It’s a far more natural device to always have out and accessible – i.e. to be worn on the wrist. Your phone is still the core device but often won’t be immediately accessible.
It can save you time and effort. An email comes in and you fish out your phone from your pocket, unlock it, tap to open the email app, and now you can read that email. With the Apple Watch, you feel a tap, lift your wrist and see the email. Time and effort saved. Multiply that times dozens of times per day.
What can a large phone give you that a laptop cannot? For the most part, nothing other than being the more appropriate form factor for some functions.
We don’t need any device. But when you tap to pay at the register, glance at the text as you walk around, as you get taps that tell you to turn left to follow map directions, answer a phone call when your hands are full, that’s when you realize there are some functions that just work better on your wrist.
With the Apple Watch, we see a radically ex nihilo category play from a company with recent experience in redefining markets. As such, their choices tell us a bit about what they’ve learned from iPhone (and iPad) and how that knowledge is guiding their plans. The general conclusion: Apple is “doubling down” on strategic differentiation.
First, simply by choosing this category, Apple is strategically well-positioned. The Apple Watch will be harder to imitate than the iPhone because everything that keeps Apple ahead in smartphones —miniaturization, build quality, control over component development (for example: removing layers from screen composition), custom chip design, efficiencies from hardware and software control, services integration, materials sciences investments— is even more important in wearables, and seems likely to be so for some time.