Phase 1: Apple Watch bound to iphone
Since its release, the Apple Watch requires an iphone to run. Applications that can be run without the phone are limited to telling the time, using Apple Pay, and recording fitness activity. Everything else requires an iphone: setting up the watch, running updates, installing apps, or receiving data.
Phase 2: More stand-alone possibilities
In the second phase, the Apple Watch will run watchOS 2. This OS update gives developers access to the Apple Watch’s hardware (WIFI/cellular, GPS, sensors, microphone, ...). They can write native apps that use the hardware. It’s obvious that this will result in the a lot more apps that can be run stand-alone - without requiring an iphone.
Phase 3: The stand-alone smartwatch
This “ultimate” phase will create an Apple Watch that is completely independent from the iphone. Now we are talking! A stand-alone Apple Watch will replace your smartphone whenever mobility is more important than “big-screen-comfort”. And this is finally the real use case for a smartwatch.
From limited use case to stand-alone product - the evolution of IoT devices
The path that the Apple Watch suggests is highly relevant for many other Internet of Things (IoT) devices. B2C and B2B OEMs looking to put a sensor and internet access into devices to make them part of the IoT world should “watch” and learn from Apple.
- Release the device as soon as possible - even if this requires to rely on “outside hardware” to get the product through the door.
- Go and conquer the market. Make it attractive for developers to participate while perfectioning the hardware.
- Bring more stand-alone capabilities to the device as soon as the hardware is ready. Simply upgrade the OS so users can keep their devices.
- Ultimately, break through with your stand-alone product. This is how the IoT can really add value for the user - by creating devices that are fully functional on their own.