Apple killed the watch, but can it bring it back?

Apple’s first event of 2015 is scheduled for March 9 and if all the hype and rumors are correct, we will be hearing more details about the Apple Watch, which should hit the shelves in April.

Apple’s smart watch is one of Apple’s most hyped products since the first iPad. Pebble’s huge success with their latest smart watch offers a glimpse of consumer interest in this space.

However, wearables in general haven’t crossed over to the mainstream yet and fewer and fewer people (particularly younger generations) are even wearing watches at all. Apple is partly to blame for this trend – after all when you have a smartphone in your pocket, why do you need another device to tell you the time?

The real question is will there be a mass market for smart watches beyond early adopters or Apple fans? And will the Apple Watch provide the necessary momentum?

To date, notifications have been the main use case for smart watches. It’s more convenient and polite in certain situations to glance at your watch to check out a text or see who is calling. The bulk of smart watch apps have centered around getting to the right information (notifications, next meeting, etc.) more quickly.

However, for the smart watch to truly emerge as a huge category, it needs to differentiate from the mobile phone. Right now, the smart watch feels more like an extension of what a phone does, but on a smaller screen.

The real opportunity for smart watches might be more of a personalized tracking device, since it’s directly on our skin 24/7. In this light, exciting use cases include: health, fitness, emotions/self-expression, and dating.

The category is still in its infancy, but for the smart watch to break out into the mainstream it needs to find its own unique use cases separate from the smartphone.

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