2015 may be the beginning of a new generation in technology. The launch of previous Apple products such as the iPod (2001), iPhone (2007) and iPad (2010) have defined particular product niches. We don’t yet know how big smartwatches will become, but based on its recent record there is an excellent chance that we will look back on 2015 as the year of the Apple Watch.
Just as the iPhone has come to completely dominate the smartphone market, it seems a pretty safe bet that the Apple Watch will soon become the most successful smartwatch in the world. At this point in time, such a boast is not a colossal one, considering that smartwatches haven’t really caught the public imagination yet.
But when Apple releases a new product typically people queue for many a mile to get their grubby paws on it on release date, so the Apple Watch is a completely new proposition for the smartwatch market. However, it is difficult to know what to expect from this particular Apple release, particularly as there are such differing indicators regarding how successful the Apple Watch may be once it hits the stores.
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The popularization of the smartwatch is certain to lead to some interesting trends, and one of the most widely predicted elements of the release of Apple’s first smartwatch is that children will begin to get on board with the technology in a big way. Certainly the design of the device has been carefully crafted to be as fashion-conscious as possible, and the potential to carry the Internet around with one’s self at all times will surely be an attractive one for young people in particular.
This is nothing new, of course, as previous smartwatches have also enabled this, but when this is coupled with the street cachet that Apple’s devices unquestionably carry then a whole new level of market penetration seems possible.
Other experts are suggesting that the Apple Watch will have far more practical benefits than as a mere fashion item. The health tracking capabilities of a smartwatches have been pushed pretty much since the advent of the technology, and indeed this is something that Samsung has particularly emphasized in its Galaxy dear range. But it is thought that the Apple Watch may step up this particular feature of smartwatch technology, and members of the medical community are in fact enthusiastic about this prospect.
Dr. Mark Armstrong, a radiologist practicing in New York, has suggested that wearable devices which can check importance of biological indicators such as heartbeat, blood oxygen and glucose could be incredibly important in the future. Dr Armstrong suggested that being able to monitor these vital signs alone may be sufficient for remote diagnosis away from a surgery, providing that a physician has a patient’s records available on file.
Given this prognosis, it seems highly likely that the Apple Watch – expected around Spring 2015 – will have the ability to track vital statistics for medical professionals, in addition to its fitness tracking functionality. The Apple Watch has been armed with a raft of different sensors that all offer differing biological reading capabilities, and when combined they provide the Apple Watch with a potentially powerful portfolio of health monitoring capabilities
Of course, it is all very well and good providing a fantastic consumer product with incredible functionality, but this is rather futile if no-one wants to purchase it. And up until now, consumers have shown little enthusiasm for the smartwatch as a concept. It has appeared that tech fans are unclear precisely what the smartwatch is supposed to do and offer them, and companies have struggled to communicate to customers the strengths and advantages of this particular device type.
Apple notoriously plays its cards close to his chest when announcing and releasing any product, and in this context we haven’t heard too much concrete information regarding the Apple Watch. This could perhaps be reflected in a recent survey carried out by Quartz, in which they polled 811 US smartphone owners in order to see how many were interested in purchasing the Apple Watch when it is released.
The figures didn’t exactly make outstanding reading for Apple, although there is still the potential to turn this perception round if the corporation is able to deliver an outstanding product. Only 2 percent of those surveyed stated that they were extremely likely to buy an Apple Watch in the next 12 months, while a further 5 percent stated that it was very likely. This would suggest that the Apple Watch is not guaranteed to be the sort of immediate commercial success that we associate with Apple.
However, 20 percent also stated that they were somewhat likely to purchase an Apple Watch in the same time period, so this at least gives Apple hope that they can mould perceptions with an outstanding product release and marketing job. But the perception of the device at this point in time remains that it is somewhat niche, and perhaps a little on the expensive side as well. With a pricetag in excess of $300, this is not something to purchase as a gimmick.
But as much as there is a certain degree of consumer scepticism about smartwatches in general, and the Apple Watch in particular, some major players in the mobile industry see things very differently. The CEO of T-Mobile, John Legere, has explained in an interview that wearables will be among the “big device stories of 2015”. Predicting that the wearables marketplace would increase 20-fold in the next few years, Legere is evidently extremely enthusiastic about the mid-term prospects of the smartwatch.
Apple Watch: Affordable iPhone companion?
As rumors persist that Apple will release an affordable iPhone alongside the Apple Watch, with the obvious intention of making the two collaborative, the consumer electronics giant could be very much viewing the Apple Watch as a slow burner. The company is in a very strong financial position to play the long game, and it seems inevitable that once mobile payments become more popular that the smartwatch market will grow considerably. It should come as no surprise that Apple already has fingers in both pies.