In its famous September 9 event Apple introduced its flagship wearable gadget named Apple Watch (not iWatch, as expected). The world is abuzz with what it’s going to be, how many people are going to start using it and how they are going to use. But this The New Yorker article raises some valid points.
That people are turned off by the high price of smartwatches shouldn’t be particularly worrisome for the companies that make them; production costs and prices are bound to fall over time. What’s notable is the percentage of people who don’t see what makes a smartwatch particularly useful. While MP3 players could be marketed as a replacement for CD players, and smartphones could be sold as better cell phones, smartwatches have nothing to displace. Companies have to persuade people to add a device to their lives. And given that, people aren’t going to buy smartwatches unless they do something that existing devices, like smartphones or fitness trackers, don’t do—or, in any case, unless they do it better.
Two things come to my mind, in fact three things: most of Apple products are overrated and overhyped and so might be the Apple Watch; you never know what turn technology and related trends take – initially people couldn’t make sense of the touchscreen smartphones; irrespective of usefulness or uselessness, people adopt many technologies as a fad. I have personally come across people who hate their iPhones but carry them around just because it’s cool to own an iPhone. So if Apple can tap into this market maybe it will be able to sell its smartwatches.
The article rightly says that in order to be able to turn smartwatches into a popular gadget they need to become more useful than simply being cool wearables. Of course they have to look good but that’s beside the point. Most of the smartwatches come with health trackers that can keep track of your heartbeat, your blood pressure, the amount of calories you are burning or not burning and how much physical exercise you’re getting per day but then, these are standard features that are coming with almost every smartwatch – even those watches that don’t have a touchscreen. More features like an ability to make payments and security clearances can actually make the smartwatches more useful.
It’s like this, if you have a smartwatch and if it is authenticated (it works only if you are wearing it) then you should be able to make payments by simply flexing your watch in front of the payment machine at the mall. If you are wearing a smartwatch, it should be able to control your indoors environment by syncing with something like the Ninja sphere smart home hub.
A smartwatch can also act as your all-encompassing ID. Once you wear it, you shouldn’t need your passport and other ID proofs at the airports.
Similarly, the security system in the buildings can be configured to use smartwatches such as the doors can only be locked and unlocked by people wearing authorised smartwatches.