Is it time that Apple reinvent the Wristwatch?

I was chatting to some LikeMinds the other day about the future of Apple now that Steve Jobs has sadly passed away. The company has obviously made Computers and Laptops cool; it also created a booming Smartphone and Tablet market which has changed the way that people collaborate both socially and within the Enterprise.

But what is left for Apple to reinvent? Well an obvious answer is the Television. If you think of the mantra of 3 screens and the Cloud; the 3 screens being Computer, Smartphone and TV. Then we should see Apple enter this market soon; ok, they do already have Apple TV but this hasn’t really taken the world by storm. An iconic television would do however. Apple will face huge competition in this field from Sony and Samsung. Already reinventing the TV with 3D and internet capabilities.

Another new market for them could be the Smartwatch. In true Apple style they have dabbled with the iPod Nano watch, almost testing the concept out on their fanbase. I have a friend who loves his, but essentially its only a music device on your wrist. Plus it looks so fragile, Im pretty sure that if I had one, it would be broken by the end of the day.

But now that Apple has iCloud and Siri, suddenly the idea of an “iWatch” could be an exciting prospect! Imagine be able to use Siri on your iWatch as a remote control, as a link between all your other Apple devices; perhaps commanding music and films from your Mac down to your TV. It sounds like something out of the Jetsons, but essentially the technology is there (about time too!). There are also rumours of Apple investing in curved glass R&D which could indicate that they are looking to improve the sharp edged iPod Nano, perhaps to make it more wearable.

Will people wear technology? Of course! But you need to make it look extra stylish. Jawbone had a go recently releasing their “UP“; a wristband that makes you healthier. But it flopped as it just looks to ugly. Nike’s launch of their fitness and calorie tracker, Fuelband is a step in the right direction. Last I read, there was still a huge waitlist to get one; perhaps taking a gimmick out of the Apple PR rulebook.

There is a huge risk for Apple though. The youth of today no longer wear watches as its seen a single purpose device; instead they use their smartphones to tell the time. If Apple were to release a Smartwatch, it needs all the design power of Sir Jonathan Ive to make sure it works not only in the Tech market, but also in the Fashion one.

Apple’s Consumerisation of the Cloud in the Post PC Era

Some of you will already be aware of the Apple announcements made earlier this week about the new features of iOS and iCloud. As a consumer you are probably pretty excited about the enhanced features on your “fondle device” as well as syncing your iTunes, Videos and Photos across multiple iDevices via the iCloud. It certainly boosted Apple’s share price even more as they dug the knife into both Microsoft and Google.

There was also good news from a Cisco point of view too. It was great to see WebEx shown in the WWDC Keynote to represent Business usage on an iPad2; extending the awareness of our Cloud Collaboration Solution and enhancing Cisco’s brand as leading edge.

Apple’s Consumerisation of the cloud is pretty interesting, but if like me you think about the bigger Post PC Era picture, then these announcements could also be game-changing for Businesses and Channel Partners.

Apple devices are easier to Manage

Although consumers have quickly embraced iPhones and iPads, Corporates have taken to them a lot slower as they haven’t been fully supported by IT. However, now Apple have made them a lot easier to manage with encrypted emails, device updates, user content and backups; all over the air. As “it will all just work” as Jobs suggested, the user experience will be excellent so IT can potentially free up datacenter space for other business critical applications and services like UC or VXI to make the user experience across the rest of the organisation even better.

Multi Device Workspace

At Cisco we have fully embraced the multi device workspace for some time and its one of the leading messages we drive with WebEx, Jabber and Quad. Apple with the creation of iCloud and the ability for an iPad & iPhone combination to sync together when linked to the same Apple account, really reinforces Cisco’s multi device message and will drive C-Level execs to expect the same level of service within a work environment. The good news for Cisco is that our Workspace solutions work across Android and PC as well as Apple giving us an even better “Open” message.

So Apple have excited the Consumer but have also provided opportunities for Cisco and our Channel to exploit the massive media noise created from iCloud to drive home the Post PC Era message to our Customers. It may mean that  Partners might have to readdress some of  the services they currently offer, but Cisco is well placed  to help and make them profitable well into the future. And the Future is looking Cloudy.