Apple today announced new iPhones, the Apple Pay payment platform and the Apple Watch. The comment below may be attributed to Jan Dawson, Chief Analyst at Jackdaw Research. Jan may also be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org or (408) 744-6244.
Apple’s new iPhones provided few surprises, with the size, new features and even the naming having leaked over the last few weeks. However, the new phones should dramatically expand the size of the opportunity for the iPhone, which has been artificially limited by its small screen size. The iPhone will now definitely have its largest quarter ever in Q4 this year, and its biggest year. It will significantly move the needle on shipments, and will further dent Samsung’s shipments in the coming months. The iPhone 6 will be the biggest seller, but the iPhone 6 Plus will be a big seller too both among people who want a bigger screen, and those who want the top of the line experience. The iPhone 6 Plus will be particularly important in China.
The Apple Watch was far less detailed in rumors and provided some big surprises. The device is first and foremost a watch. Despite the name, this distinguishes it from other smartwatches, which have focused first and foremost on notifications and fitness, neither of which have mass appeal. Apple’s watch handles these too, but does them in a different way. The smartwatch market has been limited by a lack of imagination and a focus on these two tasks, and only a truly disruptive new entrant could change things. Apple now promises to do that, with a focus on a new user interface that makes more sense for smartwatches, and truly attractive and fashionable design. Others have created smartwatches as technology products, but Apple has created a smartwtatch that’s a fashion product, and that will make a huge difference. Apple is defined as much as anything by the markets it chooses not to keep in, and by pricing the watch at $349, Apple will limit its addressable market. But it’s also likely to be the first Apple product people may buy several of for their own personal use. There’s a significant range of options between the three main lines, the five types of straps, and a variety of colors. This is critical for mass appeal among those who can afford to spend $349 or more on a watch.
Apple’s new payments platform will be a huge success over time, but it’ll be a slow burn, as it will take some time for enough retailers to support the platform to make it widespread. Apple’s focus on security and privacy is in keeping with a theme we’ve heard a lot from the company in recent months, as it seeks to set itself apart from Google and to an extent Amazon. Both those companies capture significant data about transactions when their payments platforms are used, but Apple is protecting user data both from itself and from retailers. Despite the iCloud hack fallout, Apple is reinforcing its position as the company that won’t ever sell your data, and in this case won’t even collect it in the first place. Mobile Payments have suffered from the lack of a clear reason to use them instead of traditional methods. Apple’s improved security and privacy in addition to the convenience of using Apple Pay should finally change that.