It is quite possible that the Apple Watch might launch on March 9th of this year at an Apple event to be held in San Francisco. Less than two weeks before that happens, Apple's chief executive officer Tim Cook is already doing a tour to gain some press traction for the upcoming launch of the company's first ever wearable device.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Cook hinted that it is quite possible that the Apple Watch could completely replace car keys in the near future. Obviously, most of today's consumers, especially those eyeing to buy smartwatches, don't normally think of these wearable devices in that kind of capacity. We usually associate those types of gadgets with health and fitness tracking capabilities, as well as some ability to handle communications (calls and text messages) and notifications and alerts. But replacing car keys? That definitely puts the Apple Watch's usefulness in a whole new perspective.
It also puts the company's wearable device into a class of its own. Although not quite reaching mainstream level yet, smartwatches are already widely available in the market, with manufacturers offering all kinds of designs and styles. But because smartwatches are still a relatively new concept, makers have not exactly explored its possible users to the fullest yet, other than for health and fitness tracking and as wearable substitutes for smartphones.
But Apple always has a knack for expanding the application of the products it develops. The iPhone is no longer just a mobile phone -- for many, it is now like an iPod, camera, portable computer, and payment facilitator (thanks to Apple Pay) rolled into one. With the Apple Watch, Apple's technicians are clearly looking at the wearable device as just more than a smartwatch, but something that have far more broad uses in the daily lives of consumers.
If Apple pulls it off, and there is a good chance that it will, the Apple Watch could become the spark plug that ignites smartwatches into mainstream status. Many industry watchers have been saying that in order for smartwatches (and other wearable devices) to hit critical mass, it will need somebody or some entity big enough (or gutsy enough) to lead the movement. Apple certainly qualifies.
On closer examination, the idea of smartwatches replacing car keys, especially the fobs now used for newer car models, is actually very doable, which makes one wonder why nobody has ever thought of it before. Of course, to turn this idea into a reality will require Apple to collaborate with automakers. It should be able to manage that. After all, it did a good job convincing banks and credit card companies (and soon gas stations and even vending machines) to work with Apple Pay.
For now, Cook is only talking about car keys. But who knows? In the very near future, we could be using wearable devices for other keyless entry applications, like opening doors in our homes, or operating home appliances.
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