Rob’s Roundup: Apple Watches, Google Wireless and High-End e-Commerce

Rob’s Roundup: Apple Watches, Google Wireless and High-End e-Commerce
Friday, April 24, 2015
Rob Walker

So much happens in the digital space every day — it can be difficult to keep up. Below, one of DAC Group’s digital strategists, Rob Walker, shares his recap of some of the more interesting bits of news as they relate to brands, business and marketing in a connected world.

Apple Watch Could be Their Most Profitable Product Ever

Apple’s new line of watches — its first foray into wearable technology — is rapidly turning into their most profitable product line. And that’s from a company that has made billions of dollars from their product lines over the last 30+ years. Technology analyst Carl Howe has done some calculations around the number of watches sold (the initial run of Apple Watches sold out before it even hit shelves/wrists) and predicts that the first run of watches will yield revenue of over $2 billion for the first two weeks of sales. While iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales are higher, the model suggests that the Apple Watch will lead in revenue during that period.

The first year of the Apple Watch will be very telling — already numerous big name brands are lining up to partner with Apple. Want to unlock your hotel room with a flick of your wrist? Book a room at Starwood Hotels and Resorts this week. BMW, Target, the New York Times and others are working with Apple to design apps that will help jump start Apple Watch usage even further.

Google Launching Wireless Service ‘Project Fi’

google coverage

Though it’s a long way off, especially for Canadians, Google has announced their entry into the wireless market. After continued expansion of their highly successful Google Fiber internet offering, Google announced plans to offer its own wireless cellular service.

Though only for Nexus 6 owners at first, the network is built on top of Sprint and T-Mobile’s network and will service a majority of the United States. The more interesting facet comes from its pricing plan: $20 a month for unlimited talk/text, and an additional $10 for each gig of data. The real trick is that Google plans on refunding users if they don’t use all their data. For example, if you sign up for 4gb/month, it will cost $20 for the base plan and an additional $40 for data (so $60 a month), but if you only use 2 gigs of data Google will refund you $20 that month.

With everything tied into Google Hangouts, users can make calls from any Hangouts-enabled tablet or phone from your own number. Canadians will have to wait and see what Google’s approach will be, given the CRTC’s regulatory mandate around foreign-owned wireless carriers.

Uber’s Co-founder to Launch Online Commerce Platform

Uber’s co-founder Garrett Camp has partnered with Robin Chan to launch Operator, which is set to “unlock the 90% of commerce that’s not on the internet”, calling itself a “Request Network”.

So what does that mean, exactly? It’s basically an app that uses a network of human ‘Operators’ to fulfill customer requests — typically when there is a high consideration purchase that might require expertise or have a significant number of options. Right now, it’s in private beta, but soon Operator will be letting more people use it (you can sign up for the beta here). A strong believer in the idea of ‘messaging being a very big theme in the age of the internet’, Chan realized that providing a service that lets people get information and make purchases from anywhere, while not tying them into a particular store or outlet, would be a valuable service.

operator-onboard-1-lion-onboard

Chan sums up the audience they’re going for: “The switchboard for goods and services.” He explains that “You used to dial ‘0’ and there was a human being on the other end. Why isn’t there an app on your phone where there’s a group of people helping you?”

If a service like this takes off, it could open up a whole new set of categories for online commerce that didn’t exist before. It will be interesting to see how digital marketing can adapt to this Operator model, which handles a great deal of the recommendation portion for the customer.