Here is a list of some of the things that might happen if the Apple Watch and similar Android-compatible wearable devices start seeing strong sales.
- Some early reviewers are saying that their usage of their iPhone decreased when they started to use the Apple Watch. If this indeed is how Apple Watch users will behave, this will huge implications for digital marketing. Marketers will have to think of ways to appeal to consumers on their watches, which will have very different characteristics from smartphones.
- Not only does the Apple Watch not have a web browser, it also seems to lack any HTML rendering. Emails are rendered as text, which means that any emails that only include the HTML component are not going to show any content. This suggests that text and good copywriting is going to increase in importance whilst visuals are going to be less important. Another possibility is that we will see a lot of emoji even in the promotional material send by corporations. This is actually the preferred way that Japanese companies send email messages to their mobile subscribers so we have precedence here.
- This could reverse the strong and accelerating trend towards graphical and video content that we see on social networks. We might revert to simple text messages (with emoji). This really is like going back to the Japanese i-mode days.
- The Twitter client sucks if you are following a lot of people and you have them organised in lists. In fact, since scrolling through large lists is not as comfortable or as brisk as on a smartphone, it would be particularly unwieldy if you have a lot of follows. Twitter has a serious problem on their hands and they might bring back lists to the centre stage, or they might start heavily curating your timeline.
- This also has implications on how shopping sites might be structured. Shopping sites can no longer use large lists of merchandise to show their goods. I am not confident that current recommendation algorithms are good enough at filtering content for use on watches. Interestingly, the Apple Watch is not a plus for e-commerce retailers but could be a huge boon for brick-and-mortar stores which can use iBeacon-based location data to send customers exactly the right message at exactly the right time.
- Basically, you can’t scan through a lot of content like you can on a phone. The content has to be pre-filtered or curated.
- The Apple Watch, because it does not have a web browser, is absolutely Google-free. It’s surreal to say this after a decade of Internet domination by Google, but it’s true.
- Being browser-free is going to change the way content and merchandise is discovered. Since you can no longer use SEO tactics, you will have to resort to having your message proposed through a native advertisement or a social endorsement (a retweet or a like). That is, unless you have a brand or a cause so strong that people will have installed your app.
I foresee a lot of changes coming. Some are even quite disruptive to the current Internet juggernaughts.
Of course, this totally depends on the Apple Watch being a huge success, and on customers preferring to use the watch more than their smartphones if there is the option to do so. Whether this will be the case is still an open question, but I would like to end with the thought that if you have an Apple Watch, you are more likely to keep your iPhone in your bag or on the table, instead of your pocket. Having the Apple Watch on you at all times will definitely distance you from your iPhone.