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This App Will Let You Wear The Apple Watch Right Now

Why didn’t Apple release this augmented-reality gem itself?

Not entirely sure how the Apple Watch would look on your wrist? A new augmented-reality app called ARWatch allows you to put a virtual version of the smartwatch on your wrist and play around with it. Not only is it pretty cool, it’s also a great example of how brands are overlooking some of the most exciting opportunities of augmented reality.

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Developed by Belgian app developers Underside, the app works by having you print out a flat paper replica of Apple’s 38-millimeter-sized smartwatch. You place it on your wrist and then load up the Underside app to admire your new, virtual Apple Watch, thanks to the magic of augmented reality.

Here’s a video of ARWatch in action:

But while it’s an impressive proof of concept, it’s hardly what I’d consider fully featured. For one, short of tapping the screen to change the color of the wristband, you can’t interact with your Apple Watch at all. But the full potential of what this simple demo offers is apparent.

Imagine if, when you loaded up the app, you could fully explore the Apple Watch’s interface just by tapping on your iPhone’s touchscreen, or see a notification pushed from your iPhone to your virtual Apple Watch in real-time, or see how the Apple Watch interprets your iPhone’s health tracking data. Imagine if Apple had released a more fully baked version of this as a way to convince naysayers that there was a place for the Apple Watch on their wrist? An AR app that allowed people to fully emulate the Apple Watch experience, right down to seeing it on their wrist, before the device was even released?

This would probably be one of the most practical uses for augmented reality. The technology has so much potential when it comes to allowing brands to pitch their products to people, especially in nascent categories like wearables where consumers can’t draw from past experiences to inform their decisions. It’s an opportunity to digitize a physical experience, to convince people they want a product by putting a virtual simulacrum of it right in their lives. And it doesn’t depend upon the mass adoption of virtual-reality rigs, or some far-flung future technology. It’s all possible right now, today, with the iPhone you already have.

Apple didn’t release this app, but hopefully they’re kicking themselves now, because they should have.

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