We are now almost one year on from the release of the Apple Watch, and it is time to take stock of how it has done. Matt Klinkhammer, an iOS Mobile Developer at Anexinet, wrote an early piece about the possibilities of the Apple Watch in the workplace last April (Apple Watch: Transforming Enterprise?). This week we asked him a few questions about how the past year has gone and what the future holds for wearable technology.
Matt, what are your interactions and expertise with the Apple Watch, and with iOS in general?
I’ve been developing iOS apps for about 4 years now, and WatchOS since it was released last year. I’ve developed iOS apps for top companies such as Hershey’s, Rodale, Exelon, Health Advocate, and Cigna. I purchased an Apple watch at launch last year and have worn it daily since. One of our internal apps, RoomNOW, has an extension for the watch that allows users to book open conference rooms instantly without even looking at their phone.
How do you believe the watch has performed against your expectations in its opening year?
Unfortunately, I feel the watch has underperformed compared to expectations. Far fewer watches have been sold than I expected, and that slow adoption has limited the number of opportunities available for developers to create apps that are transformative in their space.
More specifically, your original article was about the watch transforming enterprise work. Do you believe it has accomplished this, or, if not, that it still has the potential to?
It definitely has not up to this point. This potential definitely still exists though. Salesforce wear has expanded their support for a myriad of new wearables, but in order for building applications for these wearables to be worthwhile, adoption needs to be wider than what it is currently. Oftentimes, it is Apple that drives that adoption by making an otherwise obscure technology more widely known and easier to understand. For example, portable music players weren’t widely used until the original iPod was debuted. Smartphones didn’t reach massive adoption until the second and third iterations of the iPhone. To me, this means there is still plenty of time for wearable technology to reach critical mass and start transforming the way our workplace operates.
Going forward, do you believe that the Apple Watch will be the leader in wearable technology? Is it even the leader right now? If no to either of those questions, where and who is the challenger coming from?
As far as sales and number of apps are concerned, the Apple Watch is the clear leader, and will be for the foreseeable future. This is somewhat unfortunate because there are definitely other players in the space that are doing interesting and innovative things. The Samsung Gear S2 watches were particularly interesting due to the rotating bezel on the face. This seemed like an even easier way to scroll and move through menus when compared to the Digital Crown on the Apple Watch. However, the Tizen operating system was a major limiting factor when compared to WatchOS. There are far fewer apps available for Tizen than there are for iOS or Android, and Apple users almost always prefer the deep integration that Apple provides between their devices through features such as Handoff. The net result of these facts is that Apple will continue to be the market leader, even if portions of their design or technology lag behind their competition.
One prediction for wearable technology in the workplace in the next 365 days.
In the next year, I believe that we will start to see smartwatch implementations of common workplace applications that right now are distributed through Mobile Device Management. Think of things such as Secure Email, Secure Messaging/Chat, or Secure Notes. Right now there are some concerns with adding such apps to a smartwatch. I think we’ll start to see these concerns allayed and apps that bring secure email and secure messaging move from the mobile device to the wearable.
What are your thoughts on the performance of the Apple Watch? Comment below, we’re interested to hear from you!
Anexinet is a leading professional consulting and services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions around digital disruption, analytics (and big data), and hybrid and private cloud strategies. Anexinet brings insight into how technology will impact how business decisions will be made and how our clients interact with their customers in the future.
Matt Klinkhammer, iOS Developer, MKlinkhammer@anexinet.com
Steve Tranchida, Digital Leader, STranchida@anexinet.com
Chris Young, Strategy Leader, CYoung@anexinet.com