Yankee great Yogi Berra once said, ‘You can observe a lot by just watching.’ True enough. So, maybe watching a little history might be good for us, no?
Here’s another (but not from Yogi): ‘Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.’ Or, in this case, those who ignore history won’t be able to understand the present, let alone the future. Or, put another way, ‘The future ain’t what it used to be.’ Unless you pay attention to the past.
Déjà vu All Over Again
Way back when, circa 2007, Apple launched the iPhone. The response was nearly unanimous. It was a mistake. It would bankrupt Apple. Critics howled, competitors scoffed, and Apple even had to cut the price to spur sales. So much for an iconic product set to take the world by storm. But then something funny happened. Apple changed course.
We made too many wrong mistakes.
The next year the company introduced an app store with developer applications to run on the iPhone that sales began to grow toward enormous numbers a few years later and it became the best selling technology gadget ever.
You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.
Why? What happened? Was it the price cut? Was it the app store? What made iPhone grow?
Value. As the apps on the app store grew in number and capability and functionality, ‘there’s an app for that‘ became an advertising rallying cry. Within a few short years the iPhone had matured to become not only a cellphone, but a damned good camera, and something akin to a Mac or PC in your pocket.
I tell the kids, somebody’s gotta win, somebody’s gotta lose. Just don’t fight about it. Just try to get better.
The iPhone began to take functionality away from the Mac and PC. Apple’s big risk product was growing up.
Fast Forward Watch
Before moving to the future, let’s move to the past, circa 2015 when Apple launched Watch.
You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.
Like the iPhone, it was slow and underpowered, and just plain didn’t do much. Critics howled, competitors scoffed, but Apple managed to sell a few million and learn a thing or two in the process. Just as the iPhone matured into a highly useful product, within a year– Watch Series 2 and watchOS 3.0 were released and the steps toward maturity began.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Two news items caught my eye this week. The first, health insurance giant Aetna plans to give their 50,000 employees an Apple Watch because they know it will make them healthier (no word on whether they get a free iPhone to go with the iPhone accessory). The second, was a restauranteur in New York who plans to give managers and sommeliers an Apple Watch so they can be notified when certain things happen. Important things.
I can see how he (Sandy Koufax) won twenty-five games. What I don’t understand is how he lost five.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, guys and dolls, Watch has arrived. Over the next few years– just as did the iPhone from 2007 to 2016– Watch will improve and mature, and both app developers, customers, and users (they’re not the same) will find and develop new ways to use the device. At some point it will become a standalone Watch with no need to be tethered to an iPhone. That process has already started as Watch Series 2 contains its own GPS.
Watch will get thinner and faster and more powerful. New sensors will turn it into a full-fledged health tracking device for insurers, health researchers, and health conscious buyers. It will be more of an exercise tracker than it is now. And, Watch will become more useful to businesses where it makes it easier and faster to communicate with employees.
Watch has arrived. And you can see it in action at the nearest Apple Store.
No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.