Apple To Dominate Wearables Through 2016: Forrester

Forrester Research sees Apple's rumored iWatch as a boon for marketers.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

September 8, 2014

3 Min Read
(Image credit: Keoni Cabral via Flickr)

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Apple doesn't yet compete in the wearable computing market, but it's already expected to dominate it.

Forrester Research predicts that Apple will legitimize wearable devices and then come to dominate the market for them until 2016. Forrester's argument for Apple's ascension takes past performance -- Apple's takeover of the MP3 and smartphone markets in 2001 and 2007 respectively -- as an indicator of future results.

Though this is precisely what financial firms warn investors against in their disclaimers, Forrester's coronation of Apple as wearable king sounds plausible because no other claimants for the crown are more credible.

In a brief intended for chief marketing officers, "Prepare Now For Apple’s Giant Leap Into Wearables," Forrester researchers James L. McQuivey and J. P. Gownder note that while Google, Microsoft, and Samsung (among others) have launched or are planning to launch wearable devices, "Apple is the one digital platform provider with a proven track record of having the hardware smarts and the brand power to put new gadgets on our persons and have us happily pay a premium for them."

On Tuesday, Apple is expected preview its wearable, dubbed iWatch for lack of a confirmed name and due to ship next year, before favored journalists and bloggers. There will be an iPhone or two as well.

Forrester foresees Apple's iWatch offering health monitoring and authentication for mobile payments and other applications like event access, each in conjunction with partners. The firm anticipates that the wearable device will benefit from other proprietary technologies like iBeacon and Siri, as well as from the company's recent investment in Beats Electronics.

[Do you have high hopes for wearables? Read iWatch: Expected Star Of Apple's Show]

"Imagine if Apple can put sensors on your wrist and phone, yet communicate to you with a whisper directly to the Beats headphones you wear proudly; suddenly, Siri can interact with you in ways that give you a Google Glass-like experience without forcing you to look like a Glasshole," the report says.

Apple's projected leadership, in other words, is seen through the lens of the public's skepticism about Google Glass. It's also seen through the lens of marketers -- the target audience for Forrester's report.

"As millions of these iWatches find their way onto people’s wrists by year-end 2016, this category will become a crucial battleground for companies hoping to deepen their digital relationships with customers," the report says, adding that Google and Amazon are likely to follow close behind Apple.

Indeed, if the iWatch as reported includes NFC mobile payment technology and iBeacon support for customer tracking and outreach, marketers may start calling Apple's wristband the "buyWatch."

Whether Apple customers want a way to spend money more easily, to receive notifications from marketers, and to submit to commercial tracking is less of a sure bet.

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About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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