Apple's latest products and features target our greatest fears

Apple’s latest products and features target our greatest fears

Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the annual event on Wednesday with a three-minute video illustrating how the Apple Watch saved lives by calling for help. A man described how he was skating on a frozen river when the ice gave way. Another survived a plane crash in a remote area in the dead of winter. And a high school student escaped an encounter with a bear.

Another example from the event focused on a 27-year-old high school teacher who went to the emergency room after her Apple Watch detected an abnormally high heart rate. According to the teacher, “My doctor said, ‘It was your watch that saved your life.’

Apple has long marketed its products as tools for creativity, productivity, and a positive, albeit ambitious, lifestyle filled with friends and family, healthy habits, and outdoor activities. Some of that was still on display at this year’s event, but there was also a new message. The company has positioned many of its products and features as safety nets in an unstable world.

Apple has announced new car crash detection technology on the Apple Watch and iPhone which it claims can determine the “precise moment of impact” using the barometer, GPS and microphone of the device. “We really hope you never need it, but just feel a little safer every time you get in a car,” said Ron Huang, vice president of sensing and connectivity at Apple, during the announcement.

He also unveiled a revolutionary emergency SOS tool for iPhones that relies on satellites if, for example, you’re lost in the wild and cell service isn’t working. And it introduced a new temperature monitoring tool on the Apple Watch that can be used to track illnesses, at a time when many may still be dealing with pandemic health anxieties.
Apple unveils a crash detection feature for its new Apple Watch.

While arguably a continuation of Apple’s focus on health features, especially with its smartwatches, its focus on these scary use cases has nonetheless raised a few eyebrows among industry watchers. “It was a little surprising to see Apple take the scaremongering approach and position its devices as potential lifesavers,” said Ramon Llamas, research director at market research firm IDC.

In recent years, Apple has promised customers that its products can help them create a safer digital environment, with stronger privacy protections and family-friendly content. Now his height seems to have extended to the safety of people in the real world.

“These emergency devices are like the security bags in your car: you won’t need them all the time, but you’re grateful when you do,” Llamas said.

The change in tone comes as Apple faces a new economic landscape that could make it harder to convince customers to pay three- and four-figure amounts to upgrade their devices, especially when some of those products aren’t available. not significantly different from the previous year.

On Wednesday, the company showed off relatively minor updates to its devices across the board. The iPhone range, for example, offered updates to camera systems, a new interactive lock screen, and on the Pro models, much faster performance. Meanwhile, the new premium Apple Watch Ultra is aimed at extreme sports enthusiasts; while there is a market for rugged watches, not everyone needs a tracker for deep-sea diving or triathlons.

“Refinement rather than revolution isn’t a bad thing, but if the stock markets tighten with the economy, those ads are harder to sell without anything groundbreaking,” said Eric Abbruzzese, director of research at the company. market report ABI Research.

The focus on health and safety could also help Apple strengthen its subscription services business, said Abbruzzese, which has been one of its fastest growing revenue lines in recent years. As he points out, satellite connectivity is “only free for two years.” (Apple didn’t say how much it would cost after that.) Additionally, “advanced health tools seem like just another way to sell Fitness+ more heavily.”

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