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A top designer left Apple to build Apple Watch’s first real competitor: Olio Model One

Updated 4 years ago
Published Mar 26th, 2015 12:00PM EDT
Olio Model One Release Date
Image: Olio

There are a few main reasons the Apple Watch has generated so much buzz. First and foremost, it’s an Apple product and nothing is as buzzy as an Apple product. Of course, the Apple Watch also marks Apple’s first foray into uncharted territory: luxury goods and wearables. Finally, the Apple Watch is really the first smartwatch to sport a beautiful premium design.

And who better to intro the Apple Watch’s first true competitor than a former top Apple designer who left the company to start his own business?

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Meet the Olio Model One, a stunning metal smartwatch that is just as much a watch as it is smart.

Following Apple’s lead, the Model One puts style and design front and center rather than simply stuffing a smartwatch operating system into an ugly watch-like housing, which is what companies have done with most current smartwatches.

Olio was co-founded by CEO Steve Jacobs, a former top designer and product lead for Apple. He has also worked for Google, Beats by Dr. Dre, HP and Amazon.

Joining Jacobs are designers and engineers from companies including NASA, Pixar and Swiss watch maker Movado.

“Olio’s Model One is the antithesis of a mass market product, produced to be everything to everyone. Olio was founded to create thoughtfully crafted products for the discerning individual who wants the latest technology, but on their own terms,” Jacobs said. “What’s more, we understand that the wrist is a very personal, intimate space, and anything you do there needs to have a purpose.”

Here are some of the Model One’s key software features from Olio’s press release:

  • Dynamic Visualizations: Olio’s interface maps the busiest parts your day, making personal bandwidth glanceable, while simultaneously creating a dynamic watchface that is unique you.
  • Temporal Streams: Access the right information at the right time, with notifications and information organized into two simple and intuitive time streams—earlier and later.
  • Olio Assist: A cloud-based personal assistant that contextualizes and understands your personal preferences to offer insightful and actionable suggestions.
  • Intelligent Actions: You can dismiss or respond to content with a simple swipe, and even have Olio Assist hold your calls/texts and remind you to respond at a later time.
  • Control Hub: Control relevant third party products like thermostats, lights, locks, cars, speakers, and services like payments, directions and music without searching or wrestling for your phone.
  • True Cross Platform Compatibility: Olio is an independent brand and offers freedom to connect with both Android and Apple phones, as well as a wide range of connected hardware products.

In terms of hardware, you’re looking at a beautiful metal design that drags Swiss watch styling into the smart era.

The Olio Model One will initially see two limited production runs that will yield 500 stainless steel watches at $595 a piece, and 500 black steel watches at $745 each. Both versions are available for preorder immediately on Olio’s website, and they’re set to begin shipping this summer.

Several images of the Olio Model One follow below.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.