Apple kickstarted mobile music with the iPod in 2001. It remade the smartphone market with the iPhone in 2007. It showed everyone what tablets should look like in 2010. And now, Apple is preparing to do it all over again with the Apple Watch, blazing a path for its smartwatch-making competitors to follow.
But, like the iPhone and the iPod before it, Apple has designed an entirely new user interface that will take some getting used to. And while millions of Apple enthusiasts will buy the Watch with what's already been shown in Apple's media events, there are tens or hundreds of millions more that know very little about the new device.
Apple is well positioned to show off the Watch to that mass of customers, offering 15-minute tryouts at its hundreds of retail stores, paired with brief demonstrations of what the Watch can do.
But even those won't be enough—not for the volume that Apple needs to make a dent in its bottom line. That's why it has created a series of Guided Tour videos addressing many of the new features on the Apple Watch.
For any company creating and launching a new product, there's much to learn here about educating and teaching customers. Apple goes well beyond brochures and television ads, giving simple, focused tutorials both on how to use the Watch and how it can save time.
The series begins with "Guided Tour: Welcome," an introduction to the Watch and an overview of some basic features. This essential lays the groundwork. It shows customers just what the product is and gives some basic tips about how it will work, focusing on traditional sales pitches around benefits and features.
Then, we get into a number of more focused videos that touch on various tentpole features of the Apple Watch. The video above is about Messages, with others focusing on the various watch face settings available, the new Digital Touch feature that allows for unique communications with other Apple Watch users, and the ability to make phone calls right from the watch, Dick Tracy-style.
Siri becomes even more handy with Apple Watch, as users can simply say "Hey Siri" when the watch is activated to turn Siri on without pressing any buttons, and then ask her to perform any number of tasks. The "Hey Siri" feature has been available for a while on iPhones and iPads, but only when the devices were plugged in and charging, which limited the usefulness of the feature.
Apple is also slowly trickling out the tours, keeping the excitement up for those anxious to learn more about their new device. New Guided Tour videos covering Apple Pay and the Watch's fitness apps Activity and Workout are teased but not yet released.
When the Apple Watch begins shipping to customers (and developers) in a few weeks, we'll see what the fuss is all about—and over the next few months, we should get an idea about what innovations app developers will come up with too.
Has your company considered how it could use the Apple Watch? Let us know in the comments below.
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Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.