Apple’s Beats acquisition hints at distributed wearables ‘big picture’
Apple’s rumored acquisition of trendy headphone maker Beats could be a hint as to how Apple is planning to redefine the market when it finally launches a range of wearables.
Apple still hasn’t launched an iWatch: as this blog has previously commented, if or when Apple does launch any wearable technology, you can expect it to redefine the market.
With the possibility that Beats is joining the portfolio, Apple has more room to innovate by splitting its wearables. You can track steps (or nods of your head, in line with the beat) via a pedometer mounted on the ear, just as easily as the wrist. What’s more is that there’s plenty of space in a pair of on-ear headphones, while on the wrist, components and their size are limited, especially to ensure a sleek, thin device.
Therefore, by moving the basic step tracking functions to the ear, Apple has one thing less to pack into a “smart” wristband, whether it’s a phone, a camera, or primarily a fashion accessory. Don’t forget that Apple already has millions of devices in the field that can track movement just as well as a smart wristband: every iPhone comes with an accelerometer and a gyroscope. Runkeeper’s recently-introduced Breeze app is a phone-based movement tracker that does without the band.
That’s why the rumored Apple acquisition of trendy headphone maker Beats makes sense (although the tech media is already divided on that), from a wearables perspective.