A timeline: A brief history of Apple Watch

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Internet connectivity, text messaging, voice control and fitness tracking. Standard features found not only on today’s smartphone, but accessible on your wrist as well. And as a result, the wearable technology market is expected to hit $186.14 billion by 2030, according to Bloomberg.

The most valuable segment of these is by far smartwatches, accounting for a large share of market value. And Apple’s foray into wearable tech, the renowned Apple Watch series, boasts incredible features users can apply to their daily lives like never before. 

Today, we take a look back at Apple Watch’s brief history on the market and the key developments that have led to that success.

September 2014: The next chapter in Apple’s story

Apple Watch was presented by CEO Tim Cook in conjunction with iPhone 6, originally marketed as a fashion accessory, focusing on the varying band and body styles. It was officially released in April 2015 with the focus shifting to the fitness-oriented features.

Apple Watch also had the ability to make wireless payments, in addition to talk and text functionality, landing on Time’s Best 25 Inventions of 2014. Mashable also called it the breakout star of wearables, adding “it’s gorgeous, smart, fun, extensible… an object of true desire.”

September 2016: Brighter, faster, more capabilities

The next generation in Apple’s wearable wrist tech line was unveiled on the same day as iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Apple Watch Series 2 had a similar look and feel to the original, but upgrades and improvements included GPS, a brighter display and a powerful dual-core processor. Adding Nike to the team didn’t hurt either.

Marketing for the device continued to center around Apple’s commitment to improve the health and fitness of its users. Most notably, swimmers could take it with them in the pool where Apple Watch 2 could count laps, detect stroke type and track your average lap pace. It’s more than what Wareable was expecting at the time, “and what's even better news is that it works really well.”

TechRadar echoed that sentiment by stating that “almost every single upgrade offers something of tangible benefit: the GPS chip, the faster innards, the water-resistant frame. Suddenly the Apple Watch is able to last longer and track you better, and even offers you the chance to get better at a new activity.”

September 2017: Leave your phone behind

Apple took the next logical, but transcendent step in announcing Apple Watch Series 3 the same day it unveiled iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. The third iteration in the series allowed you the freedom to take a call, stream music, interact with Siri and more, without the need to have your smartphone nearby.

By adding LTE cellular connectivity, especially when combined with the lightning fast speeds of Verizon’s 4G LTE Network, Apple Watch 3 earned the distinction of “best smartwatch on the market” from TechRadar. The publication also raved about the health enhancement features, noting that “the fitness side of the Apple Watch 3 is arguably now the most important of the wearable range. Every feature is centered around the fact that you can live a better, healthier lifestyle with this device.”

September 2018: Guardian and guru

Cook and company presented Apple Watch Series 4 as the wearable that has your back - as well as your heart, improving upon their desire to maintain your well-being. Groundbreaking features like Fall Detection, Emergency SOS and ECG generation provides users peace of mind even in the most unnerving situations. Plus, a new Digital Crown provided users with a seamless experience on the largest display yet on an Apple Watch. 

September 2019: Introducing the always-on display

One year later, Apple announced Apple Watch Series 5, which was the first in the lineup to offer an always-on display, meaning you no longer needed to raise your wrist or touch the screen to see your watch face – all you had to do now is glance to find the time or your workout metrics right there where you want them. This series also allowed users to set workout-specific goals and track their progress in the Activity app on your iPhone. What’s more, this series innovated on the systems that allow you to check your heart rhythm with the ECG app, and listen to your Apple Music library right from your watch, even without your phone.

September 2020: Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 6 are announced

This time around, Apple introduced two new series of Apple Watch: Apple Watch SE, which was a more affordable option for users looking for a more budget-friendly introduction to wearable tech, and Apple Watch Series 6, which blew all the previous health tracking metrics out of the water with its all new sensor and app. 

October 2021: Meet the Series 7

A bit over a year later, Apple introduced Apple Watch Series 7, which touted features like a larger and more durable display, perfect for those who enjoy fitness activities (including ones that take you off the grid, and into the elements).

September 2022 to now: Series 8 debuts, and Apple Watch goes Ultra

Speaking of “off the grid”-- Apple stunned users in September 2022 when it was revealed that not only would Apple Watch Series 8 be making its debut (with more features than ever before), but the never-before-seen Apple Watch Ultra would be added to the lineup, featuring capabilities like water resistance up to 100 meters, a siren that can be heard from up to 600 feet away, cutting-edge crash detection, and beyond. Apple Watch Ultra is the gold-standard in fitness tracking, syncing up your smart life and staying safe no matter where you roam with its long list of safety features, fitness tracking stats, and extreme durability. 

At Verizon, you can shop the latest Apple Watch models and cutting-edge Apple Watch accessories (like Apple Watch screen protectors and colorful casings) any time. What’s more, you can now pair your cellular-enabled Apple Watch with Verizon’s 5G network– the network America relies on.

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