Today is the day tech enthusiasts have been waiting for. Apple unveiled its iPhone 6—and its “mystery device,” the Apple Watch. (Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until 2015 to actually buy an Apple Watch.)
Leaks and rumors have abounded over what the Apple Watch will do and look like. The New York Times reported last week that the wristband will take wearable fitness devices to a whole new level and combine it with a bunch of other types of functionality. The Times reported:
The iWatch is expected to come in two sizes and combine functions like health and fitness monitoring with mobile computing tasks like displaying maps. It will have a flexible screen and, like the new phones, will support technology that allows people to pay for things wirelessly.
But along with changing the fitness tracker industry, the Apple Watch could disrupt the business world as well. Here are five industries likely to be revolutionized by the Apple Watch's release:
1. Health care. The Apple Watch will sync up with Apple’s new HealthKit and potentially allow for the tracking of heart rate, blood pressure, hydration and blood sugar monitoring. It could conceivably be used as a remote health-monitoring device that helps doctors and nurses keep tabs on their patients. Someone at high risk of a heart attack, for example, could automatically send reports to his or her doctor with daily Apple Watch heart rate readings. (Forbes reports that Mayo Clinic staff was expected be on site for the Apple Watch unveiling.)
2. Fitness and athletics. Move over, Fitbit. The Apple Watch is expected to take step counting and sleep monitoring to a whole new level. The wristband may allow people to measure how much sunlight they’re getting, their weight, hydration and even sweat. Some have speculated that pro athletes like Kobe Bryant could use the Apple Watch to improve their performance.
3. Payments. Apple announced a new mobile-based payment system that will allow the Apple Watch to connect to a retailer’s point of sale system and approve a payment by simply tapping on their wristband. Since Apple already stores so many credit and debit card numbers via its iTunes service, analysts say it’s well positioned to make mobile payments huge. Reports TechCrunch:
With a simple tap or voice command, you could complete the payment without ever entering a password or even taking your phone out of your pocket. Simple, speedy and safe, this could open mobile payments to the mainstream with Apple at the core.
4. Fashion. The Apple Watch’s screen is made from sapphire. It will also likely make watches fashionable again and give fashion designers something to build off of. Apple is relying on the fashion industry and fashion media to give the Apple Watch unprecedented buzz and even hired former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as its new retail chief.
5. Watches. Perhaps most obviously, the Apple Watch will disrupt the current watch industry, led by companies like Fossil that might team up with other tech giants. It could make a $5 billion dent in the traditional wristwatch industry. “Switzerland is screwed,” Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of design, reportedly said after seeing the Apple Watch for the first time.
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