In 2019, the Apple Watch outsold all quartz and mechanical watches combined. Even as Coronageddon whacks the Asian market – accounting for 50 percent of all Swiss watch exports – Apple’s eating their breakfast, lunch and dinner. And improving the product. While the global pandemic will delay the Apple Watch 6’s debut, the smartwatch is sure to continue eroding Geneva’s mid-market market share . . .
9to5 mac.com got the drop on the new features Cupertino’s adding to their Apple Watch 6. Some of these involve software upgrades that will enable the new apps for old watches.
Apple Watch 6 – Shared photo faces
Smart frames like Nixplay’s are a big business – especially for grandparents who want to stay in touch with their progeny. Apple’s tapping into that market – Apple Watch 6 owners will be able to share their photo-based faces with other Apple Watches.
Even though the Apple Watch screens aren’t huge, even ye olde Series 4 is big enough to make an electronic slide show worthwhile. Never underestimate the power of seeing a familiar face. So to speak.
Apple Watch 6 – Sleep Tracking
Sleep tracking is of dubious medical value. Nevertheless, it was the watch app of the year 2019, thanks in part to FitBit and a number of Swiss hybrids (e.g., the Alpina Alpinerx Space Edition). Sleep tracking gave the Swiss also-rans a small but much needed advantage.
Sleep tracking was rumored for the Series 5, but didn’t make the cut. The watches’ relatively short battery life necessitated an overnight recharge, making a sleep app problematic. Enter the Series 6.
New battery management software will create a “sleep mode” that uses less juice. Which is all well and dandy if the user goes to sleep with a fully charged watch. To make that happen, the watch will remind users to charge their watch before bed time. Kludgy but killer.
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner
The chart above [via voguebusiness.com] shows Swiss mechanical watches holding steady while “electronic” watches (i.e., quartz) tank. A 2020 version would show a Swiss watch drop-off as precipitous as a cliff face (or the current stock market).
Apple is taking a coronahit on both the sales and production side. But the Apple Watch’s relative dominance over traditional watches won’t diminish. In fact, their dedication to fast and constant Apple Watch upgrades will widen the gap.
Traditional Swiss [and Japanese] watches are not-so-slowly becoming a niche market – at the very time when half of their export market took a powder. Still, small is beautiful, right?