Forget the iWatch Apple, it's another race you've lost to Android
Apple has rarely been first to market with a product -- it did not build the first MP3 player or tablet, but it does have a history of revolutionizing those markets, as it did with the smartphone. There isn't anything wrong with stepping into an existing market and bringing along fresh and innovative ideas. In fact, it has worked out quite well for the company over the years.
However, more recent history shows that Apple can also lose the markets, as both tablet and smartphone have fallen behind rival Android, which entered the scene later. Openness plays a part in this -- a multitude of devices to choose from, along with more customizable options, is a big deal when compared to a closed system with one device released annually.
But imagine if Apple entered the market after Android. That is what we could potentially see occur in the future. For a year we have heard rumors of a mythical iWatch -- it resides with the iTV and the unicorn for now.
The problem is, Google has already plunged into the water, announcing its Android Wear last week, along with a list of partners. Two of those hardware makers, Motorola and LG have already announced devices, though availability is still a bit away.
The new wristwear features Google Now, along with apps, social and health options, to name only a few. It’s a fully-formed idea, complete with SDK, and work has begun by both OEMs and developers.
This leaves Apple in a predicament. While the company was able to enter late to tablets, smartphones and MP3 players, yet still take over initial share, this one will be different. Android is firmly established. It’s known to the majority of customers and also likely powering their products. That makes an Android smartwach a no-brainer for those with a phone already powered by the OS.
We still have no clue if Apple will actually release a watch, but given the new market, it would seem logical. However, this time around it enters behind, and is likely to retain that position. There is also little doubt that if the product does appear, it will be hailed by the media and lobbed with attention from fans, possibly even generating some photo-op lines at stores. But it won’t catch Android, despite the overzealous attention it would generate. Sales must back up hype, and a lack of them is bad publicity.
In the end, it would be entering the market too late, and plans, if they are in the works, may as well be scrapped. The investment would be better spent on other projects, perhaps new, unexplored markets that haven't yet been thought of by others. The company has the personnel to come up with the concepts and designs to introduce something truly innovative -- but the smartwatch is likely not the market for Apple to enter now.