The Apple Watch officially made its debut on Thursday. Considering pre-orders of the iconic brand’s smart watch hit nearly 1 million in the United States alone, Apple is expecting plenty of profits. App makers may also get in on the game.
As it turns out, when it comes to the Apple Watch there’s an app for that. The Apple Watch store opened with over 3,000 apps. Apple CEO had promised 1,000 apps at launch so this strong opening beats both tech analyst and consumer expectations.
By way of comparison, Samsung didn’t hit the 3,000 app mark until its Gear wearables app store was 18 months old. From financial services apps like Receipt Bank to healthcare apps like Cue by Humana to instant messaging apps like DeNA and beyond, it seems big brands and small app developers alike rushed to get in on the Apple Watch hype.
The Sheer Possibilities
The Apple Watch lets you send messages, read e-mail and answer calls to your iPhone from your wrist. There's a Taptic Engine that alerts you with a tap so you don't miss notifications. Meanwhile, Digital Touch lets you communicate by sending a sketch, a tap or using the rhythm of your heartbeat. The device even comes equipped with Apple Pay and health and fitness features.
Apple Watch is available in three collections, Apple Watch Sport, priced at $349 and $399; Apple Watch, available from $549 to $1,099; and Apple Watch Edition, crafted from custom rose or yellow 18-karat gold alloys, with prices starting at $10,000.
Despite the $349 price tag, Apple will account for a quarter of the wearable computing devices market in 2015, selling about 20 million Apple Watches by the end of 2015, predicts market research firm CCS Insight. That equals to about 7 percent of those who own compatible iPhones at the time the smart watch launched.
Overall, sales of wearable computing devices will grow from 29 million in 2014 to 172 million in 2018, CCS Insight predicts, thanks in large part to Apple's success with its first smart watch. CCS Insight is also forecasting a spike in 2015, with smart watches and fitness trackers leading the way.
We caught up with Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, to get his thoughts on the app hype. He told us the mass interest in getting an app on the new smart watch demonstrates the lure of Apple's mobile products.
The question is, how many people will actually use a healthcare app, financial services app or even an Amazon app on a small screen on their wrists? How practical is it? If you know exactly what retail product you want or just need to check your bank balance it’s plausible, but the discovery process is difficult on a small screen, Entner said.
“For a lot of the app developers, the pride of being on the Apple Watch first is significant. They are checking the box,” Entner said. “It’s a badge of honor that shows how cutting edge and technology-focused the brand is.”
Makes sense. But does having so many apps at launch, including from name brands like Amazon, which has released a shopping app for the smart watch, help Apple Watch sales? Yes and no.
“Apple Watch buyers who got their phone today bought it regardless of the apps -- or because they know the apps will come -- but not necessarily because the apps are here,” Entner said. “No matter whether it succeeds or not you have a piece of history.”