WWDC 2017 Social Comms (2): WatchOS 4 and the smartphone disintegration
The announcements around Apple Watch may hint its evolution
I am paying attention to the announcements from Apple during WWDC 2017 that have an impact on its strategy around Social Communications. This article is part of a series that covers:
- The announcements on watchOS and how they keep pointing to a future of “Smartphone Disintegration”.
- iMessage announcements and how they put Apple in a more direct confrontation with WhatsApp future business.
- WebRTC support in Safari, which reinforces the positioning of the iPad as a productivity tool, and changes in CallKit.
- Social Communications on the HomePod, and why Apple will have to open it as a platform.
The first thing I found interesting during the WatchOS 4 presentation, was how the Music experience redesign in Apple Watch was being oriented to using it independently from the iPhone:
But this message became reinforced when they announced new Bluetooth Core APIs. Bluetooth Core will allow the direct connection from an Apple Watch to other devices without requiring an the iPhone, which reinforces the approach of moving it away from an accessory category, and into a full independent device. Having more connected independent devices is a trend in the market that I call the “Smartphone Disintegration”. In my analysis, I also pointed that AR (Augmented Reality) was a relevant part of this equation, and with the ARKit announcement it seems I’m not alone in thinking that:
The natural next step for Apple will be to announce a cellular-enabled Apple Watch, allowing applications to connect to the Internet without requiring an iPhone. And this could be happening as soon as this Fall, with the launch of new Watch models and the expected iPhone 8.
This would bring a huge advantage to iMessage and FaceTime audio as the main communication options on the device, but some other multidevice applications could be ready too (I haven’t tested myself if the current Telegram app for the Apple Watch works without an iPhone, but in theory it could be possible when the Watch is connected via Wifi). And it would be a hint for WhatsApp to start planning their embracing of the future multidevice world, but not the only hint in this direction that was given during this WWDC.
You can read on to the next article in my WWDC Social Communications analysis: WWDC 2017 Social Comms (3): iMessage and Business messaging