Watch Out for the Apple Watch

Apple Watch

Yesterday saw the announcement of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch and Apple Pay from the very same Cupertino theatre that was host to Steve Jobs’ unveiling of the first Apple Mac 30 years ago. The new products were billed as “revolutionary” by Apple CEO Tim Cook, simply “evolutionary” by most Apple fans, and a “devolutionary” step back to iPod Nano days by some critics.

Apple shows off its new iPhone models in a a promotional video.

Each of the new products naturally introduce new technologies into the market, but importantly provide a signal to the media and advertising world as to which advancements are likely to be adopted by the mass market. Here are 3 takeaways from the announcement that have interesting implications for the media and advertising industry:


iPhone 6

1 – NFC Technology Can Finally Thrive In OOH Media

Outdoor media owners have been installing NFC chips (Near Field Contact) for some time now, but the use of the chips have been inhibited by the lack of NFC technology in mainstream consumer devices. The combination of the iPhone 6, Apple Watch, and Apple Pay means that a user is able to approve a payment by gesturing their device towards the NFC chip and confirming the purchase, placing the “fairly antiquated payments process” (i.e. cash) into the past. Will it therefore be long before we can all walk up to a billboard and buy a product or service on the spot by gesturing with our phone and using our fingerprint as a security measure?

There is huge potential in this segment of the OOH market once this becomes a reality and people become accustomed to using their phones as a payment device. The examples of the technology’s application are endless, from buying clothes a model is wearing in a billboard advert, to buying cinema tickets to a latest film release, all on the spot with minimal hassle. Now that NFC technology has been adopted by the most influential consumer tech company in the world, the only way for it is up.

Apple Watch


2 – Emotion-Targeted Advertising Is No Longer Science Fiction

One aspect of the Apple Watch is that it doubles as a health monitor. This means it measures your pulse and can calculate what type of physical activity you’re engaging in, amongst other things. If and when this data becomes available to advertisers, adverts could be pushed towards devices depending on the predicted emotion of the consumer.

For example, if heart-rate is seen to be high over a prolonged period of time an advert for an energy drink, upbeat music, or new running shoes could be served to the device in some form if the user is presumed to be exercising. It will take some time to see just how accurate the Watch proves to be in learning the emotions of its user, but once it does the emotion-based advert targeting will be like nothing we’ve seen before.

Apple Watch


3 – Screens Are Getting Both Larger and Smaller

One big takeaway from the event was the screen sizes on the new devices. Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have much larger screens than their older brothers and sisters, and the Apple Watch has a tiny screen that harks back to the days of the iPod Nano. The implication for advertisers is that content will continue to be consumed across a range of device sizes and in order to communicate messages effectively, these sizes need to be treated with respect. It’s not only size, but the mindset of the consumer when using each of these devices that are intended for different purposes.

Take advertising on the Apple Watch as an example – who would want the screen of their £300 solid gold device to be taken up by a poorly designed and rendered advert for a price comparison website? Similarly, the increase of available screen space on the new iPhone models paves the way for much richer content and more opportunities for habits such as second screening to take hold. Ultimately, if adverts aren’t designed without the device they will appear on in mind, the advert is geared up to fail.

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