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Pebble execs welcome imminent arrival of rival Apple Watch

Sam Shead | March 17, 2015
The smartwatch market is set to take off with the launch of the Apple Watch next month and it looks as though some of the smaller players could benefit from an Apple piggy-back.

Pebble's CEO Eric Migicovsky and CTO Andrew White have welcomed the imminent launch of the Apple Watch next month despite it being a rival product to Pebble Time.

The Silicon Valley executives made their feelings on the Apple Watch known within days of each other at conferences on different sides of the Atlantic.

Speaking at the Wearable Technology Show in London last Wednesday, White said the launch of the Apple Watch is "something that a lot of people have been thinking about ever since the first announcement last fall."

He added: "We're really excited that Apple is entering the wearables space."

Meanwhile, Migicovsky told Macworld at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, over the weekend that he's "really glad Apple is getting into this space".

Pebble is already benefiting from the arrival of the Apple Watch, which is due to be released in the UK on 24 April.

Indeed, funding for the Pebble Time Kickstarter campaign rocketed from $6,000 (£4,000) per hour on Sunday 8 March to over $10,000 (£6,700) on Monday 9 March, after the Apple event had taken place. It climbed to $16,000 (£10,800) per hour on Tuesday 10 March, following Apple's press conference.

Migicovsky told former Y Combinator lead and investor Paul Graham that Kickstarter signups doubled following the Apple event.

I asked Eric what happened to the rate of Pebble's Kickstarter signups after the Apple Watch announcement. He said it doubled.

Hardware updates for the Pebble Time were announced two weeks prior to the Apple event in San Francisco and the Kickstarter campaign broke the record for the most funded campaign of all time within hours of its launch.

At the time of writing, the campaign had 72,910 backers who had pledged over $18.5 million (£12.5 million) between them. There are 11 days to go.

"Apple's event caused a nice spike in support for us, as anticipated," Migicovsky told TechCrunch. "When the biggest company in the world enters your market, that's the kind of validation you can only dream of. Ultimately the more awareness for smartwatches, and the more choice for consumers, the better for everyone. 2015 is going to be an extraordinarily exciting year."

Pebble Time is due to be shipped with a new "timeline interface" that ditches the traditional app model most consumers have become familiar with.

White said: "The application based model works really well for smartphones but for smartwatches you're trying to do micro interactions that take 10 seconds or less or two seconds or less. Opening an app was a little too cumbersome."

The Pebble Time OS instead shows users what they should be doing, what they did in the past and what they're going to be doing in the future.

 

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