February 7, 2014 11:19 am
The iPhone is old news. The iPad? Pfft.
If you’d take Apple’s share price as the state of the company’s health, it’s trending down. Despite a quarter of record revenue and huge profit, Apple’s revenue growth has slowed significantly in the past year, and it experienced a decline in operating profit — though still astronomically high by any company’s standards — which rattled investors. The company did manage to sell record numbers of devices — 51 million iPhones and 26 million iPads — last quarter, but consumers want to see something new and interesting.
The iWatch is interesting. Analysts and followers of the company have been speculating about a potential smartwatch for at least two years, though it’s only been in recent months that any substantive proof of its existence has emerged. Apple hasn’t exactly tried to hide evidence that it is up to something new, acquiring small startups and hiring individuals focused on the health and fitness industry, such as former Nike design director, Ben Shaffer, and scientists focused on making body measurements more accurate.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, confirmed “there will be new categories this year,” and the company is “working on some really great stuff.” Despite prevailing rumours that there will be two new iPhone models this fall, both larger than the current 4-inch iPhone 5s flagship, the product getting the industry most excited, the so-called iWatch, doesn’t even exist.
What does exist, though, is a fervour for the wearable technology market, which is beginning to gain traction in mass-market products like the Pebble Steel and, to a lesser extent, Google Glass. From lifelogging to arm sensors to brainwave tracking, the consumer market for wearable technology is coming quickly, though there is still reason to be skeptical of its longevity.
Don’t count on the iWatch being cheap, either. Apple makes a small number of products, and Cook claims, “the macro thing for us is making a great product and we must do that. If we can’t do that, we’re not going to force ourselves to hit a price point that makes us produce a product that we’re not proud of because we lose who we are in that. We’re not going to do that.” Ultimately, though the market share will come in time, the company’s main goal, especially for a first-generation product like this rumour smartwatch, is to first and foremost make a good product.