Apple Watch may benefit from big-screen smartphones
Among smartphone and tablet owners polled by Adobe, two-thirds of those planning to buy a smartwatch will go with Apple's wearable.
Lance WhitneyContributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
The Apple Watch may find a convenient niche among owners of big-screened smartphones.
That idea was suggested in a report by Adobe Digital Index (ADI), which collected the feedback from 1,000 US consumers who were polled last month about Apple's new smartwatch and other mobile topics. First off, the survey found that 27 percent of people who own a smartphone or tablet, and don't already own a smartwatch, are likely or very likely to buy a smartwatch over the next six months. And among those, 67 percent said they were likely or very likely to buy an Apple Watch.
Users of big-screened phones, such as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, may find the Apple Watch even more of a draw. Think of it this way. You receive a notification of a phone call, email, text message or other alert. Are you more apt to struggle to pull your big-screened phone out of your pocket or purse, or simply flip your wrist to glance at the notification on your smartwatch? So the bigger our smartphones get, the greater the need for a smaller device to act as a sort of middleman.
"There are some use cases for it that are kind of helpful, and one of them is that with the larger-screen smartphone, it's actually less convenient to pull it out all the time," ADI principal Tamara Gaffney analyst said. "The Apple Watch is a hands-free and much less conspicuous way to look at my emails, my text messages, instant messages, Facebook Messenger, and maybe a little bit of my social media postings on my wrist without taking this big phone out of wherever I put it. So the fact is that as the smartphone screen size gets bigger, then there's an alternative use case for this wearable -- that if it's synchronized together with the smartphone, it makes for a good compatible couple of devices."
Apple is expected to reveal more details about its first wearable at its Spring Forward event scheduled for 10 a.m. PT today (CNET's live preshow starts at 9 a.m. PT). The company will hardly be the first to market -- the field is already crowded with products from Samsung, Motorola, LG, Pebble and other major vendors, though none has yet to crack into the mainstream. But Apple's device could have broad appeal as both smartwatch and health and fitness tracker, and will likely ride the coattails of the company's wildly successful big-screen iPhone 6 line. It will also come in three different flavors and a variety of price tags, starting at $349, aimed at capturing as wide an audience as possible.
Market researcher Strategy Analytics predicts that the Apple Watch could dominate the field from the get-go. It said last week that it expects Apple to sell 15.4 million of the devices in 2015, to account for 55 percent of the market.
The Apple Watch will include Apple Pay, the company's mobile payments system for purchasing items on the go without having to pull out your wallet. And mobile wallets appear to be gaining favor, according to ADI's survey. Among the 1,000 people polled, 26 percent have used a mobile wallet, while 21 percent plan to use one within the next six months.
"Don't get me wrong -- a lot of people still haven't used a mobile wallet capability, but, still, more than one out of four is a lot bigger than we expected," Gaffney said.
Adobe did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the report.