In 2007, Apple reinvented the cell phone as we know it with its first smartphone, the iPhone. The name hit home with consumers, and the product did too – and to this day, the iPhone remains one of Apple’s best-selling iDevices of all time.
Recently, however, there has been what analysts such as Horace Dediu call a saturation of the US smartphone market, where major smartphone manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung face financial setbacks due to smartphone buyer growth.
As more and more world consumers purchase smartphones, consumer growth in this area will start to taper off. When saturation is reached, both companies (along with the remaining smartphone manufacturers) will need to find new venues to reach in order to grow their income and add to their large consumer bases.
Apple has had its share of Wall Street disappointment since September 2012, having lost some $300 a share on its stock price. Samsung seemed to be the invincible foe of the two until this week; now, Samsung joins the club, having made $8.3 billion in Q2 2013 while falling short of an expected $8.9 billion.
What is there to do when saturation has been reached? If smartphone manufacturers are to learn anything from Star Trek, it is that, when the Earth has been reached, “explore new worlds.” Apple could well be on its way to heeding the words of Star Trek.
According to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, Apple is currently working on an iWatch that will run iOS, similar to the iPhone and iPad. While Apple has not announced the new iGadget, there is some information regarding the upcoming iWatch:
• There are 100+ designers working on the iWatch, including some software producers behind the iPad and iPhone.
• The watch is to be made available as soon as December 2013 and could come with calling and maps capabilities, as well as pedometers for health monitoring (Bloomberg).
• Apple has chosen Foxconn to manufacture the iWatch, which will feature a 1.5-inch OLED display. Apple’s break with its LCD screen tradition pertains to battery life and sleek design.
• Apple could team up with Corning, the company that makes its LCD displays, to manufacture the new flexible displays.
In more recent news, Apple has applied for the “iWatch” name trademark in the countries of Russia, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, and Turkey, and the company’s most recent patents have been in the areas of sensor tracking (health monitoring, environmental conditions, package tracking, etc.) and a “wearable video device” with a flexible display. Earlier this Spring, Apple also received approval for its Electronic Device With Wrap Around Display patent, another sign that the company is interested in displays beyond the current product line.
When can you expect the iWatch? While some suggest it could come as early as this year, others suggest that the iWatch will not be available until 2014 at the earliest. At any rate, we here at Apple Balla will continue to watch out for breaking news on what could become Apple’s next frontier.