As Apple gets ready to launch its highly anticipated Apple Watch, CEO Tim Cook compared it to the iPod. The smartwatch has the same magic ingredient that made the iPod a game changer: great user experience.
Samsung launched its first smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, in September 2013 alongside the Galaxy Note 3. The wearable ran a modified version of Android wrapped around consumer's wrists long before Android Wear devices like the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R hit store shelves. The move was also viewed widely as Samsung beating longtime rival Apple in delivering its first smartwatch.
Sales and reviews of the Galaxy Gear were poor but it gave Samsung important feedback on how to improve the smartwatch going forward. The company has released six different smartwatches since the Galaxy Gear's debut and rather than solely relying on Google's Android Wear platform, almost all of its wearables run Sasmsung's Tizen OS. LG is also taking a similar approach and showed off its webOS-powered smartwatch at CES, which offers a completely different user experience than its Android Wear siblings.
Apple is gearing up to release its first smartwatch in April and CEO Tim Cook explained how the wearable is taking cues from the iPod digital media player the company introduced in 2001, while speaking at the annual Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.
"If you think about the MP3 industry, we weren't the first company to make an MP3 player, there were lots of companies in this. They weren't used very much. They were fundamentally hard to use -- the user interface was bad and you almost needed a Ph.D. to use them. They're not memorable.
"I see the smart watch category very much like that. There are several things that are called smart watches, but I'm not sure you could name any. There hasn't been one that changed the way people live their lives. At Apple, that's our objective. We want to change the way you live your life."
It remains to be seen if the Apple Watch will experience the same meteoric rise and success of devices like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, but one thing is for certain, they all started with the same magical Apple ingredient; an unrivaled user experience that makes people want to use the device.