors he’s working on an Apple car.
Research: Anthony Mirhaydari
Jon Markman writes a daily trading newsletter, Trader’s Advantage, and CounterPoint Options, a service geared towards helping individual traders make steady, consistent profits with the VIX. Check out his Top Stock for 2015 here.