Apple is floundering, behind the times OR

Is the ‘think different’ maestro about to leap forward again with Wearables?

The first in a series of articles about how Technology is shaping up in terms of Health, Fitness, Medical and wearable devices that exploit the ability for a Smartphone or Tablet to be your portable control centre. Forget fighting over the TV remote, its a ‘has-been’ and before long it will be a museum exhibit.  

Here we are introducing the background to the changes and trends taking place and subsequently you will see updates on specific products and services to help you get the best out of each day, whether for your personal health and fitness plan, to help make managing family life easier or to help you to leverage the best ways to move seamlessly between your work and home systems.

Recent rumours suggest that Nike is pulling out and ‘redeploying’ its Fuelband Team and guess who sits on the Nike Board, YES Tim Cook, the Apple CEO. Apple seems to have been floundering for a while with its innovation strategy, but just when you used to think that, was when Steve Jobs and Team used to pull the White Rabbit out of the hat? But with a different leader can it happen again? The iWatch, the iBand, acquisition of Beats (see Economist article), since when did Apple buy anyone for their brand? Much is rumored but what is happening behind the scenes?

So if you have an iPhone you might want to watch and wait, a little more before you leap into Wearables to help boost your fitness campaign. History has shown that whilst Apple may not always be the first into a market, it tends to be worth wait. But times are changing and Apple needs to hurry-up from the consumers perspective.

Apple is hiring big-time (you can see the scale of those efforts in the Article on Apple Insider  and with the number of sensors in any Smartphone you can be sure it will still feature in how to ‘quantify oneself’, so to speak. We will be posting as products and services emerge and giving you a heads-up on what is already out there, so watch out for the news to follow in the coming weeks. If you are an Android or Windows User we will be covering those platforms as well.

For the time being Apple (with major Talent Hire acquisitions and Brands such as Beats) and with its undoubted hitherto leadership in the  the history of integration can probably afford to wait a while and do it well. In fact it has already waited too long, to not do it really well and arguably must now get it right. A track record is  a great thing but Apple needs to make its strategy clearer to consumers at some point. Even Apple users loyalty has a certain shelf-life.

Apple created a successful eco-system for its operating software known as IOS with first iTunes and then the App Store and for a while as it added the innovative iPads it maintained its lead but that is no longer the case. API’s (Application Programming interfaces) that enable different pieces of electronic equipment to talk and integrate mean that the lock-in of the proprietary operating system is not the market barrier it once was. Other Tablet Manufacturers are carving out niches and Google and the Android Market are not only close on its heal but ahead of the game in some areas and most notably in the important area of established API’s.

With the advent of the Internet of Things (IOT) and Apple’s relatively poor participation in cloud services. we will see a steady stream of devices come into the market that connect with and send data to your devices, Smartphone, Tablet or Laptop, anytime or anywhere and largely irrespective of the platform.

Many software developers are now writing Apps which from launch work cross platform to give them reach into a wider market and any manufacturer of devices is looking for standards that give it some flexibility and a balancing of margins. Apple takes 30% of Revenue from its developers that sell in its online store currently. with others investing in the R&D required to launch these products and services those companies are going to need a decent share of the profits and will resent the hefty share that Apple and Google currently grab as Market Makers.

Imagine a world where with a Smartphone compatible Blood Pressure device, digital blood test sensors to monitor your blood sugars, a fitness centre that records, tracks analyses and reports back to you on any device you like, sensors in your shoes that help you maintain good posture, and you can manage the expensive utilities like heat and light direct from your home environmental controls. Your Smartphone that can tell you and doesn’t need to ask if you had a restful night and tells you what your kids are doing and where they are… Integration is key and so will be ease of management or we will all be drowning in data about ourselves.

A Utopian or Orwellian picture, you can decide. But all of this is possible and happening now. So at home work and in your leisure time how will you manage it all?

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