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IS YOUR BUSINESS READY FOR APPLE WATCH?

Since its announcement in September, Apple Watch has probably become one of the most highly anticipated tech gadgets in recent times, perhaps even more than the original iPhone. In the last 7 years or so we’ve seen why Apple is the global leader in technology innovation. The MacIntosh, iPod, and iPhone each revolutionized how people interacted with technology through the mouse, through the click-wheel, and through multi-touch . . . so the Cupertino, CA-based tech giant has given consumers very high expectations for the smartwatch.

Now after much speculation about the exact release date, Apple Watch is officially set to start shipping to consumers in April. One thing that organizations have learned, or should learn from experience, is not to underestimate Apple and its ability to transform whole industries. We’ve seen it happen too many times.

There are a number of good reasons why businesses of all stripes need to start thinking seriously about how to get ready for the Apple Watch era. Here are three major ones:

1. Smartwatches and Wearables are here for Good

2014 marked the emergence of the smartwatch market in full form. Major players like Google, LG, and Samsung introduced devices, following the path of the popular Pebble Watch release in 2013. Despite some sluggishness at the beginning, the industry is taking off and looks to get a major impetus from the Apple Watch release. Along with these consumer changes, the wearable technologies market in general is also growing leaps and bounds. A fresh new report out says the Global Connected Wearable Device market will grow at a CAGR of 54.11 percent over the period 2013-2018. The major driver of this trend is the “convergence” of user-friendly services (telecom, media, IT, and infotainment) onto a single device that’s easily accessible on a mobile platform.

2. Apple Watch Will Reify the Internet of Things

We’ve all heard the hype surrounding the Internet of Things. Apple Watch is slated to become a new expression of this emerging and disruptive industry. As one writer has well stated, “With the Apple Watch, Apple rejuvenates the watch as both a watch and a new kind of personal computing device.” If everything goes as Apple planned, the Watch will become a record selling item within months of its release. With more users come more data endpoints. More data endpoints means more Internet of Things. And as the Internet of Things explodes and expands, this will mean more Apple Watches sold!  The reciprocal nature between Apple Watch and the growth of Internet of Things can’t be stressed enough here. By revolutionizing the user experience of smartwatches, Apple is creating a major “new dimension,” or endpoint, for the Internet of Things.

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3. Apple Watch Will Transform the Future of App Development

Apple Watch comes replete with iOS 8, which is its biggest release yet, along with a new Health app to help users manage their health and fitness data. For developers, Apple has added HealthKit, which will enable them to create great health and fitness apps to work seamlessly together. Through these channels, along with its overhaul of the user experience of smartwatches, Apple is single-handedly building a consumer oriented health and fitness ecosystem which may well spawn a larger health revolution. On top of all this, WatchKit is the new toolkit for Apple Watch that will allow developers to start writing cool apps such as alerts and notifications, including ways to sync Apple Watch with other gadgets. Developers are already jumping on the bandwagon to write apps for the new Watch. Apple’s robust and expansive ecosystem of tools and resources, not to mention the Watch’s significantly smaller form factor, will lead to major changes (and challenges!) in how mobile apps are designed and developed. Businesses cannot afford to overlook these emerging and disruptive trends especially since Apple Watch is sure to hugely impact the way consumers interact with their brands.

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Much more can be said on this topic but from all the signs we’ve seen so far Apple Watch’s release in April points to an epic technological shift as the PC continues its downsized trajectory from our desktops to our pockets  . . . and now to our wrists. Imagine it in these terms; just as the iPhone and iPad helped fuel the growth in mobile, cloud, and information technologies, Apple Watch looks to do the same all over again for Internet of Things. The momentum is building. Consumers, developers, and businesses are lining up. Are you and your company ready to jump on board the exciting new revolution spawned by Apple Watch? Now is the time to proactively start thinking about how to fit Apple Watch into your business innovation strategies for 2015.

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