What it is: The Apple Watch is a multipurpose wearable computer with multiple health sensors.
Although most people haven’t realized it yet, the greatest purpose of the Apple Watch is real-time health monitoring, which could only be done in the past with dedicated medical equipment. Consumer Reports compared the Apple Watch to the Polar H7 heart rate sensor, a highly rated heart monitoring device, and found that the Apple Watch was just as accurate. Sunset Lake Software engineer Brad Larson has compared the Apple Watch to the Mio Alpha, a very accurate chest strap monitor, and shows that the Apple Watch closely matches the Mio Alpha’s hearth monitoring data.
Accuracy of health monitoring is crucial, but now factor in the costs. An Apple Watch costs $349 and up while a Mio Alpha monitor costs $169 while the Polar H7 heart rate sensor costs $79.95. Now consider that the Apple Watch does more than just health monitoring in the same way that a PC is more than just a fancier adding machine, and you can see that dedicated health monitoring devices may be cheaper, but are far less versatile. There’s a reason why iPod sales keep dropping because nobody needs a separate iPod when they have an iPod built-in to an iPhone or iPad.
With an Apple Watch being just as accurate as dedicated health monitors but more versatile, it’s easy to see the future of dedicated health monitors in the same way it’s easy to see the future of personal digital assistants (PDAs) and portable MP3 digital players. They have no future. People will still buy them because that’s a product that they may want at a lower price, but most of the world has already passed dedicated devices by. The trend is towards versatility and that’s why the Apple Watch will define the wearable computer market and grow in sales to challenge the iPad and iPhone.
Health is something that everyone cares about, especially older people, so it’s likely sales of Apple Watches will continue growing to the elderly. Younger people may not care about their health as much as they may care about measuring their physical workout for maximum efficiency, so Apple Watches will appeal to physically active younger people as well.
Many people claim that they see no reason for the Apple Watch, but you could make that claim for any product. Why use a computer when a pencil and paper will work just as well? Why use a mobile phone when you can just use a pay phone instead? Why bother listening to an iPod when you can carry a portable radio around?
There’s no need for any product beyond food, water, and shelter. However, every product offers convenience and the ability to give people new opportunities that they didn’t have before. A computer is more versatile than pencil and paper because you can turn it into a word processor or video game console just by running different programs. A mobile phone is more convenient than a payphone because you can make and receive calls on the go, and use your mobile phone as a portable computer to get directions as well. An iPod is more appealing because you can cram it full of only audio tracks you want to hear rather than be at the whims of a radio station that may have poor reception in your area.
The Apple Watch will only continue growing in sales fueled largely by health and fitness concerns. For people monitoring their health, the Apple Watch is more versatile than dedicated health monitors. For people measuring their physical performance, the Apple Watch will be far more convenient to use on a daily basis. Perhaps athletes could use the Apple Watch to measure their performance during actual games so coaches could determine the player’s optimum performance and detect early signs of fatigue.
The accuracy of the Apple Watch’s health monitoring features is crucial, and has proven to be comparable to the best health monitors on the market. Now that that question is settled, it’s only a matter of time before the Apple Watch takes over the wearable computer market from now on.