Mobile Fix: iPhone 6, Apple Watch and Motorola’s Hint

Mobile Fix: iPhone 6, Apple Watch and Motorola’s Hint

Following Apple’s new product announcements, Simon Andrews, founder of addictive!, gives us his analysis of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch – and shares some intriguing product news from Motorola.

The huge hype of the Apple launch reminds us just how far mobile has come in the last few years. TV news coverage and stories in every newspaper; celebs, fashion journalists and Rupert Murdoch at the event.

Apple isn’t just a tech company any longer. It is a lifestyle. A hybrid of fashion, content, devices, services and U2. The myCube from that Simpsons episode never felt more insightful;

Assistant: “I see you’re admiring our myCube. It’s fuelled by dreams and powered by imagination.”

Homer: “What does it do?”

“You should ask yourself ‘what can I do for it?'”

The new iPhones are pretty much as the leaks suggested – and whilst Android fanboys make the point the spec is virtually the same as the two year old Nexus 4 – we think they will sell really well. Ben Evans has a good take on how the product and pricing hits Android – and particularly Samsung – hard.

It’s likely that the imminent Nexus 6 from Google (and Motorola) will be a more innovative device, but that’s unlikely to dent iPhone sales.

The Apple Watch also lived up to most of the hype but has divided opinion – especially given the price point. It’s telling that no-one seems to be talking about battery life.

Our take is that people won’t replace their current watch with it. If you still wear a watch, it’s probably as much a piece of jewellery as it is a timepiece. Will people want to wear something that’s the same as everyone else’s?

But some people have more than one watch and we can see the Apple Watch being added to that repertoire – particularly for sports.

For those people who have stopped wearing a watch as their phone tells the time, this could be good enough to tempt them back. Once people can actually try the watch we’ll have a better idea – one horology expert does rave about the level of finish and the detail. Given he wears a $40k vintage Omega it’s a pretty positive viewpoint.

So one thing we should expect is lots of ways to customise the watch, with more straps and more apps offering unique dials. Just like Swatch did in the 80s, partnerships with fashion and art brands will keep the device fresh. Remember the Japanese phone market has lots of partnerships with fashion brands like Marrimekko and Pucci. Expect a Kanye West watch-face as part of his next album promotion.

But the big problem with the watch is that it’s not a wearable. It is actually – like most of this sector – a peripheral.

Wear an Apple Watch without having your iPhone in your pocket and we suspect it’s pretty useless. Like the Nike Fuelband we gave up on as they didn’t have an Android app.

And if you have the iPhone in your pocket, the question is what does the watch do that is that useful? But we can expect lots of app developers to focus on this issue. And as someone on Twitter said: Does Google put Google Now on this device or keep it back for Android?

Pay is a big deal and Apple has revived the NFC market. The only issue is how they persuade retailers to invest in the in-store devices, but that should just be a matter of time. A big surprise is the fact Apple doesn’t know what you buy – which erodes a potential advantage for their ad sales.

Overall, Tuesday’s announcements support the view that all Apple really want is to keep selling premium price devices. And they are building anchors to keep people in the iPhone franchise; the wallet, health kit, home kit etc. And as the U2 music spam showed, they will use content as an anchor too. Will they buy Netflix next?

Another interesting peripheral

Motorola has some interesting product around. The Hint is really intriguing – an in-ear headset that you can talk to and control your phone. Bluetooth headsets suffer from the Ken syndrome – most people who wear them aren’t very nice. Maybe this can revive the sector.

The Fire phone

The Amazon fire is finally coming to the UK – on an exclusive with O2. It’s hard to see many people choosing this over a new iPhone. But the pricing is very aggressive – and in the US the price has dropped to 99 cents. So whilst the strategic logic of Amazon having their own phone remains, getting significant distribution is proving a problem.

We are still convinced that Amazon will make the Fireflly technology available on other devices. This is the most interesting feature of the phone and makes everything identifiable and hence buyable.

What’s the point of restricting it to the few people with a Fire phone, when you could add it to the Amazon app on millions of peoples iPhones and Androids? In time for Christmas.

Video and Facebook

It looks like the Ice Bucket Challenge is over. As well as a great case study for fund-raising and social it’s also possibly the first mass participation video meme. Most previous memes on social have been about sharing rather than making content – remember the old 1/9/90 rule where 1% create content, 9% share it and 90% just view? Whilst the % of sharing has been growing, the % creating hasn’t.

But this showed that people now can and will create and share video. And even more interestingly a huge proportion of this video lives on Facebook, rather than just being on YouTube. Facebook had 17m Ice Bucket videos shared and seen by 440m people in total.

Facebook has been conscious of how big video is for it, but only now is it showing view counts. The baked-in ability to share on Facebook is a big advantage over YouTube. A new Beyonce video got 2.4m views on Facebook in the first four hours after release – against just a few thousand on YouTube (although that did build to 1.4m)

This NYT piece looks at how Facebook video has grown but also looks at how media brands are using social to drive views.

Now, by no means is YouTube over; the rise of Facebook just shows how important video now is. Smart brands will have a video strategy that encompasses YouTube and Facebook and all the other opportunities.

Facebook is being quick to push the use of video to its customers.

This is an edited and abridged version of Mobile Fix – click here to read the full article on Addictive!’s website

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