In 2015, Apple entered the wearables arena with Apple Watch. The product kicked off Apple's attempt to take wrist real estate. The wrist has proven to be incredibly useful given its field of view for displaying information at a glance as well as the ability to promote certain health monitoring functions. While Apple Watch goes up against traditional mechanical watches, the competition stops being much wider. Finally, Apple Watch competes for a place on the wrists. One of Watch's strongest competitors is non-consumption or empty wrists.
A similar dynamic now unfolds with AirPods. The unit is Apple's attempt to capture ear-rigged property. Competitors for this property include both wired headphones, such as EarPods, and non-consumption in the form of empty ears. Although AirPods can be easy on features today, having millions of users today is increasing the likelihood of subsequent AirPods versions seeing strong adoption.
The fight for our eyes is on the horizon, not quite ready for prime time. A pair of smart glasses are most likely to be Apple's next major product category.
The key to seizing real estate on our wrists, in the ears and in front of your eyes, is selling tools that people want to wear and watch. A product's design, defined as how we use the product, is crucial in this regard. With Apple Watch, interchangeable bands have played a crucial role in running Watch adoption. AirPod's elegant charging case has come to define the product's experience.
Instead of positioning technology as a barometer of wearables success, the cross between technology and fashion will determine which products people will wear all day. Apple Watch's lesson, and now AirPods, will give Apple an advantage in developing a pair of lightweight and discreet glasses.
Unlike Amazon and Google, who desperately try to place voice as a way to skip the current smartphone / tablet paradigm, Apple approaches things differently. Instead of betting on a voice interface that pushes some information to a desktop monitor, Apple is betting on mobile screens that are home to a digital assistant. Apple is committed to providing consumers with the knowledge found on the touchscreens to turn into a future for larger AI and digital assistants. Apple Watch stops functioning as a bridge to the future. The most valuable mobile screens in our lives will increasingly be used on the body. In addition, Apple believes that screen manipulation via fingers, hands and eyes will remain a vital part of the computing experience for the foreseeable future.
AirPods plays a role in this vision by harnessing the sound on the go. Wired headphones are a threatened species as there is no room for wires in a wearables world. Although AirPod's viral character may decline over the coming months, especially as the adoption continues to expand, the biggest takeaway from the various AirPods memes, tweets and videos is that wearables continue to infiltrate society. We are witnessing the early stages of the wearables era.
Receive my analysis and perspective on Apple through the week through exclusive daily updates (2-3 stories per day, 1