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Pay clears the way to mass adoption for Apple Watch

Wearable technology has been the ‘next big thing’ for a little while now but has yet to really become a standard in consumer life outside the fitness market. In fact our Consumer Connections System data shows that adoption is only at 3% and heavily skewed to the London area.

However, all that could be about to change. Last night, Apple revealed the much anticipated iPhone 6 and the item that everyone had been waiting for – the Apple Watch.

A tale of two models
In a move designed to compete with the other larger smartphones in the market, the company revealed a larger version of the handset with a 5.5” screen (iPhone 6 Plus), together with a standard iPhone 6 – which comes slightly larger than the current iPhone 5 at 4.7”.

With two models entering the market now, tech aficionados will be keeping a watchful eye on which becomes most popular with consumers. With technology moving at such fast pace, and with handsets becoming smarter and smarter, it’ll come to no surprise if the iPhone 6 Plus turns out to be very popular with film, gaming and other visual media enthusiasts who will opt for a better experience thanks to the larger Retina HD display. Also, if the Apple Watch is there to sync with your phone and allowing you to do pretty much everything from your wrists, is the frustration of handling a rather larger handset going to become a less daunting barrier? I’d guess so.

Watch out as Apple enters the Wearable arena
Although the technology giant has taken its time to release a wearable gadget, they did it in style and took the time to create a solid strategy behind its launch. By always keeping a style conscious audience in mind by launching with three different styles and in two different sizes, the Apple Watch will have restore faith in the company’s ability to put consumers first.

Initially, the interface may leave many feeling uncertain but the range of features and functionalities help its popularity with those looking for something that will make their lives more convenient.

Predictably, a lot of emphasis was placed on the fitness category with Watch featuring a series of in-built sensors and heart-trackers, supported with a host of different fitness apps to ‘help people lead a healthier lifestyle’. With Watch offering a new development platform, the release of new apps and innovative smart objects will tap into a new set of smart data and behaviours.

With any tech launch of this size and scale there is always a gimmick or two thrown into the mix and ‘Digital Touch’ seems to fit the bill. This new visual language means that Watch owners will be able to express themselves with through the device. In such a fast moving digital age, where ephemeral connections and short-lived messages are the norm, this new language could be adopted by a younger generation.

Pay as you go
While the adoption of existing smart watches has been slow to date, Apple unveiled a potentially game changing product to coincide with it – a completely new payment ecosystem, Apple Pay.

While digital payment systems like PayPal and Google Wallet are already established in the public’s consciousness, the introduction of NFC in Apple’s handsets and embedded technology within the Apple Watch should make payments on the go easy and safe as standard. In a game changing and disruptive move, Apple Pay will launch with a series of partners like US retailer TARGET.

It means consumers will be able to use their Apple Pay credentials to pay for purchases online or through their mobile apps. On top of this, Pay also taps into the existing 800 million iTunes accounts, so it shouldn’t take long for Apple Pay to reach critical mass and potentially become a favourite method of payment across different marketplaces.

Love them or hate them, Apple’s products have become ubiquitous in modern life and so often it is the tech giants products that engage consumers and get them enthusiastic about a new product category. As a result, the launch of Watch and the integration of Pay into its functionality is only likely to bring wearable technology into the consciousness of consumers everywhere and really drive adoption of this new category.

Enzo Annunziata, Innovation Director, Vizeum UK