Apple Inc. (AAPL): This is the New Proving Ground For Innovation

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors are biding their time until Tuesday’s media event. Is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) also hoping consumers will be buying its time, too?

The chances that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will unvei a smartwatch on Tuesday are slim. This will the iPhone’s day to shine. We may get an update to the Apple TV set-top box and a few minor announcements, but that may be about it.

The days of “one more thing” mind-blowing surprises are gone, and not just because Steve Jobs is gone. We have too many inroads into Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s supply chain. If the consumer-tech giant is working on something, someone in Asia is talking. We no longer need to guess. We no longer need to find a prototype smartphone left behind in a beer hall.

We no longer get the joy of dreaming.

However, just as nobody ever gets everything that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) announces right ahead of time, there’s a glimmer of hope that the company everybody will be watching on Tuesday may introduce the inevitable iWatch.

Jony Ive, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Let’s go over a few reasons Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may not have much of a choice.

1. Everybody’s doing it
When Pebble used Kickstarter to bankroll the smartwatch revolution, it was only a matter of time before the big boys crashed the party.

They’re here.

Let’s go over the developments that have taken place in just the past few days.

  • Giga Om revealed last week that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) had quietly acquired smartwatch maker Wimm Labs last year.
  • On Wednesday, QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) unveiled Toq. The smartwatch showcases QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM)’s display technology.
  • Also on Wednesday, Samsung peeled back the curtain on its entry into this suddenly crowded market. Galaxy Gear works with only a few Samsung devices, but it offers dozens of applications and features, including a camera, that aren’t available elsewhere.

Your turn, Apple.

2. Smartwatches are about attraction and retention
A popular argument explaining why Apple and Android will remain the only mobile operating systems that matter is that loyalty is harvested through app ecosystems. Someone who has bought a ton of Apple App Store or Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play Store downloads will be hesitant to switch platforms.

Folks spending $300 on Samsung’s Galaxy Gear aren’t going to leave the Samsung product line during the next upgrade cycle.

Apple can’t ignore that. Android’s market share has already grown from 69% to 79% over the past year. If the world’s largest smartphone maker — Samsung — is leaning on a new smartwatch that works only with its devices, Apple doesn’t have much of a choice.

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