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Is Apple preparing its big idea for digital health?

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As this year’s iPhone and Apple Watch launch approaches, it is always good sport to read through the pre-event hype. But one topic that doesn’t appear much discussed is how Apple may be setting the scene for platform proliferation for its smartwatch.

Big change in tiny packages

The company is reaching into its “tried and tested” playbook to achieve this. In this case, it looks as if the company plans to give us more for less as recent speculation suggests a new and lower cost Apple Watch SE. If this is true, any Apple move to bring its smartwatch within the grasp of more people than before is going to be 99% business and 1% altruism. So what’s the business motivation?

I see it being about platform proliferation, as Apple sets the seed for a greater plan. (Apple isn’t a “pile them high, sell them cheap” kind of company.)

When it chooses to strike out for a new price point, the move usually reflects a larger strategy. Who else can recall when Apple gave first-generation iPhone customers $100 credit notes after choosing to lower the cost of the original iPhone in 2007?

In that case, Apple knew it had a hit product and wanted to shoot for the stars before the competition got its act together. It likely also understood that to support the App Store it launched one year later, it needed as big a user base as possible to motivate developers to try the platform.

So, what does it know this time around?

The first thing it knows is that people are keeping their smartphones longer than they used to. It recognizes that the financial climate is becoming uncertain, with its wearables, home, and accessories segment down 8% year over year in Q3.

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