iWatch: Is It Worth It?

Breaking Down the Apple iWatch

It depends on how much the customer values its latest functionalities.

iWatch: Is It Worth It?

It’s been widely rumored that Apple will soon be releasing a connected watch with its own cellular functionality. That could become an additional incentive for potential customers. Current series of the Apple watch must be paired with its iPhone counterpart in order to make calls, access apps and data among other functionalities. Though Apple Watch Series 2 has built-in GPS that doesn’t require connectivity, it’s still reliant on an iPhone for calls and texts.

According to technology insiders, that’s about to change.

A Fully Connected Apple Watch

Susquehanna International Group analyst Christopher Rolland and others predict next-generation Apple watch’s to be standalone devices–like mini-wristwear phones. Via Barron’s, Rolland suggests the next model of the Apple watch will include a SIM card and LTE support. Tech specialist Jason Snell at Macworld also speculated that the watchOS–the coding behind Apple Watch–has been gearing toward autonomy, allowing the Apple watch to function more on its own; for instance, connecting to and accessing data over Wi-Fi networks without going through the iPhone. If the Apple watch is no longer a dependent device, would it result in more watch users? Snell thinks so.

“A cellular-enabled Apple Watch could pair with my Bluetooth headphones to play music and take calls, monitor my heart rate and chart my run, all without my iPhone flapping in the pocket of my jogging shorts,” said Snell. “I’d love that.”

It’s likely that the next wave of connected Apple watch’s, if rumors be true, would elongate the iPhone upgrade life cycle. Right now, Apple is releasing its new phones with major design innovations every two years, with that number still extending, thanks to increasing installment plans and a slowing smartphone market. Credible global market analysts such as IDC forecast that regular smartphones will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of just 1.1% over the next five years. On the other hand, the firm predicts that smartwatches will have “market-beating growth” during the same period–18.3% CAGR.

As Ramon Llamas at IDC explains, smartwatches once struggled due to its inability to accomplish a myriad of tasks. That trend is now shifting as more smartwatches are playing the role of multiple connected devices. Wearing a scratch resistant watch that can make calls and connect to the network, for instance, eliminates the need to carry a phone. Like the smartphone, the iWatch provides convenient features like instant notifications, apps, fitness tracker, and long battery life.

A cellular-enabled Apple watch would have the capacity to take over roles previously exclusive to the iPhone. Just as smartphones and tablets have lengthened the PC upgrade cycle, the future impact of the Apple watch to iPhone’s upgrade life cycle will likely follow a similar pattern– that is, the cycle will continue to prolong as next-generation Apple watch nears, as convenience, portability, and independence drive up the connected Apple watch demand.

Likely, a cellular-enabled iWatch will increase its worth as an independent smart device. Consumers will have to wait until later this year when Apple releases its next connected iWatch.