So, yesterday the Apple Watch was finally revealed to the public. If a few months ago we saw just a design and a concept, now we have a real understanding of what it is all about, or at least version 1.0.
Social media was abuzz with remarks and criticism ranging from pure excitement to indifference. The debate was mostly around the potential of the market, not about the product. It’s clear that Apple has introduced a very cool watch. The real question is the overall potential – will we see millions of people wearing these devices?
I guess we will know more in December of 2015 when it’s time to summarize the year in technology. Personally, I am a big believer in the watch, and I think it will catch and become a ubiquitous device. And if that’s true, we can now start talking about a new platform with new opportunities.
Now, assuming this is true, what does it mean for entrepreneurs, and what does it mean for the entrepreneurs in Israel?
For the local entrepreneurs and startups, I think there are 4 key areas that could be highly relevant:
1. Gaming: Maybe not the most important, but any new platform is first and foremost a gaming platform. Most people think that the watch-based games will be around digital pet (along the lines of Tamagotchi). I think there is actually a great opportunity to build simple casino/luck games. Companies like Playtika or Lucky Fish (we are investors) can create simple versions of their slot machines for the watch where people can spin, and more. A lot more.
2. Content recommendations and alerts: Yesterday in the press conference, Apple showed a simple CNN alert with some breaking news. Publishers can definitely use the watch to push headlines. But what headlines? Companies like Outbrain (we are investors) can help publishers make the personalized watch even more personal not only around the data collection, but also around the type of content it pushes to you. Think “personalized wearable content”…
3. Security: One of the nicest demos showed yesterday was the hotel room key opener. Two Suitcases (one in each hand) and I can still open the door? Definitely a killer app. And not only that, I can also pay with the watch. It’s like a “digital extension” of my body. Of course all this creates opportunities for identity theft, fraud, and security breaches. I don’t have a great criminal imagination, and not sure I can say what bad things will happen, but a new platform also creates an opportunity for security companies.
4. Health: Probably the most important potential is around personal health. We at Carmel are not focusing on this area, but Israel has a very vibrant scene with many digital health startups. If the Apple watch catches on – and as I said above I believe it will – then these companies will have an even better ability to collect data and also present personalized health-related apps.
These are just four areas of potential impact. Of course, there are a lot more things that we will see as the market develops. I am personally excited about the Apple Watch and looking forward to own one.
And one final thought around the launch in Israel. Like always, we are not in the Tier 1 markets where the watch will be launched first. It’s understood. We are a small market with complicated localization. However, I think that this is has a negative impact on the local startups. Although it’s easy to bring one from the US, it would have been nice to have the Apple Watches in the market ASAP, helping local companies understand these devices as early as possible.
Tim Cook was in Israel last week talking about the importance of the Apple development center and the local startup scene. Launching the watch here early could have been a great push and show of support for our local entrepreneurs.
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