Tonight Apple will gather together the world’s tech press and announce the launch of its hotly anticipated iPhone 6 and iWatch. Below I’ll discuss what’s expected from the announcement and how it will impact on marketers and end users.
Apple has never been one to fear disruption or feasting on the flesh of its own products. This time the new heads at Apple are set to do what they’ve always done best – focus everything at the end user and create a whole new market in the process.
1. Create a Brand New Segment
The iWatch could create a brand new segment of consumer devices and services in a way that we never thought we would actually need by turning something technical and unusable into something functional and extremely beautiful.
The new iWatch, which is hotly tipped to launch tonight, is set to do exactly what the iPod/iTunes did for music players and what the iPhone did for mobiles – create a new market overnight. What’s more, the existing smartwatch and wearables market will welcome their entry to the market as they too will benefit from Apple’s investment to create consumer desire for the segment.
Apple’s launch will focus completely on the consumer and what the technology can do for them. They’re doing this by emphasising and prioritising the exciting health aspects of their watch. The iWatch will have multiple sensors embedded to allow us to track every aspect of our lives. No doubt, they will lead with some of the world’s top-end health providers in order to launch this.
2. Disrupt the Existing Industry
Apple is about to turn retail on its head. We’ve heard the phrase electronic wallet bandied about for years and have seen companies like Google, Amazon, PayPal and eBay attempt to do it, but efforts were all very much locked to the internet as opposed to the consumer.
Apple are going to disrupt retail by transforming your phone into your wallet by removing all of those plastic credit cards and replacing them with a single chip in your phone that is secure and driven by an app. All of the major credit card companies are already on board and retailers will no doubt flock to facilitate Apple’s payment mechanism. Could this be the technology that finally sees consumers ditching their wallets in favour of paying with phones and apps?
From a consumer usability perspective one of the biggest changes we’ll see is the elimination of loyalty cards and the aggregation of all loyalty points onto a single device. Whether it’s your coffee shop down the road or your favourite airline, all of your loyalty points will be gathered in one place. This eases the burden of having to carry and track multiple cards.
3. Eat its Young
Tablets are, in effect, a transitional piece of technology and have a limited shelf life. The Apple iPhone 6 will have a large enough screen (4.7 inch and 5.5 inch) to eliminate the need for a tablet. This means that Apple will not only compete directly with all of the other smartphone manufacturers in terms of screen-size but it will knowingly usher in the demise of one of its own product lines.
The original iPhone pretty much decimated iPod sales and all but removed the need for a stand-alone music player. The new iPhone 6 will do the same to the iPad.
This is probably the greatest difference between Apple and Microsoft. Apple has always been comfortable with the idea of cannibalising its older product lines and disrupting its very own revenue stream in pursuit of brand new products and services that consumers want. Meanwhile, Microsoft has never moved beyond its staple Office and Windows products and has resisted any attempts at innovation or disruption.
4. Tim Cook & U2
Today’s launch will ultimately be our first real opportunity to judge the stewardship of Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. Until now Tim Cook has traded on the legacy of Steve Jobs and all of the product sets Jobs was responsible for creating; this is the mainstream Apple product to come to fruition under the leadership of the Tim Cook and Jony Ive partnership and the markets will be watching closely. Any rumblings in the marketplace about Cook’s ability to replace a consumer genius like Jobs will either find further grist for the mill or finally be put to rest in the next month or two as the world sees whether or not it wants an Apple wearable device.
Oh and U2 (who badly need a hit) are expected to launch their new single or album at this event…According to The New York Times, U2 will perform and reveal their exciting plans for an integration with Apple’s products.
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