We have no idea what it will be like to use Apple’s iWatch when it eventually launches — it’s reportedly coming in October — but noted industry analyst and columnist Tim Bajarin has proposed an intriguing theory as to how the company’s first wearable might work.
Bajarin writes that someone who he believes “has a good sense of Apple’s thinking about wearables” told him to visit Disney World if he wanted to understand Apple’s wearables strategy.
Sure enough, Bajarin ended up visiting the iconic theme park resort in Orlando and immediately understood why.
Those staying in a hotel within Disney have the option of purchasing what the company calls MagicBands. These wristbands act as your one stop shop for everything you need to do within Disney World’s parks, hotels, and restaurants.
Want to buy food while you’re at the park? Just scan your wristband and enter a PIN. Tired of scrambling for your hotel key? Simply tap the wristband to your door. The wristband is connected to a credit card and is capable of replacing your wallet, keys, and theme park tickets throughout Disney’s sprawling campus. It essentially acts as a digital ID that you wear around your wrist.
The sensors within the band are also contextually aware and can detect where you are. Here’s how Bajarin described one experience:
But these RFID bands also had proximity features so when we were on a ride like Splash Mountain where they take a picture of you as you start the downward slide, it automatically sensed from our bands we were on the ride and that picture was automatically sent to our Disney picture site as well.
Bajarin notes this mobile identity aspect could be crucial for the success of the iWatch. He even went so far as to say that Apple “would be crazy” not to pursue such an idea.
What’s more, this concept appears to seamlessly fit with other initiatives Apple is rumoured to be prioritizing moving forward. Numerous reports have suggested that the company will dive deeper into mobile payments this year, and Bajarin’s reasoning makes the iWatch seem like a perfect fit for that goal.
Imagine going into a Starbucks and just touching your iWatch or iBand to the terminal, entering a PIN number and it is charged to your Apple account…Yes, you can do this with an iPhone now but that means taking it out of your pocket or purse and it is only single authentication at present. In a wearable, it is much easier to use for entering the home and for all types of interactions and transactions.
New products around the connected home will also supposedly be a big priority for Apple in the coming months. Apple just announced its HomeKit smart home platform for developers earlier this month, and the company is said to be working on its own connected home hardware as well.
Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald also previously proposed a theory that suggested the iWatch could be used to control the appliances in your home. Bajarin’s recent thoughts now make that idea all the more believable:
I believe when and if Apple does launch an iWatch or iBand or what ever form of wearables they bring to market, they will initially lead with the health and home automation apps first and over time add the ID features. As you can imagine, using an iWatch or iBand for ID that can be used to do transactions, lock doors and even handle proximity functions could be controversial without them first convincing people they can trust them even more than they already do today.
We expect to learn more as October draws near, which is when the company is rumoured to finally take the wraps off its long-rumoured wearable for the wrist.