Shaking the Trees; Apple Watch Arrives

Well, we’ve all heard about it. We know it’s coming.

It’s almost here –  April 24th 2015 – it’s the Apple Watch!  But how does it work, will it work and what does it mean for the payments industry?   The concept of wearables that interact with your smart phone is not new, and many suppliers have already tried to capture their share of the market.  Now it’s Apple’s turn.  But many pain points will have to be overcome to prove that this new device is actually a game changer.

 

Six things you want to know about Apple Watch to be Cool:

  • You can now pre-order Apple Watch. It will be available in many countries (including the UK) around the world from April 24.

  • There will be three ‘editions’ of the Apple Watch: One standard, one for sport and one high-end 18k gold version. Pricing for the standard version starts at £299 inc VAT.

  • The device features an 18-hour battery life and can be charged remotely.

  • You can make and receive calls using the device, receive notifications, emails and more.

  • A number of firms have apps ready to go to support the new device, which backs up previous reports that the likes of BMW, Facebook and Salesforce were testing apps in secret.

  • Apple also unveiled ResearchKit at the Spring Forward event. This will enable all 700 million iPhone users to take part in medical research studies to help eradicate diseases. It will be open source. *

 

If they build it, will we come?

Apple products, especially when they are new, have a habit of creating demand from Apple lovers, by default.  Media reports are in over-drive as everyone tries to gauge the significance and acceptance of Apple Watch.  6% of Americans want it.  69% won’t buy it.  15 million will buy it.  Pre-orders surpassed 2.3 million.  The pool of Apple Watch buyers is expected to be from 43 – 60% of i-phone owners.*  100% of Apple Watch predictions will be false.  It just doesn’t stop!

The Watch is expected to integrate beautifully with the existing Apple product ecosystem.  This should make the Apple groupies happy, who will wait on line for hours to get their hands, or wrists, on one of the devices, but what about the rest of us? What remains to be seen is if Apple Watch will be able to create demand for a broader audience.

Snappy tricks for Financial Services

Folks in the financial services industry have been busy thinking of creative ways to use wearables to better market their products and solutions.  Citibank is taking the lead to have real-time account balances available with just a quick peek at your wrist.  Being able to have access to actual account balances, if overlaid with budgeting systems, could just tell you what buying those extra pair of shoes will do to your savings plan that month.  Or even what repeated behaviours could mean for the year.  Lends new meaning to the term “guilty pleasures”!

And don’t think its only retail banking that gets cool new gadgets – capital markets divisions are planning to go Watch as well.  Britain’s IG Group Holdings announced that it would launch one of the first ‘on-watch’ trading apps for Apple.  The app will allow traders to buy, sell and spread bets as well as monitor markets across a number of asset classes.  Oh, and by the way, the app, which will begin selling on the same launch date as Apple Watch, has a “one-tap” login.  Scary simple. 

Get Smart – Quick

Apple watch will certainly give Apple Pay a boost and drive some new adoption of the capability. Apple Watch will also ignite the imagination of many digital leaders at major financial institutions and a rich eco-system of new apps will follow.  Apple’s Watch?  Kickstarter’s Pebble Watch?  No one can say for now who will win the wearables game – but one things for sure.  Talking into your watch is not just for spies and superheroes anymore!