There have been multiple reports that Apple has a team of people working on making a computer for your wrist – a “smartwatch.”
Some are already calling it the iWatch.
Perhaps you remain unconvinced about the merits of such an idea.
If that’s the case, there’s a chart you really need to see.
It’s from Kleiner Perkins partner and former Internet analyst Mary Meeker’s latest presentation on the state of the technology industry.
It shows what, exactly, the average smartphone user is looking for when he or she checks their phone ~150 times per day.
It looks like this:
Take a look at that chart, and do a quick mental experiment.
Tally up all the “checks” you would rather do by looking at a screen on your wrist rather then pulling a screen out of their pocket.
(You – or at least most people – would prefer to look at your wrist that in every instance you could, right? That’s why wrist-watches outsell pocket-watches, right?)
My tally is ~95.
When I highlighted every type of check that I could do on a watch that is wirelessly connected to a phone in my pocket, the result made the chart look like this:
You probably have some objections to my tally.
- Messaging requires replying, and how do you do that on a watch?
- Voice calling? Who is going talk to their watch?
Some of these checks will, some of the time, result in users having to pull their phones out of their pocket to do something – respond to a text, answer the phone, or read a full length news story.
But just as often, I can imagine looking at my watch and deciding to decline a call or not to read more about a news story.
As for replying to texts?
Siri is pretty awful, but one thing it is good for is taking spoken phrases like “OK period I’ll be home soon period where do you want to go for dinner question mark” and turning them into legible text messages – “OK. I’ll be home soon. Where do you want to go for dinner?”
As for phone calls, I’m sure that if you’re wearing your headphones and have them plugged into your iPhone, you’ll be able to tap “Accept” and begin talking. People will just wear their headphones more.
Even if you eliminate all or most of the voice call, messaging, and news checks from my tally, you still get ~50 checks per day.
For a lot of people, that’s going to be enough usage to justify spending the $200 or $300 analyst Gene Munster believes Apple will charge for the watch.
Here’s the other thing: all of the “checks” listed on Meeker’s chart are smartphone specific. There are plenty of other things that smartwatches will be able to do that aren’t listed, many of which I can’t imagine yet.
One thing people around my office are already excited about is seeing what Apple can do turning the watch into a sensor like the Nike FuelBand or the Fitbit.
Point is? An iWatch will be very useful – and useful things sell by the boatload.