If you watched the Apple keynote, then you got a great view of the Apple Watch. While I’m definitely not one of the few who will buy the $10,000 version of the watch, I do believe it will be a success, largely due to one feature: Apple Pay.
Samsung, Motorola, and Pebble already have watches with similar features to the Apple Watch. In fact, I thought it was funny to listen to Apple employees talk about how they can’t live without their Apple watch because of all the notifications the watch sends to their wrist.
Also, the idea of having a heart rate monitor on your wrist is old hat. The Apple Watch has a few innovative features that peaked my interest, such as the use of the crown for zooming and controlling the watch, but it isn’t enough innovation or wow factor to make me want to run out and buy one.
If you’re an Apple zealot, then I am sure you’ll flock to buy your fashion statement with interchangeable wrist bands and multiple entry tiers from the Timex to the Rolex, but fashion will only take you so far.
In the end, it’s all about Apple Pay. The fact that I can use a simple band on my wrist to make a payment without getting out my wallet or my phone sounds trivial, but I am pretty sure it will catch on as retailers adopt Apple Pay in their stores.
Part of the concept of having a smart watch on your wrist in the first place is convenience, and I think that adding payments to a feature-packed wrist device may be what makes it for Apple in the end.
People aren’t going to buy an Apple Watch for its battery life, or its baffling array of unique features. People will buy it because it’s Apple, and Apple knows how to create an experience from their marketing to the end product.
It is not a coincidence that Apple rolled out Apple Pay earlier this year. Apple’s marketing minions will drive the Apple Pay hype, which creates a unique play for its watch.
If Apple Pay succeeds, Apple Watch will follow.
Matt Trevathan is Director of Product Management at Kony.