Some Apple Watch app early movers driven by PR more than strategy

Brands that are moving quickly with Apple Watch apps are hoping to realise PR benefits says Telsyte Foad Fadaghi

Many of the Australian brands that are rushing Apple Watch apps to market may be most interested the PR benefits of having an offering for the new Apple device ahead of its launch later this month, according to Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi.

According to Telsyte’s Australian Smartphone & Wearable Devices Market Study 2015, released earlier this year, 370,000 smartwatches were sold in the country in 2014.

The analyst firm is predicting the market to grow by at least half in 2015 thanks to the Apple Watch.

Big name brands to have unveiled apps include Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Woolworths and St. George Bank are also working on apps for Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch is due to launch in Australia on 24 April.

“We believe that around 300,000 Apple Watch units will be available in the first batch in Australia and only one in four users will have a smartwatch in the next three years,” said Fadaghi.

He noted that the cost of the Apple Watch is quite high, almost as much as a mid-range smartphone.

The watch has a starting price of US$349.

“The developers of apps for this device are really doing it for the marketing benefit or the prestige that might come by having an app early on the Apple Watch,” he said.

“Many of the brands that are moving quickly [with apps] are doing so for the PR and marketing benefits.”

However he noted that some applications could definitely benefit from the “speed of interaction” offered by smartwatches. “They don’t tend to be around alerts but transactional activities,” he said.

For example, when transactions where seconds could matter, such purchasing shares or a gambling transaction, could potentially benefit from a smartwatch app.

“In the long term, the strategy for many developers will be about creating a better user experience for customers. All businesses will benefit from having a more immediate interaction with their customers,” he said.

In the future, most apps will have an extension that works on a smartwatch, said Fadaghi.

“We’re not going to see millions of users who use a smartphone using an Apple Watch. There won’t be enough supply in the market and a lot of people will wait for a second-generation device before they make an investment,” he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags applicationsApple watchtelsyte

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