Kobe Bryant Is Secretly Testing Apple’s iWatch

By Eric Bleeker

Kobe Bryant

The iWatch is coming, but it’s still hidden deep inside Apple’s secret labs.

Well, for the most part. While Apple is notoriously secretive about future products, it’s giving a select group of people early access to the iWatch. 

Who’s in this early group? Would you believe… it’s Kobe Bryant?

Why you haven’t bought a smartwatch yet
When you think about what you’d like in a watch – or any product you wear on your wrist – the key feature is that it has to tell time.

That’s a no-brainer.

But, beyond telling time, the value of a “smartwatch” full of electronics is unclear. Early smartwatches included features like making calls on your wrist (which, is neat in a Dick Tracy way, but impractical), and providing notifications like getting text messages (but good luck responding to those messages).

Throw in the fact that early smartwatch concepts needed to be recharged almost every night while normal watches can go for years, and you can see why no one has wanted past smartwatches unveiled by the likes of Samsung, Sony, and other companies.

Apple’s plan to fix this is simple: they’re getting an assist from Kobe Bryant. 

The Tim Cook to Kobe Bryant Alley-Oop
Apple has asked athletes like Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown to test out the iWatch. While the rest of the world is guessing what Apple’s product might look like...they’re wearing it in practice.

The reason Apple has chosen athletes to help them test the iWatch is simple: it will focus on being a fitness product.

That’s a smart move from Apple. “Wearable fitness” products are exploding in popularity, but let’s face it...most are just glorified pedometers.

The well-respected Wall Street Journal reports Apple is thinking much bigger; putting 10 different sensors into the iWatch to monitor health.

What kind of sensors could Apple include?
The iWatch will obviously measure your steps and activity as well as heart rate. But Apple has also hired employees specializing in devices that measure blood glucose, sweat sensors, and even your blood’s chemistry, among many other areas.

Then Apple also built an entire app – simply called "Health" – that will release with the iPhone 6 and can send data directly to your doctor. 

Think about that for a moment. While the iWatch will appeal to fitness-minded people like the Kobe Bryant’s of the world, it’ll also be a game-changer for people in their 60s and 70s as a health monitoring product. It’s truly mass market.

Perhaps that mass market appeal is why Apple is reportedly looking to produce 10 million to 15 million of the device this year. To put that in perspective, the iPhone sold just 1.1 million phones in its first quarter on sale.

In any case, since we’re not Kobe Bryant and don’t currently have the iWatch… The only thing to do is wait for its launch. And if you’re a forward-looking opportunist searching for a way to make money off the product, I’d recommend checking out some of the companies making those 10 sensors on the iWatch. 

After all, even if the iWatch succeeds – and with Apple’s track record you can expect it to – there will be plenty of copy-cats building their own iWatch copycats as well, and they’ll need their own sensors. That strikes me as quite the opportunity.

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