Apple was often blamed for being late to the wearable party. While unveiling the latest iPhones, it was widely purported that an imminent wearable device was inevitable. True to widely circulating rumors, Apple finally moved the needle on the smart watch category, with the Apple Watch.
Apple has repeatedly been beaten up about showing up very late to the wearable game. Trading in its first mover advantage, we see today how Apple’s strategy to wait, watch and learn from the experiences of others has paid off (interestingly, research shows that 47% of first-movers in business fail outright, and while only 11% of fast followers come to grief). So this basically tells us that pioneers have arrows in their backs. Wearable computing is too crucial for Apple; it is widely regarded as the evolution of mobile. For Apple, who typically puts the intelligence in their devices, it’s all about the device game.
That said, Apple, who create and use technology in incredible ways, may have just built the most technologically advanced product ever.
Many in the industry believe that the Apple Watch a few years into the future will look and behave very different from the ones that were launched earlier this month. As always, software is crucial. So, could the Watch usurp the smart phone in the future through a combination of evolving iOS and natural user interfaces like voice and gestures? No one is sure how things will stack up in the future, but Apple is surely mindful of software – they have created an architecture for developers to ensure that building for the Watch sits well with the developer community.
The mass market appeal of smart watches today is still debated upon. While BI Intelligence was quick to laud the announcement suggesting that the Apple Watch could set things in motion and lead smart watches to mass market stardom, the catalyst could turn out to be technology prowess that helps cross the hurdles with the current smart watch model or a player that will completely reinvent the business model in this category. As of now, how the software, apps, and functionality interact and provide value will be the key driver. If any company is well positioned to perform on these spokes, it is Apple, with their sustainable developer network and design skills.
The key differentiator that sets the Apple Watch apart from other smart watches on the market is the NFC feature that enables a user to pay for things with it. Analyst and consultant Tim Bajarin’s excellent piece throws light on how Apple could leverage on ideas deployed by Disney’s ID band technology widely used in Disney’s parks and attractions. Now, with Apple’s wearable announcement, there’s reason to believe that payments and health could be cornerstones in the company’s wearable strategy.