Carissa Bahr & Kris Hinck
How many fitness technology products do you own? Is there a Wii Fit in the cupboard under the television? Is there a Garmin heart rate monitor in the bathroom drawer? Perhaps you have put your name down as one for the first buyers of the Apple Watch.
If we think back, it was only in 1977 when the Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor and the Apple II were released and then within 30 years Nintendo demonstrated the Wii Fit changing the way people interacted with technology.
Less than seven years after Nintendo changed how we interacted with technology, FitBit released their new wearable technology that allows consumers to track their daily activity and achieve health and fitness goals like nothing before. Have a look the next time you are standing in the queue at the supermarket – how many people do you see wearing a FitBit? The development and accessibility of health related wearable technology has exploded in the last few years!
Companies like Suunto, Garmin and Polar have been tracking our movement, heart rate and calories for more than a decade and are well established in the health and fitness market. So why has Apple developed a smart watch and entered the market of wearable technology?
Apple are the masters of innovation, very rarely if ever the inventors of a new product category. In utilising this strategy, idea generation, market potential and concept testing is more rapid and agile. The fourth stage of new product development – Design and Development – is where Apple time and time again succeeds.
Where computer technology has continued to evolve, watch design has rarely changed since they became popular in the 1920s. Previous attempts at new designs – calculator watch, pager watch, phone watch – have all faded away. Research suggests wearable technology has consistently failed due to underdeveloped visual appeal and thus not attractive to or broadly adopted by the consumer .
What consumers want:
Wearability – easy to wear and carry around
Ease of use – achieving what the user wants easily
Compelling design – aesthetics and attractiveness
Functionality – appropriate functions for performing
Price of the product – affordable price
Reflecting on early reviews of the Apple Watch one general consensus is clear, it is sleek and beautiful!
Are we again being visually lured by an Apple product? Maybe we simply cannot live without the Apple Watch. Is it the best smart watch on the market? How does it compete with companies that have been in the wearable technology market for many years – Garmin and Fitbit now also have similar looking products.
Apple are launching the Apple Watch with the tagline “Our most personal device yet”. Are we ready for such intimacy? Can the technology handle the personal data that impacts on our health? Many are questioning if these devices will have the potential for us to surrender control of our health. Our instincts, feelings and intuition of our own health may become dampened with too much reliance on data we don’t necessarily understand.
Has Apple failed in their assessment of the market potential for the Apple Watch?
Isn’t the strength of human nature to sense, feel and experience? Particularly in relation to our health and state of wellbeing. Even elite athletes will choose not to train with wearables at times. This ensures they do not lose the ability to read themselves or rely too heavily on numbers. This is a great skill and one we should educate to understand our own instincts of wellbeing. Is it for the health experts and application developers to decide for us why we need them? Perhaps Apple are merely providing us a greater opportunity to take control.
Title Image Source: TIME Magazine September 2014 Pages 39-47
Article Image Source : Apple Website https://www.apple.com/au/watch/