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Apple Watch: Good For Fitness, Good For Sales?

Apple Watch: Good For Fitness, Good For Sales?

May 4, 2015

Gareth Beavis, TechRadar:

(I’m not going to debate whether this Watch is better than the Android Wear brigade, because it’s pointless. You’ll either have an iPhone or Google-powered phone, and you’re not going to buy your next smartphone based on which smartwatch is better).

It’s not often that the parenthetical aside is the most interesting part of an article.

In this case, Beavis’ main argument — like Gregory Ferenstein’s — is that Apple Watch is not built to be a serious fitness enthusiast’s workout tracker. Instead, it’s better welcomed by fitness advocates who want to see the general public ushered into a healthier, more active lifestyle. Apple Watch should do that to a far greater degree than any fitness wearable that’s come before.

And it will achieve this, in no small part, by expanding the iPhone user base in exactly the manner Beavis says won’t happen.

While Apple Watch’s early adoption will undoubtedly skew towards those who already own iPhone, its longer-term impact — as both Apple and I expect it to be, at least — is for the wearable to attract first-time smartphone owners, Android users, and Windows Phone have-nots to iPhone and the Apple ecosystem. If you’re not a dedicated fan of any brand and feel generally ambivalent about your current platform of choice, there’s a decent chance that superior accessory support (if we’re limiting the categorization of Apple Watch to mere accessory) will tip the scales in Cupertino’s favor. The native compatibility iPhone enjoys with iPad and Mac (and vice versa each way — I bought my first iPhone because I was so impressed with the first iPad) is already compelling. Apple Watch simply expands upon that model.

And don’t undersell the allure of “new” or “different” when it comes to moving hardware. Heck, if I wasn’t married to Procreate, I might have jumped the iOS ship a couple years ago when the company’s mobiles were getting a bit long in the tooth. But even then, even if I were happy with an alternative system, I’d probably have been planning my way back to the walled garden since last September’s Apple Watch reveal. Because I want a smartwatch, not a feature watch.

To me, Beavis’ idea about the limited pool of customers for Apple Watch denies the rationale behind the wearable’s existence altogether: Apple Watch is built to boost iPhone sales and retention numbers.

And more to Beavis’ area of exercise expertise, it should also boost gym memberships.

Of course, I can understand why that might make some fitness fanatics a little bit upset. I always hated my gym in January. Hopefully, the flood of new members won’t make your club enforce its silly 30-minute treadmill rule.

[Image via Punchkick Interactive]