First, Apple rarely employs a first mover strategy. There are many fitness tracking and health bands on the market and none of them have had a significant impact on consumers. Apple wasn’t the first company to release a smartphone or tablet computer, but they perfected each by learning from other first mover mistakes. This supposed “iWatch” will mimic that strategy and continue Apple’s marketing trend.
Second, the heavy reliance on the iPhone 6 is seemingly too like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear and Note 3 debacle. Apple won’t make such a short sighted mistake — having to buy both the Gear and Note 3 to properly use the two devices was a weak grasp at supplementing sales.
Instead, I see Apple making the iWatch a fully capable device that supports more than just the newest iteration of iPhone. This will mean it can relay sensor data from the band to all iPhones and potentially iPads. Making the iWatch its own independent product, and not fully dependent on the technology and hardware in other specific devices, is key for long-term success. This doesn’t mean the iWatch won’t be heavily reliant on the iPhone — it just means that the iWatch will not be obsolete without an iPhone at its side. There is a big difference between utilizing on-board technology and being dependent on another device’s hardware. Apple will choose the former and Samsung chose the latter.
Further, this line spells out how Apple will make the iWatch an independent product line:
iOS 8 combined with the iWatch is said to be able to monitor several other pieces of health and fitness data, but additional specifics are not as clear as of now.
iWatch will use iOS 8, not a specific set of hardware and software found in another specific device, to analyze, relay and display data. All iPhones capable of running iOS 8 — which I bet will run down to the 4S — will be capable of interpreting and analyzing data from the iWatch.
That is the Apple punchline.
For everyone doubting Apple’s “closed” ecosystem, this is how Apple shines. The iWatch will be able to support the majority of Apple’s other product lines because it will use unfragmented and uniform software. An Android product that works like this potential iWatch will be extraordinarily difficult for developers and engineers to create. Uniform software and uniform hardware will allow the iWatch to perform its health and fitness purpose seamlessly across all Apple devices.
And I just don’t see anyone other than Apple capable of pulling it off.
The most popular bands, like the Jawbone Up, Nike Fuelband, and Fitbit Force, all do something right. But I’ve never looked at one and felt the urge to buy. Reviews of all three have been fairly positive, but there is something about them that doesn’t sit right with me. I’ll leave it to Apple to fix my curiosity. ↩
Which seems like a poor name choice if it is geared toward health instead of punctuality. ↩
And by all, I mean, say, the iPhone 4S and later. I highly doubt they will limit the relay of data between the 5S or 6 and the “iWatch”. It would decrease the size of the “iWatch” target market and hinder long-term sales. Also, unless Apple plans to market things accordingly, the differences between the iPad and iPhone are negligible. I’m sure the iPad will be supported in much the same manner. ↩