As most schoolchildren are told from a young age, A stands for Apple; April, on the other hand, surely stands for the Apple Watch. The industry’s most hotly-anticipated wearable has been preceded by months of speculation – could it sell as well as the iPad on its launch? Will it provide a natural fit for fashion editorials? Now, on the eve of its launch, keen industry-watchers are looking to Baselworld (the watch industry’s international trade fair) for possible rivals. There, a crop of new announcements are proving themselves worthy contenders to the smart watch throne – one which, as we should remind ourselves, Apple hasn’t ascended to quite yet.
Coming from the other side of the bridge where technology meets luxury fashion, TAG Heuer have announced their plans this week to release a smart watch by this Christmas. In a significant move against Apple’s projected domination, the first smart watch from the world-famous Swiss watch brand will run on Google’s Android operating system – on a processor, moreover, created by keen wearables power player Intel. You’ll have to wait to find out more, though. At the Baselworld conference, chief executive Jean-Claude Biver told the crowd, “We don’t want the competition to know what we are going to do.”
Never easily dismissed, the irrepressible musician-turned-technologist will.i.am also announced a new partnership at Baselworld. KERING-owned Gucci, which recently changed hands from the Gianninis to Alessandro Michele, will also bring its timepieces into a new era through a collaboration with willi.i.am’s range of wearables.
For those of you still convinced that Apple’s the only brand that will get you telling the time more smartly, there’s not long to wait: the official release date is slated for UK stores on 24 April, but you’ll be able to order from the 10th. But if Baselworld is anything to go by, the smartwatch marketplace is about to get very interesting.
Writer: Claire Healy