Apple's iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Watch - What Marketers Need to Know
Tuesday was a bumper night for Apple fans. Not one, but 2 new iPhones were revealed, as well as the long awaited Apple Watch.Apple's Dominance of the Smartphone Market Is AssuredApple has plenty of competitors nipping at its heels - Samsung, Sony and a resurgent HTC - but the launch of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus put those competitors firmly back in their places.Why? Well, firstly, Sir Jony Ive ensured that the Apple retained their lead in smartphone design. The rounded edges, slimline form (the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are the slimmest phones that Apple has ever made) and the beautifully seamless transition from polished glass screen display to aluminium body means that the iPhones will remain the smartphone to have.Secondly, with both the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus, Apple finally recognised and reacted to the trend for bigger screens. Smartphones are becoming more about apps, the mobile web and games and less about making calls and sending texts - larger screen devices are in demand. In particular, Apple took on Samsung's upcoming, and extremely popular, Galaxy Note 4 with the 5.5 inch 6 Plus.Our prediction is that the iPhone will continue to dominate the market for the foreseeable future.Bigger Screen, More Use and More Advertising ImpactThe fact that Apple has finally followed its rivals in producing larger screened phones not only has implications for their market position, it has implications for how those phones are used.With more screen 'real estate' will we see online smartphone usage start to emulate tablet usage - with tasks performed less limited by screen size?Will mobile advertising and in app advertising become more impactful - and therefore more attractive to advertisers - simply because it's bigger (same proportion of the screen but much larger screen) and rendered in much sharper resolutions?The Trend for Smartphones to Become Games Consoles ContinuesA screen which can deliver 1080 HD graphics (better than the new generation of consoles) with a new A8 processor that can handle those graphics 50% faster makes for plenty of game playing potential, and Apple made a lot of that in Tuesday's presentation.Many may still see online gaming as a geek-type pursuit but 3 facts should give premium marketers pause for thought. First of all, geeks have money - Mark Zuckerberg is proof of that. Secondly, gaming already takes up a large chunk of the time spent on smartphones. Finally, mobile gaming is now a much more widespread pursuit, with the typical gamer actual being a female in her mid-30s rather than a teenage boy.In game advertising could well be an opportunity if the environment is right, and just imagine how great those ads are going to look with HD graphics handled by one of the fastest smartphone processors out there.Has Apple Revived the Concept of Mobile Wallets?Perhaps one of the most significant developments was the launch of Apple Pay, a highly secure NFC based contactless payment system that can be used in store and online.Without the support of Apple, mobile contactless payments via NFC were mired in the doldrums but Apple may well have just given them a lifeline.Many consumers still have serious reservations about the security implications of using their phone as a wallet, although Apple did much to allay those fears with the user-fingerprint based security and the fact that no details of cards or transactions will be saved on the phone, or even of their servers.If any company can pioneer mobile payments, it's Apple.Marketers would be advised to keep a very close eye on developments in the US (were the service has been launched) because if Apple Pay takes off, it'll be making its way to the UK soon.Can Apple Watch Re-Boot the Wearables Market?This is a watershed moment for wearables - if Apple Watch doesn't take off, then you have to ask yourself if all the excitement about the category was just so much hot air.Apple has produced a device that is highly customisable in look - from the watch itself, its face and and its strap - and highly flexible in its functionality. As regards to the latter, Apple has combined the 'smartphone companion on your wrist' functionality from rivals like Samsung's Galaxy Gear with the health and fitness functionality from the health band market.If the Apple Watch kickstarts the wearables market in the same way as the iPad kickstarted the tablet market, then marketers will need to think about how it fits into their marketing plans. Could they create apps of genuine usefulness to consumers using an Apple Watch? For example, Starwood has already created an app the allows their guests to check in using their Apple Watch and to use it as a room key.The problem with app creation for the Apple Watch is that Apple have created a whole new operating system to run it, having deemed that a scaled down iOS wouldn't be suitable. Hence, time and expense will be a premium, so the consumer use case better be strong. As the show opened on Tuesday night, Tim Cook hailed the iPhone 6 as 'the biggest advancement in iPhone.' Bigger screens seem to be here to stay and Apple may well have just kickstarted mobile payments and the wearable category. Nothing is certain in the technology world but it looks like marketers are going to have a few more items on their already crowded agendas over the coming months.