Industry reaction: What will Apple's announcement mean for marketers?
The Apple Watch and a mobile wallet were the main reveals at Apple's event last night, 9 September. But what will these new creations mean for marketers?
Names such as Forrester, Carat, Monitise Create, OgilvyOne, and Engine Creative discuss.
James Hart, strategy director, Carat
The issue Apple is facing is between loyalty and technology. There is a possibility it has reached a loyalty ceiling with its consumers.
What we are seeing is a move from disruptive innovation to incremental innovation aimed directly at the mainstream and could be the tipping point for the early adopter evangelists who made Apple millions as they embark on a 'cooling off' period or worse still 'trial separation'.
But does Apple even need to worry about disruptive innovation anymore?
It could just wait like a circling shark for some juicy disruptive innovation in the marketplace and throw tonnes of money and marketing behind a bigger better 'sexier', easier version, and sell it the mainstream middle as disruptive innovation.
The issue seems to be that of late the technology Apple are investing behind, such as NFC, is doomed to fail because it requires mainstream consumer behaviour change and a decisive move towards the mass middle. For instance did we really expect to hear the brands McDonalds, Disney and Apple in the same sentence 10 years ago?
The iWatch’s big opportunity is to be sensory addition to our lives but at the moment it is not doing this. It’s attached to your arm, not connected to it. There is a land-grab for screens, but they may have missed the opportunity to be something more than just another screen.
Adam Levene, SVP strategy, Monitise Create
The smartphone is already our most personal technology and has revolutionised just about every part of our lives. The Apple Watch, fundamentally a computer strapped to our wrists, has the potential to become even more personal. Apple have combined their typical blend of art and technology to create a beautiful product and one that puts emotion first. Watches often carry an incredibly sentimental value - in contrast to smartphones, which are highly changeable and do not feel so uniquely ours. I’m intrigued to see how the rich customisation of the watch face, the choice of straps and the Digital Touch feature will inject the warmth and emotional attachment needed.
Forward-thinking businesses will no doubt begin exploring the possibilities of Apple Watch as soon as they can. As always, they must take a human-first approach to the technology, where they leverage utility to make the lives of customers easier. For example, the ability to glance at a bank balance and then make an instant payment through Apple Pay, is a genuinely frictionless experience, and one that customers will grow to expect. What they will not want to see is advertising that adds no value staring back at them from their watch face.
Of course the irony is that the iPhone, more than anything else, has been responsible for the decline of traditional watch sales. But if anyone can rescue a category that they have helped shrink, it’s Apple.
Jo Coombs, managing director, OgilvyOne
I thought the announcement was a little bit underwhelming if I'm
honest. A new iPhone is not new. This is version 6 so we're getting used
But it's the announcement of contact-less payments potentially gives Apple
an edge compared to the competition (although no news yet of a UK roll out
for that which is maybe why it was somewhat underplayed).
Apple has always held up well against their usual competition such as
Samsung and Microsoft. This product means they are now competing with
PayPal, Amazon, Amex and big merchant banks such as RBS.
Apple is known for making things seamless and if people find making mobile
payments easy with the iWatch and iPhone 6, then Apple could suddenly find
themselves as one of the largest banks in the world. As a consumer you
could finally leave your wallet at home, pay for everything and even get
on the bus with your watch.
So will I be queuing up in 2015 to buy one? Not at that price point no,
and not unless the battery is at least a week. But it's Apple and it's new
and the 2015 version is probably just the tip of what it will eventually
do. So I suspect they will fly off the shelves.
Ilicco Elia, head of mobile, DigitasLBi
Apple Pay will raise the game of mobile payments, showing everyone how a seamless payment process should be integrated into a mobile OS. It looks set to make it easier to pay for goods on your phone than it is on the web. With Apple finally integrating NFC, this should result in a much needed shot of adrenaline for the contactless payment industry.
While the emphasis remains on the Apple Watch being a companion device to an iPhone, Apple are pushing the idea of a computer on your wrist more than the current generation of equivalent Android Wear watches. The Apple Watch will sell to hardcore Apple fanboys in the first instance, but it is not yet a must-have accessory for every iPhone owner. Google may have got to market first but the more measured thinking and the craft of the Apple Watch is self evident. Ask yourself this question: if you had budget to spend on developing a watch app, where would you place your bet? Apple Watch, Google Wear, Samsung Tizen or Pebble?
Andy Wise, strategic director, Engine Creative
As an agency with huge experience developing augmented reality (AR) experiences for brands, we’re primarily interested in how new devices such as the Apple Watch can enhance and augment our world. With this in mind, the range of features available on the Apple Watch will certainly provide our clients with new opportunities to connect with their audiences through WatchKit (the set of tools for developers).
However, it’s not the feature list that really struck me but more the fact that, at last, there’s a credible wearable product that manages to combine great functionality with great design aesthetic. It’s not going to be to everyone’s taste (what fashion item is?) and there will be a host of naysayers willing it to fail, but when it’s finally available next year it will sell millions.
The market is ready for it. I am definitely ready for a long overdue upgrade on my iPod Nano Watch which has been in Beta phase on my wrist for nearly 3 years now waiting for the Apple Watch to be launched. When you start looking into the detail of the product you really begin to appreciate the quality and level of design thinking that has been applied to every aspect of the development process.
From the rather regally named Digital Crown to the magnetic charging mechanism Apple has been, to quote Jonny Ive from the promo video, “designing technology to be worn".
And that’s the point about wearables and, in a wider sense, the Internet of Things. Connected devices, smart products, wearables, nearables and hearables (whatever you like to call them) will inevitably be integral to our very near future lives (50 billion connected things by 2020 according to Cisco research).
If a mainstream product such as the Apple Watch helps to raise the bar in the wearables market then that can only be a good thing for the evolution of technology (and for fashion)."
James McQuivey, vice president and principal analyst, Forester
Apple's Watch strategy, though not coming to a store near you soon, has firmly established the smartwatch as a new category. Would-be competitors may take solace in how many months they have before the watches go on sale, but they have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to compete with Apple on the more complete experience the Apple Watch offers. It's not just a device; it's a lifestyle.
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