By David Dorf on Feb 13, 2013
Apple has had a profound impact on the retail industry with its amazing stores, mobile POS, and devices that allow people to shop on-the-go. So it makes sense to monitor the boys in Cupertino so we don't get blindsided. This week two big rumors were revealed that might give us some hints of what's to come. First, Bloomberg is reporting Apple has a team working on a smart-watch, a wearable device that has some of the iPhone's features. I find it hard to believe they can pack enough battery into a wristwatch for it to be anything iPhone-like, but perhaps its just a conduit for alerts from a bluetooth connected iPhone.
This "iWatch" concept has me thinking about even faster payments at the POS. No need to whip out that phone, as perhaps the iWatch will transmit payment credentials. This could be the second step toward the wearable computer, the first being Google Glass. The future may bring real-time product previews and offers magically popping up in your field of vision. (BTW, our Retail Applied Research team has been working on iPad-based augmented reality for delivering contextual reports to store managers as they walk the aisles.)
The second rumor is that Apple is looking to buy a high-end television manufacturer. The potential for Apple to apply what it learned from the music industry could really change the way in which we consume TV. And of course, Apple would be well positioned to optimize Second Screen Commerce, allowing viewers to easily buy what they see. PayPal has teamed with Tivo to allow viewers to buy from ads, but a true Apple TV might just allow purchases from sitcoms. The Big Bang Theory meets QVC.
I just hope the iWatch isn't waterproof, because the shower is my only remaining refuge.