Microsoft loves platform wars. Google loves winning them. Apple likes creating them. Quartz has a nice piece on the year of the smart watch as apple and others prepare to launch their wearable technology. If anything it works as a review for who's created smart watches and which ideas are leading the pack on what appears to be, in my opinion, an extension of platforms wars into a new arena.
What I find particularly appealing about wearable technology is that it's a ready arena for many platforms. If Google Glass, and the product category, really take off you will likely see Google Search win that platform and along with it provide a new avenue for advertisers to target consumers. Wearable technology may have the ability to create many complimentary services and even goods. First mover advantage? Not quite, Sony has had there product out long enough, Pebble released earlier this year, and if you go back far enough Microsoft had something going a few years ago.
One of the key elements of a successful platform is that of connectivity: how easy is it for users on multiple sides of the platform to connect and exchange goods or services. With iTunes tying users to various Apple products already, iWatch is just another arena that can potentially mean high revenues for Apple, and wearable technology as a whole for the firm that ends up leading the vertical. For PC makers, it could also be a savior to declining PC sales after the expected 7% drop in the first quarter reached 14% this year. But like tablets, I don't see them moving fast here either.
On the research and design thinking side, I'm also interested about the behaviors that may need to be adopted: think of the movements necessary to take a call, or command your watch to perform a function, view information, send data... will it be through infrared or AirDrop feature? Will gestures be required to control the watch? Will it be used as a motivational technology to monitor, track and update users on their health? These are both questions and possible value added benefits to wearable technology.
In short, I think iWatch can potentially be perceived in two ways by the market should it see a release sometime soon:
1. As a complimentary device to iPhone communication features with similar functionality as the other mobile apple products.
2. As a replacement device with enhanced functionality reserved for only the iWatch, potentially cannibalizing iPhone sales.
Regardless, for consumers it's very exciting to see platforms extend to other arenas.
- arturo gutierrez