May 01, 2015 by Charles Burnett
If you think that the Apple Watch exists so that you do not have to take your phone out of your pocket, you would be wrong. The Apple Watch, in fact, represents an emerging trend in the tech world that has existed long before Apple entered the market. Let’s consider: What is an Apple Watch?
An Apple Watch is essentially a device you wear on your wrist that monitors your heart rate, steps taken, speed and altitude among other things. It also happens to have a fully functioning touch screen which can display texts, emails and other notifications from your phone. The first half of this description already exists in the form of various products. To see this, look no further than the Fitbit, or the Nike+ FuelBand. These products also track your heart rate, distance traveled and so on. They also integrate with your iPhone to better track your health statistics or interface with various applications.
The arrival of the Apple Watch is really an attempt to bring a competing product to the health tracking market and dominate it. Apple makes a habit of controlling who can access their hardware with what and how. If they do not want to support your device, they have free range to do so. Hence, in terms of dominating the market, Apple has created a device that is more closely integrated with the iPhone than any third party device can be.
This is why the introduction of HealthKit was framed as such a big deal. It was a recognition of the growing market and a means of controlling it. The makers of other health tracking devices and apps are rushing to support HealthKit not only as an additional feature but as a primary integrated way of displaying their data. Because Apple controls HealthKit, they can use that to dictate what data is or is not supported, as well as how it is displayed. Apple can use this to set the direction of the market. They entered last but already have control.
It is actually quite brilliant. By creating an arguably better product (at least in terms of device integration, features and support) in the realm of these health devices, Apple can use that product with its existing market to show off new ideas in a market that has yet to take off. That second market is obviously the market of the smartwatch. Apple has successfully elevated the smartwatch out of the realm of the tech enthusiast and into the mainstream population.
Don’t believe me? Ask yourself how many times you have seen a friend with one of Samsung’s Android smartwatches. I would wager that the number you would arrive could be counted on one hand at best. Then, I want you to wait a month. Take note of not only how many Apple Watches you see, but the kinds of people wearing them. I promise it won’t just be your friend who jokes about living in the computer lab.
So the Apple Watch is not successful because it is at all revolutionary. Nay, this is actually not the case with Apple products in general. It has always been about clever placement of products into existing markets, taking the market share it gains and excluding others from it and then using that product to build an entirely new market. Couple that with the perceived quality and hype that Apple users give to all things Apple and you have a recipe for a product with staying power. So prepare your wrists, because by this time next year, you will be wearing an Apple Watch.