Here’s the deal. iPod was not an overnight success. In fact, it was criticized heavily by members of the technorati elite politburo and nattering nabobs of negativism which permeate the tech culture in the U.S. Guess what? The iPod Effect™ is back.
Apple’s iPod was the first music player that pulled together all the right pieces at just the right time. iTunes music player managed songs on the iPod. iTunes Music Store gave iPod users a place to buy music legally. iPod was easy to use, but The iPod Effect™ came about because of those white earbuds included with every iPod.
Earbuds? Yes. After a couple of years the iPod could be seen in the wild and its numbers grew. iPod was distinctly visible thanks to those white earbuds. The iPod Effect™ was the slow and steady adoption of a highly visible and distinctly Apple product.
Guess what? Apple Watch has the same phenomenon. Look around. You’re starting to see Apple’s easily identifiable Watch show up everywhere for every generation. The company said sales last quarter were up 50-percent from the year before which was up from the year before that. Unlike iPhone, iPad, and Mac, Apple does not publish exact sales numbers, but the company says nobody in the wearables category– including Fitbit and Samsung and hundreds of Chinese knockoff makers– makes more money than Watch.
Steve Kovach says Watch might have some competition.
Fitbit announced Wednesday that it plans to ship its new smartwatch in time for the 2017 holiday season.
Competition? Remember the Zune? It came in brown. Meanwhile, Apple’s Watch platform has exploded with applications that bring numerous convenient functions, all pulled away from the iPhone.
Apple has found its footing by refocusing the Apple Watch on the tasks people actually want to do: receive notifications, and track fitness. Apps have taken a backseat, and the Apple Watch hardware has improved on the fitness side thanks to waterproofing and the GPS for tracking runs.
Maybe Kovach doesn’t understand how Watch works. Apps are everywhere and every function in Watch has a corresponding application, but it’s true that Apple has focused on health and notifications, and the next step is to untether Watch from iPhone so it can work as a standalone product.
As the glow of wearables and smartwatches wears off and the industry gets hot on emerging tech like augmented reality, we’re still in the early days of the slow death of the smartwatch. And there’s nothing on the horizon that will elevate the smartwatch from a nice-to-have gadget to a must-have gadget.
Naysayers laughed at Apple’s iPod because the music player was locked into iTunes and the iTunes Music Store. Mac only. But that changed and the iPod Halo Effect was born as hundreds of millions of Windows PC users found the iPod, loved the iPod, and rewarded Apple with Mac sales. The iPod Halo Effect continues with the iPhone.
Kovach says there’s nothing on the horizon that will elevate the smartwatch to a must-have gadget. I can think of a few. Blood oxygen monitor. Blood sugar monitor. Solar powered Watch bands. Camera and FaceTime. Standalone 4G LTE Watch. It’s likely all such features will show up in the next year or two.
Will Watch sell in the same numbers as iPhone? No, of course not. Nothing ever has and it’s likely nothing will. At least, not within the next few years. Meanwhile, Apple Watch basks in the iPod effect.