Travel Tech

With the recent release of the Apple Watch, the world's largest consumer electronics company is taking its first step into the wearables marketplace. This has been predicted for a long time to be a growth arena, but the early attempts of companies to develop wearable devices that make a serious market impression have fallen a little flat.

Google Glass failure

For example, Google's Glass which was so lauded at the time of its release has already been withdrawn from the market owing to a lack of consumer interest. Google has stated that it still remains fully committed to the Glass concept, and intends to relaunch it in the near future. But the initial failure of the device was ultimately a blow to the corporation, no matter how much it protests otherwise.

The Apple Watch is rather different from Google Glass, but smartwatches have also not had an entirely serene ride. Samsung is known as being the most obvious rival to Google in consumer electronics, yet its Galaxy Gear smartwatch has not been hugely successful. Shifting only 2 million units in his entire lifecycle, the Galaxy Gear has also been subjected to rather lukewarm reviews, and certainly has not catalysed the niche into becoming a mainstream form of technology.

This is all expected to change with the Apple Watch, not least because Apple is such a powerful brand and can seemingly do no wrong at the moment. 2014 was simply a stellar year for the consumer electronics giant, and it was marked by three particularly large achievements.

Firstly, Apple became the first corporation to acquire a figure in excess of $700 billion market capitalisation. Secondly, in Q4, Apple achieved the highest single-quarter profit in recorded business history. And recently, the technology analysis firm Gartner has stated that Apple has overtaken Samsung in terms of pure mobile sales volume.

Apple’s Sensational 2014

This last statistic is particularly significant, as Samsung has previously relied on selling large numbers of relatively affordable devices, particularly in its native East Asia. Apple has been a more profitable corporation that Samsung for some time, but the fact that it is now also outselling it in pure volume terms, thanks to success in penetrating new marketplaces such as China, is extremely good news for the market-leading company.

One of the notable aspects about the marketing of the Apple Watch is that Apple has placed a large emphasis on consumer choice. The California-based company has always been associated with outstanding design parameters and values, but it has really strongly adhered to this principle with the release of the Apple Watch.

Thus, Apple has produced three different versions of the Apple Watch which are aimed at extremely divergent marketplaces. And in addition to these three different models, each base version of the watch also features numerous variants, strap and face options. Clearly with the Apple Watch, Apple has attempted to make its smartwatch stand out significantly from the rest of the crowd, and also to a certain extent embody the qualities of the timepiece market in general.

This would seem to be a sound strategy in a marketplace which is often characterised by extremely expensive products. With regard to the Apple Watch, this is best exemplified by the device which attracted the most media attention in the buildup to the release of the device. The Apple Watch addition retails at between $10,000 and $17,000, and is intended to compete with luxury watch manufacturers such as Rolex and Cartier.

Whether or not this will turn out to be successful remains to be seen, but Apple has clearly given some careful consideration to the concept of how to market that Apple Watch. And this appears to have paid off based on the predictions of analysts and that everything is related to the mobile device.

Apple Watch to go Mainstream

Apple was able to attract 1 million pre-orders for Apple Watch on the day that it was released, and this figure has already at least exceeded 2.3 million. It is probable that the number of orders Apple has fielded thus far is by now more realistically in the region of 3 million. Additionally, analysts have predicted that Apple may shift as many as 20 million Apple Watches this year; to put this into perspective that would be 1,000 percent more than Samsung has managed to sell of the Galaxy Gear in its entire life cycle.

This is significant for travel-related companies and destinations, as mobile is now established as being an extremely important medium for companies in this industry. But wearable technology will potentially offer even more convenience for consumers than mobile. Just this week, EasyJet is strongly pushing its mobile boarding pass scheme in a range of advertisements in the United Kingdom, and it doesn't take much imagination to picture how this could be made even more convenient with a wearable device such as the Apple Watch.

The Digital Tourism Think Tank has previously reported on travel companies working with wearable technology, and the release of Apple Watch is expected to hasten this process and the prominence of this niche. It seems almost certain that the Apple Watch will be a roaring success, and if this is the case then the potential for both marketing and sales opportunities via wearable devices to tourists will become a real possibility in the near future.

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