Like many others around the world, a group of us gathered around my computer on Tuesday at precisely 6pm to tune in to the latest Apple launch. It was dramatic, atmospheric and exhilarating, and to watch it in real time from London was fantastic. And to see the tents on Regent Street, with people wanting to be first in line for the product already, is really a sight to behold! Once again, Apple has sought to reinvent a product category where their competition is getting steeper and steeper. This means two new iPhones – which will come in new increased sizes, after demand for bigger devices (or ‘phablets’) has soared around the world over the last couple of years. What’s got everyone talking this time though is the new Apple Watch.
There has been so much press about it, but Apple’s smartwatch, which will be released next year, is the company’s first real attempt to break into the wearables market, which has staggering potential. Apple might be slightly behind the times, what with firms like Samsung, LG and Pebble all having released similar products over the last couple of years. However, Apple’s new device comes closer than any before it to blending the capabilities of its current smartwatch rivals with purpose-built fitness trackers like the Fitbit. As well as the health space, Apple is hoping that its watch can reinvent mobile payments, too, with near field communications technology set to be unveiled with the new iOS 8 operating system.
The new launch is testimony to the importance of personal monitoring, which is only set to become more crucial with the launch of new landmark products such as Google Glass. Apple Watch features bespoke Fitness and Workout apps, as well as sensors to count steps and measure the user’s pulse. Tracking activity this intensely will not be to everyone’s taste, but there is no arguing that the market for this kind of individual data is growing. At the same time, though, Apple’s new payments system focuses on anonymity. When online personal security is more important than ever, Apple is attempting to give the consumer ultimate power over what they do and don’t publicise.
The success of these new innovations is not set in stone: Google’s Wallet payments platform, for instance, has not seen usage soar since its launch in 2011. However, the new iPhones and Apple Watch are a clear sign that Tim Cook is finally becoming a little bolder as a CEO. Part of this success is down to the stellar team he has built around him, most obviously in the ‘special projects’ arena. Bringing noted fashion figures such as Angela Ahrendts, Paul Deneve and Mark Newson into the Apple fold (as well as music entrepreneurs Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine) has laid the groundwork for the launch of Apple’s smartwatch, its most obviously ‘fashionable’ device. We will see how the devices fare in the coming months, but I love the talent of these executives, and savvy hiring seems to have worked well for Cook so far!
MBS is an Apple office. I love Apple’s products, and I am eagerly awaiting the impact of the business’s new devices. Will you be in the queue for an Apple Watch when it is released next year? Why, or why not? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and have a lovely weekend.