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Underwhelmed by the new Apple Watch? Not great, but it will get better

by Larry Bellehumeur   |  Aug 05, 2015  

Ok, I have written this a few times, but I need to make a bit of a disclaimer....I am a very long time Apple fan, especially their Mac line.  I am not sure if I have enough fingers and toes to count the number of Apple products in my house.

So, one would think I would be raving over the new Apple Watch.  Actually, I was not that impressed to be honest.  My first thought was..."Nice, but I have seen most of those things before".  However, I think one needs to take a longer term look at the product to see how it may be a home run.

First, the limitations:

•   In order for the product to truly be used, you must already have an IOS device nearby.  This might be necessary, but one has to wonder when Apple will stop trying to make everyone buy into the whole offering.

•   With no keyboard option, it is unlikely to be much of a "creation" tool for information but will be more of an "access" tool only.  So, it won't come close to replacing any tablets anytime soon

•   Finally, I was kind of shocked (maybe I should not have been) by the short battery life that we are likely to see.  I mean, what kind of watch cannot last through an overnight camping trip?

However, when one starts to look at what it could do (in terms of IoT), it becomes kind of interesting:

The ideal focal point for IoT   Apple has shown a large interest in being involved in our space and Watch may be a great way to do so.  It is personal (meaning that it is going to be on the person, even during exercise or key meetings), so it may be the ideal platform to announce to you that your hot water heater has exploded at your house...

Ideal platform for E-Commerce  Ok, I have to admit, I don't go very far from my house without my phone at this point.  So, one would think that it would be an ideal platform for e-commerce.  However, like IoT, the idea that it will ALWAYS be on your arm does make it better for E-Commerce.  While my phone may be with me, I do sometimes leave it in the car when I go in the store, as an example.  So, when you are talking about paying for a coffee at Starbucks or using an application for your boarding pass, Watch may actually be a better platform.

Ideal platform for Home health care  As the population continues to age, there will be more of a push to keep people in their own homes as they age.  One idea to to use IoT solutions to allow for better biometric monitoring, personal emergency notification and ensuring that medication has been taken.  However, there is always a concern when it comes to form factor.  To date, most solutions have involved having a home base to communicate with a variety of devices from it.  However, it may be simpler to use Watch as it could do most of those things and in addition, could be used to provide many other services for seniors (such as personal health monitoring when they are outside of the home).  Sure, there is always the concern that the senior would forget to charge the device, but that is something that can be worked on.

The Bottom Line

Since it has a coolness factor, Watch will no doubt be a big success for our friends in Cupertino.  However, I think the true value of the platform won't be known for a while, as it will take many months/years for the developer community to bring forward solutions that fully utilize all of its capabilities.  In time, I do believe that Smartwatches may be a key piece to the overall success of the IoT space, so it does look to be a step in the right direction.  I just won't be buying one, as I was never really a "Dick Tracy fan"....  =)