Apple is rolling out two big innovations this year: Apple Watch and Apple Pay. These new products will be important growth drivers.
Of course, that assumes they will be successful.
Most people think the both products will do well. After Apple’s press conference this week, business and technology writers celebrated the watch. People are excited about Apple’s payment system, too.
I’m not convinced either product will do quite as well as people anticipate.
My concern is very simple: where is the benefit?
Apple Pay is a nifty system that allows people to purchase things with their phone. Instead of digging around for coins or a credit card, you can apparently just wave your phone. As the Apple Pay website explains, “Gone are the days of searching for your wallet. The wasted moments finding the right card. Now payments happen with a single touch.”
The problem is that credit cards work rather well. It takes me about one second to pull out my Visa card. I am then pretty confident that the system will work. If someone steals my card, the company that issued it will send me a new one and cover all the fraudulent charges. Is Apple Pay a big step forward?
Apple Watch appears to be another nifty product. It looks nice, tells the time, displays text messages and can make a phone call.
Still, I’m not convinced it provides a compelling benefit. It doesn’t replace a smart phone; you need to have your iPhone with you. It seems like a secondary display panel that is small and difficult to use.
Without a compelling benefit, adoption of these products won’t be high. Some people will buy and use them, of course, if for no other reason than they are from Apple so must be pretty cool. The watch, in particular, will be a fashion statement. Many more people, however, will hold off. Why adopt a new technology if there isn’t a benefit?
Apple has become the world’s most valuable company by providing compelling benefits. The iPod delivered a benefit. The iPhone delivered a benefit. The iPad provided one, too.
These latest products seem high on the design but low on the benefit. That could be a problem.
Unless, of course, Apple has something else coming along that builds on all this technology. I’ve misread Apple before.
This is shaping up to be another incredible year for Apple. Things may get more difficult in 2016 and 2017 if these new innovations don’t take off.