We have heard estimates of 60 Million units in the first year for the iWatch (if that is what it will be called) and even that Apple will have three separate models coming out. Where these numbers come from is a mystery as Apple has been keeping pretty quiet about the product although there has been some tacit admission that one is being built (it also makes sense). The unit sales numbers are inflated in an attempt to build hype for the product. This tactic has had mixed results in the past for analyst firms (most of which also hold large amounts of Apple stock).
From what we have been able to find out there will be a single iWatch hitting the stores late 2014 or early 2015. It will be very fitness focused (Nike helped design it) with an internal heart rate monitor and more than a few apps to help you track your health. Apple should also include the ability to make calls, read texts and emails, but additional functionality has not been talked about. One thing we did find interesting was there has been little to no talk about a camera on the device. Believe it or not, this might actually be a good thing for Apple as many describe the camera on the Gear line up as “very creepy” we have taken to labeling the camera on smart watches as the “creepy cam”.
Now having a camera on a watch is not bad in itself, it is the angle and the way they are almost hidden. This design simple creeps people out. It could be that Apple decided not to creep anyone out and could not find a way to make is user facing (on the face of the watch) so they are apparently going to leave it off for now.
Camera aside, the iWatch will also have the benefit of running iOS. This means there should be a fairly wide selection of compatible apps for the product at launch time. In speaking with a developer we were told that moving between Apple devices if fairly simple, but you do have to code properly for resolution and screen aspect ratio. An app that looks good on an iPad might be unusable on the smaller screen found on a watch.
Apple is very good at taking other people’s ideas and making them better. They do this through tight control on the hardware inside and the user experience. This can often mean not having features that have been around for a while until Apple can get them right. The first iPhones did not have the ability to copy and paste despite that being present on Windows Mobile phones for a couple of years. This could extend into the iWatch as Apple tries to control the user experience and make it more predictable and consistent. Still they have multiple companies to fight in this particular market so their success here is no assured.
Moving on to the 5.5-inch iPhone there is a ton of rumors about this including a video that claims to show the front glass of an iPhone being attack and resisting a stabbing. According to what we have been able to find out this video has some truth to it, but the actual screen shown might not be what the consumer sees at launch. Apple will also continue to build on the technology they dropped into the iPhone 5s such as an improved camera, better battery life and also a refinement of the fingerprint scanner (higher resolution). It should come out with iOS 8 and finally catch up to the phablets from companies like Nokia, Samsung, LG and well everyone else.
The down side is that this product could be delayed due to manufacturing issues. The exact nature of these have been rumored, but nothing is clear. All we have been able to find out is that the issue will either delay the device, or force a change in the build. To us, based on other bits of information, this sounds like another problem is fusing the glass to the display. This could be why we are hearing that the actual phone might not have the indestructible glass shown in the video when it hits the streets.
Last on the list is the rumored iPad Pro. This is alleged to be a 12.9-inch tablet that will be aimed at the enterprise. If the details we are getting are accurate it will be positioned to compete against the Surface Pro for the business user. Apple could also leverage their newly formed partnership with IBM to add something extra for the enterprise and they have been working on their own series of professional applications as well. We have not been able to get much more reliable information on this device.
In all, these three products could be a big deal for Apple. They are behind in terms of mobile phones simply because their last few refreshes have not excited the public enough to maintain their normal high retention rates. The iWatch is also important to Apple as their competition grows and is already dropping second and third generation products on to the market with features that match or exceed what the unreleased is rumored to contain. Meanwhile Apple’s presence in for the business user has been impacted by the introduction of the hybrid tablet, especially those that are x86-64 systems and can run common “PC” based applications.
Apple will certainly sell iPhones, iPads and iWatches, but we seriously doubt the massive numbers being spouted by many Apple friendly analyst firms. There are simply no accurate predictors for these claims. The current wearable market is semi-stale as consumers (and the makers) decide what these devices should actually do. The Phone and tablet market is also slowing down as it becomes saturated with more and more of the same device. Still Apple needs a win on all three fronts to remain relevant in these markets and to get back to being viewed as a leader. Because of this the new iPhone, iPad and iWatch had better be show stoppers. September is the rumored launch time for these products, so I guess we will see that flows out of Apple at that time.
Tell us what you think in our Forum