New Ap­ple Watch that makes calls turns comic book fan­tasy into re­al­ity

Business World - - TECHNOLOGY -

CU­PER­TINO, CAL­I­FOR­NIA — More than two years af­ter re­leas­ing the Ap­ple Watch, Ap­ple, Inc. has fi­nally been able to repli­cate 1940s comic strip technology, an ad­vance that an­a­lysts say will spur sales.

The Se­ries 3 of the Ap­ple Watch, re­leased on Sept. 13 along with the much-an­tic­i­pated iPhone X, features wire­less LTE con­nec­tiv­ity. That means cus­tomers will be able to make phone calls or send text mes­sages from the watch with­out need­ing to have an iPhone nearby, as they do with ear­lier mod­els.

The abil­ity to make calls with a wrist­watch has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of tech en­thu­si­asts at least since it was promi­nently fea­tured in “Dick Tracy,” the comic about a pri­vate de­tec­tive who, start­ing in 1946, used calls from his wrist to help bust bad guys.

To be sure, Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics Co. Ltd. has sold smart­watches with mo­bile data con­nec­tiv­ity since 2014, but the first de­vices were bulky and suf­fered from poor bat­tery life be­cause the data con­nec­tion con­sumed ex­tra power. They also re­quire a sep­a­rate phone num­ber.

Ap­ple claims its new Se­ries 3, on the other hand, will have up to 18 hours of bat­tery life and is just a frac­tion of a mil­lime­ter thicker than its pre­vi­ous Se­ries 2. And it will have the same phone num­ber as a cus­tomer’s iPhone, which is still re­quired.

An­a­lysts gen­er­ally be­lieve the new con­nec­tiv­ity could ig­nite sales, though there is lit­tle con­sen­sus as to how much.

At $399, the new Watch is only slightly more ex­pen­sive than the pre­vi­ous model, the $329 Se­ries 2, which in­tro­duced stand­alone GPS ca­pa­bil­ity. That $70 ex­tra buys much more use­ful ca­pa­bil­i­ties — in­clud­ing the abil­ity to stream mu­sic from Ap­ple Mu­sic.

“The third time is the charm for the watch,” said Bob O’Don­nell of Tech­anal­y­sis Re­search.

Ap­ple does not say how many Ap­ple Watches it sells. Bern­stein an­a­lyst Toni Sac­conaghi be­lieves Ap­ple will sell 12 mil­lion watches in its fis­cal 2017 and 14 mil­lion to 15 mil­lion in fis­cal 2018. Gene Mun­ster with Loup Ven­tures pre­dicted a much big­ger bump, to 26 mil­lion units in 2018.

Either way, Ap­ple is put­ting new pres­sure on smart­watch ri­vals like Fit­bit, Inc. and Garmin Ltd, which would be hard­pressed from a tech­ni­cal and busi­ness stand­point to match Ap­ple’s wire­less features. Garmin and Fit­bit did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment out­side nor­mal busi­ness hours.

The Watch will re­main a blip in Ap­ple’s sales, which were $215 bil­lion last year. But it may be tak­ing its place as part of a fam­ily of prod­ucts that Ap­ple loy­al­ists can­not do with­out — all by mak­ing a school­boy fan­tasy from the 1940s into re­al­ity for the masses. —

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.