‘Watch’ Out: Apple’s New Products are Poised to Impact the Mobile Customer Experience
Picture if you will a dozen of our awesome clients at a lunch in Chicago on September 9th. Now picture Apple’s worldwide product launch that same day in California. What do they have in common? Time. We gathered some of the best Chicago mobile minds for lunch during the exact time of the product launch and watched the announcements together. We ate, we guessed at what Apple would release, we discussed mobile’s future, we laughed, we cried (a little, until they finally unveiled the Apple Watch).
But for us, the mobile faithful, the ones that believe in mobile’s ability to transform companies and customer experiences by fundamentally re-defining the world we live in, Apple’s announcements were just that: another in a long line of amazing mobile enhancements in a boundary-pushing re-imagining of the world we live in and life in general. Like Her, we can literally manufacture a future of impressive connectivity. But let’s keep our eye on the ball: great customer experiences still reign supreme.
The ForeSee Mobile Team frequently has spirited discussions (er, debates) about mobile and wearable devices and the roles these devices play in the customer journey, and in lieu of Apple’s recent new product announcements, we felt it would be appropriate to take our thoughts to the blog. Herein, we illuminate what we think of it all.
- The two new models of iPhone, the 6 and the 6 Plus, are thinner, faster with larger screens (the 6 Plus being Apple’s big entry in to the “phablet” market)
- Apple Watch allows you to keep your iPhone in your purse/pocket and handle a variety of tasks (caller ID, call volume, Siri, notifications, etc.) in lieu of you taking your phone out of your purse/pocket
- Apple Pay allows you to use your watch or iPhone to pay for physical goods in stores
Apple Watch and Apple Pay are not revolutionary – both the wearables and mobile wallet spaces have existed for some time. What matters is the reality of history. The is no better technology company out there that takes what currently exists and makes it into an even better experience for the consumer. Apple Watch’s launch is preceded by other esteemed launches like iPod, iPhone and iPad. Apple didn’t create any of those product categories (MP3 players, smartphones and tablets), but their entrance into these respective spaces created a seismic shift in the landscape and their products crushed competitors in most if not all of these categories.
From the ForeSee perspective, because the customer is in control and because consumers demand excellence in their technology products, Apple finds the unique attributes of the consumer mindset and delivers on their needs and wants. Apple has a loyal following of tech savvy early adopters, so expect to see a sharp rise in the reality of these devices.
What the Apple Announcements Mean to ForeSee
Awesome things! We love measuring new things! From our original scientific web measurement that created our company, to mobile and tablet customer experience analytics, to contact center and in-location analytics, we are the leader in multichannel customer experience analytics because – like Apple – our technology continues to evolve. Our goal is to help our clients understand how these new technologies will impact the customer experience so they can understand where they need to adapt.
Apple Watch: Our Review
Apple Watch, not iWatch. Or is it just Watch? First thing’s first – the Apple Watch (retails for $349 and up) is an extension of the mobile experience. Here’s what we know regarding Apple Watch capabilities at launch (launch is Q1 2015 – what a Holiday season miss!).
- It tells time. It’s a watch after all. Although lots of us have been using our phones to check the time for years – and we don’t see the Apple Watch changing this.
- It alerts you when you have a call and allows you change call volume, end the call, mute the call, etc. – so if you want to control your iPhone from your wrist, the Apple Watch is probably for you.
- Yes, that’s right. You need to own an iPhone (5 and newer) to use the Watch’s independent and dependent apps.
- Notifications (Facebook, Twitter, Calendar Invites, etc.) will now come to your Watch as well as your phone
- Siri is on the Watch – you can ask for movie times, directions, etc.
- You can use the Watch to create and send content – messages, tweets, drawings, etc.
iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus: Our Review
The big news here is taller and thinner – the handset form factor has changed significantly. The iPhone 6 is thinner and beveled (less boxy then it’s predecessors) and has a larger screen size. There is a lot happening under the hood as far as faster processors and iOS8, but the key here is that the iPhone 6 (starting at $199) is 4.7 inches across and the iPhone 6 Plus (starting at $299) is 5.5 inches (as a point of comparison, the iPad mini is 7.9 inches). We are psyched that Apple has a Phablet and it looks iPHABULOUS!
The larger screen brings the user closer to the iPad form factor and may potentially impact customer conversion on mobile in a positive way. Recent Forrester studies places average US Tablet conversion at 1.5%, while Smartphone’s is a paltry 0.6%. Could greater screen real estate be a key driver to greater conversion? Is bigger better? For mobile ecommerce, we are starting to see that the larger the screen the higher the conversion. Will iPhone 6 Plus follow suit?
Apple Pay: Our Review
It’s about time! Beyond being 10 years behind Japan, kudos to Apple for taking their first swipe at non-iTunes-based mobile payments. This technology is not revolutionary or evolutionary; it extends Apple’s ecosystem into your purse or pocket. Of the big three Apple announcements, Apple Pay is poised to bear the most significant fruit long-term for Apple’s revenue orchard. We think the analysts got it wrong. We think the fees generated from the Apple Pay mobile wallet transactions will prove to be more of a disintermediator of VISA and MasterCard and other payment processors, and in a few years can and likely will account for a staggering percentage of Apple’s financial picture. We believe this is why Apple Pay exists – because it is good for Apple, the company, and less because Apple’s consumers will seek it out as a payment destination. That said, consumers will gravitate towards it because of the ease, convenience and number of merchants who accept it. There has been an incredible amount of investment in this category already from the (formerly unfortunately named) industry consortium Softcard to phenomenally cool upstarts like Coin. You cannot underestimate the influence of Apple Pay in creating and destroying companies and offerings. NFC is in; everything else is not. The digital wallet space is a heated battle that just got hotter – Google, PayPal, Softcard, Square and others like Visa and Mastercard may be shuddering at these Apple announcements.
What do you think? Are you bullish on these Apple products? Are you going to buy one, or all, of them? Do you agree about Apple Pay’s transformative power, or do you think we’re overthinking it? Let us know here in the comments.