SAN FRANCISCO – Apple's biggest moneymaker is iPhone, but analysts and the press can not help but wonder about the next big thing of a thousand dollar company. Is there a car? Perhaps a pair of smart computer glasses?
But Apple's future is already on the market, and it sells about 18 million units per year, according to estimates. You may already have one on your wrist. It's Apple Watch, the portable data processing device that the company first released in 2015.
Nowhere was this clearer this week at the company's annual iPhone launch event on its Apple Park campus. Yes, Apple revealed new iPhones. But it spent about an hour on the new Apple Watch, which received a much larger response from the 1
Apple Watch Series 4, as Apple calls the new models, represents the first new update to its industrial design since the device was first introduced in 2014. They are thinner, they have a larger screen and sports enhanced speakers and microphones. (For a starting price of $ 399, they are also a bit more expensive than previous models, it should be noted.)
They also come with lots of new watch faces, including moving images of fire and water filmed with a high-speed camera, together with some new look on the operating system. There are many major changes.
The new clock makes old Apple watches look lumpy and outdated. Basically, Apple Watch just had its coming party, clearly – a clear indication of where Apple's technical ambitions lie, as iPhone is facing declining returns, with each model just representing a step-by-step step over the previous ones.
It's really Apple Watch has hit a corner. It "will be a more marked tipping point in understanding and adoption of the product," Apple's chief designer Jony Ive told Washington Post.
Customer response seems to be strong. On Friday, the first day you could pre-order the new devices, Apple Watch Pre-orders would release shipping dates in October, while more new iPhone XS models were available to ship on launch day or shortly thereafter.
Yes, the smartwatch market is still much smaller than that for smartphones. According to IDC a market research company will send 46 million smartwatches this year, a slight fraction of the 1.5 billion smartphones that will find their way to the buyers' hands.
But that's not how Apple looks at Apple Watch.
Apple watch goes for users who never needed one before
On Wednesday, the new Apple Watch features and designs were revealed by Apple COO Jeff Williams, often described as CEO Tim Cook's right hand .
Unlike some of Apple's other presenters, he is not an engineer or marketer – he is an operating player, a businessman who specializes in ensuring that millions of complicated computers are manufactured and shipped so that they are in store on time.
He is also responsible for Apple's growing health department. And Wednesday's presentation was about how Apple Watch can help a user to live a more healthy life.
But the device's new features are not just about helping you track a workout, or reminding you to take a second to breathe deeply, like current models. Apple goes one step further, actually detects when something is wrong before you even know it.
For example, Apple Watch now has fall alert. Many older elderly wear bracelets that can call 911 or a loved one when they take a bad harvest and can not get up, like those announced by Life Alert. Now Apple Watch can do it too.
It's important to see if older people will embrace iPhone, which is still needed to use Apple Watch, or whether they will love the idea of charging an Apple Watch regularly, as they do not need to do with dedicated monitoring devices. But now it's a reason for older people to get an Apple Watch that's not related to training or to get notifications from iPhone apps – features that younger users can love, but it can alienate an older, less technically knowledgeable generation.
The second new feature is a built-in ECG reader, or the gold standard that doctors relieve to detect heart problems. Apple is careful – probably because of regulatory pressure – to say that Apple Watch's new ECG scanner can only tell a user they may want to go to a doctor, not diagnose a problem, but it's still what most people need from a health -Gadget: An early warning system.
This means that Apple Watch is not really about the growing smartwatch room, but part of $ 3.3 trillion spent on healthcare annually, one of the few markets in the world that is still worth the notice of Apple and its vaunted $ 1 billion valuation.
Apple is facing a new marketing challenge
It's not to say that Apple Watch is not facing issues.
It was clear from Williams's ghost line on the stage: "People generally do not like medical things. This kind of makes you want to take an ECG," he said, referring to a new cardiac animation.
He is right: People will not think of death or illness.
As a venture capitalist who participated in the launch, Business Insider observed: Looking at Apple's Apple Watch ads, they have all the young people having fun. But if Apple Watch becomes material to Apple's massive bottom line, it will be used by many different demographics and groups, including those who can hurt the cool, opposite the image that Apple has spent millions of.
In addition, health is a highly highly regulated industry, which poses potential problems for a company that sometimes stems from the truth in its marketing. I'm not sure that the FDA likes when the health products are called "magic" and "best we've ever done" under much monitored keynotes.
Still, as far as Apple's technology regulations are concerned, it's clear that Apple Watch is where it happens. That's where Apple makes the best improvements in miniaturization, in materials, in new types of sensors, new types of experiences – and new types of customers.
Apple Watch represents Apple's future as a technology company.