The Apple iWatch, if you haven't heard, is one of the next big (rumored) things in the tech world. If the hints and leaks can be believed, the first new product category Apple will be launching since the death of Steve Jobs will be wristwatches.
It seems odd, and a bit of an unusual step back from the iPad, but if history can be trusted, the iWatch will blow every competitor out of the water.
Apple is still doing what Apple does best: taking a product that already exists, working some user interface and marketing magic, and getting all the credit.
Image via TechRadar
The iPod did not invent digital music players. The iPhone did not invent smartphones. The iPad did not invent tablets. Yet, in each of those product categories, Apple's product is like the BandAid of adhesive bandages — synonymous with the category itself.
The key difference is that Apple takes its time, learns from the first-movers' mistakes, and creates a better version. It is called "second-mover's advantage," and Apple has used it to create a cult of personality that a North Korean dictator would envy.
The first-mover victims this round? The Pebble Watch is already out, and Bluetooth-linked smart watches are being rumored or announced by Sony, LG, Google, and Samsung.
The biggest barrier to success for this product category is the reluctance of the young and hip to wear watches. With our smartphones to tell the time, Millennials are seeing little reason to wear them. But with bendable glass, secure biometric readers, fitness trackers, and alerts connected to our smartphones rumored to be in the works, the smart watch concept becomes a bit less laughable.
Plus, if anyone can create markets for flailing tech ahead of its time, it is Apple. Remember a time when the iPad was considered a ridiculous useless piece of technology with a funny name, too large and cumbersome for use? Let me remind you:
Apple will probably introduce this iWatch thing sometime in the next year, and it will be a big deal: If for no other reason than to prove to cynical investors whether Apple can be trusted to launch a product without Jobs.
Wearable tech like this may seem now to be like a hoverboard — sci-fi too absurd and unreachable to be real — but that future is sneaking up on us. Just wait, we'll all be wearing computers on our wrists in two years.