Disclaimer: I’m writing this post on a hunch, I have some data, but it’s mostly hunch. I’m also writing it on holiday so haven’t included lots of facts and figures, in keeping with the whimsical nature.
The iWatch will revolutionise healthcare, much more so than being your iPhone on your wrist.
It won’t simply be a better designed fitness tracker, or a smaller version of iPod nano, but a luxury device that will change how we treat ourselves for infections, illnesses and disease. It will be the most sophisticated device that quantifies self and synchronises with healthcare services the world has seen. It will be a game changer in how we think about devices, not used mainly for communication, productivity and multimedia entertainment, but to tell us when we’re ill, suffering from a disease or even about to die.
Apple today confirmed September 9th, the widely rumoured iWatch and iPhone6 date by tech crunch and others as the date of their next ‘announcement’. This is very much on track with their 2 year release cycle, but this cycle is different, introducing a new device – not simply a version update to a device like the iPhone which has hundreds of millions of users.
Yes, there will be iPhone6, it will have a bigger screen in 4.7 and 5.5 inches and will likely be the ‘lightest, thinnest iPhone we’ve ever made’. Expectations are high with much improved quality of competition from Android and Windows phone device makers (read Nokia Microsoft).
But the big deal, the really big deal, is going to be iWatch. A lot has been rumoured for years about whether Apple would do a watch. There is clear data on new hires by apple that support the launch of a watch. Their R&D spending has also significantly increased this past year, consistent with a new device, not just an improved iPhone.
Here at my startup Mailcloud we’ve been thinking about how to prepare for iWatch as well as bigger screen sizes for iPhone. But, it’s certainly become clearer to me the idea that iWatch won’t be what we assume it will be.
You see, fitness trackers and more broadly wearables have grown rapidly over the last few years, dominating the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas every year. Companies such as fitbit, Nike Fuelband have prepared the market and proven that people are interested in tracking themselves, but none have come so far as the iWatch. This will blow our minds.
Apple think big, think different. They always have. Like other device categories, (PC, Phone, MP3 player) they sit back name watch, understand, learn and then smash the competition with a groundbreaking new introduction into an existing category. Nobody does it better.
Whilst tracking fitness is nice, my hunch is that Apple have thought bigger. A wristband that counts my steps is nice, but I can get those in China for $1. The introduction and announcement of ‘Health Kit’ at WWDC – a series of apps and services that aggregate the data from all your wearables and apps was just the beginning. The really big market here is healthcare, trillions of dollars are spent each year globally, and if a device can alert you early to illness, disease and infection – not only could you sell hundreds of millions, but you’d also transform the way the healthcare industry works.
It’s a very big idea, and I’m willing to bet it’s the big idea we’ll see on September 9th. I even think it may be a medical device but likely we would have seen FDA leaks if so.
Whatever it is, it’s going to be big.