Recently I was at a family barbecue on a cold grey afternoon (just how we’ve grown to love them in the UK). My partner’s sister, her husband and their son were all wearing Apple Watches. After I got over my deeply hidden inferiority complex, I asked them, “so what do you think of it?”, I expected them to be non-plussed about it. I thought to myself, this is going to be really interesting, after all I have been toying with getting one since seeing the Keynote on the Apple website. The responses from all three of them were startlingly positive especially when you take into account that two of them are over 60.
When I questioned a little further, the factor that resonated was the fact that they loved the way it enables them to own their health. At the heart of the watch is Apple’s heart rate monitor which feeds data into the Health app. The ease with which one can manage one’s own health in such a non-invasive way is undeniably impressive. I was shown the Health App UI (which I admit I loved) and then given the pitch by their son (my future nephew in law), who is something of an Apple aficionado having created the Night Sky app which has had over 5 million downloads across the globe.
I found myself wondering whether outside of the Health app, the size of the watch could really lead to any other engaging uses or was the screen just too small. Right now it may seem trivial, but consider this. Would you buy one if you could use it, independently of your iPhone and conduct FaceTime calls on it? Throw in contactless payment and the ability to make and receive voice calls and all of a sudden the use case becomes somewhat more compelling, doesn’t it? What about texting, I hear you ask. “How about texting through Siri?” you hear me reply.
Maybe it’s the game plan for Apple to condition its loyal customer base to migrate to this smaller real estate with a view to one day doing away with the iPhone (I heard the collective gasp). I want to point out this is just my hunch for the time being. If their strategy is working, consider this: it took Apple 74 days to sell one million iPhones. It took 28 days to sell one million iPads. Apple hit the one million milestone for sales of the Apple Watch on the first day of pre-orders and is now in the range of several million. No more charging an iPhone and an Apple Watch and then, when you need a real screen, you reach for the iPad anyway, right?
Apple Watch has lit the blue touch paper of imagination with app developers far and wide seeking to create ingenious apps on this new technological milestone. Now imagine when the advert is shown. An almost tearful parent having a FaceTime call on her Apple Watch with her precious child who is hundreds of miles away, just started University and in need of money. The moolar is despatched (wirelessly of course) across the ether straight to her Apple Watch which is all she needs to pay for stuff (contactlessly, of course).
As for why my relatives (again, in their 60s) love their Apple Watche - that’s simple. Partially as I have learnt, as you get older, managing your health and its exponential importance to helping stay alive is quite important (that doesn't mean I am doing a good job of it). Being able to use a gadget that you wear and letting it do the managing for you is nirvana. Having the Kudos of wearing said gadget is, undoubtedly, a bonus. Additionally, it’s unkind to assume that only the young like or want tech.
I believe the success of Apple Watch and its adoption is going to be incomparable. The current version is just the beginning, the real fun will begin when new functionality, like I mentioned above, is built into it. All you have to decide now, as a brand, is how you plan to leverage it because just like your friends and loved ones, customers will be wearing it. Yes, I know other watches and wearables will come on-stream and are out there, BUT as we all know, no one does desirability and marketing quite like Apple.