Apple is expected to release a software development kit (SDK) for Watch apps this month, as brands prepare for the introduction of the device early next year. Voice-driven search, apps providing insight into important information like airline flight schedule changes, and directions from one location to another with a twist of the wrist are conveniences that brands build for consumers to give them a better experience.
Apple Pay may capture most of the buzz, but Apple Watch promises to deliver unique experiences using beacon technology, per Ben Gaddis, chief innovation officer at advertising agency t-3. "It will give brands a unique opportunity to create a VIP-like experience," he said. "You'll typically have this on all the time except when you sleep -- a behavior that blends well with monetization through subscription services. Early-stage advertising will probably be in apps or through the freemium model similar to what we see in video games today."
It's all about getting bite-size chunks of information on a wrist device. Imagine getting off an airline flight with gate information pushed to your wrist or having the device send an alert for gate changes or driving road closures. The advertising model will grow with maturity, per Gaddis.
The market for wearable sensors will accelerate next year as Apple Watch starts shipping. Smartwatches will take the top position in 2015, and will maintain dominance through 2019. In fact, wearable devices will increase to 135 million units in 2019, less than three times the total of 50 million in 2013. The average wearable device shipped in 2019 will have 4.1 sensor elements, up from 1.4 in 2013. Overall, wearable sensor shipments will double next year; shipments of sensors for smartwatches will increase nearly 600%, per IHS. The sensors will give brands the opportunity to explore new types of marketing and advertising.
The report -- which gives developers and brands direction for building app experiences -- highlights sensors that give brands a "straight line of sight" to first-wave buyers and influencers through the Apple Watch experience. T3 suggests that brands consider focusing on building applications that target the more affluent with the discretionary spending willing to plunk down hundreds of dollars for an untested technology. It is also important to consider the younger crowd with a greater digital nativity and a heightened desire for statement products, and the tech-forward driven by curiosity and craving for the newest and most novel technology experiences.
Chip suppliers are already gearing up to manufacture the Apple Watch. Taiwan-based publication Digitimes reports that orders for semiconductor chips powering the watch are on order, between 30 million and 40 million units.