The head of TAG Heuer has told Swiss newspaper NZZ Am Sonntag that they are planning to launch a smartwatch, “but it must not copy the Apple Watch.” Their plans are to present their smartwatches by next spring at the latest. TAG Heuer and indeed the entire watchmaking industry are facing competition from smartwatches and it appears that the
iWatch Apple Watch (I’m never going to get used to that!) has them spooked. Ultimately, I can see why they might be as people may be tempted to pick up the Apple Watch if they already have the iPhone. I remain unconvinced that the Apple Watch, or indeed any smartwatch, can currently compare with the elegance of a Swiss-made watch but concede that maybe Formula One drivers will be carrying an Apple Watch whenever they’re not wearing their sponsor watch. We don’t have any details of the TAG Heuer smartwatch other than it almost certainly won’t run Apple’s software.
Before I go any further, I must express a degree of frustration at TAG Heuer’s announcement citing the Apple Watch. Apple have not been a bellwether for technology innovation for at least three years now. Their products do not innovate but replicate and build on the success of others. The Apple Watch looks very much like Sony Smartwatch and Samsung Gear products. Apple has, unfortunately, a huge amount of mindshare over the general population and from next year we’ll see people using their Apple Watch to buy their coffee, which may give wearable technology a real kick in the pants. Perhaps the Swiss luxury watchmaker have been planning a smartwatch for some time but are jumping on the Apple wagon for maximum exposure? This would make sense. TAG Heuer do not strike me as the sort of business to make rash snap decisions!
Going back to TAG Heuer, the company already makes a couple of Android smartphones, the Link and Racer, so it’s not inconceivable that they will be looking for either a customised Android device or an Android Wear product. Given that Android Wear is going to get updated to make it easier to use custom watchfaces, I’d put money on there being a TAG Heuer Android Wear-powered smartwatch in the not-too-distant future. And that makes me happy at borrowing some of Apple’s mindshare.