The Apple Watch Series 4 is making a very interesting bid for an untapped market: Seniors. While we saw many new (and impressive) features for the S4 at Apple’s event, there was one recurring theme that – while never outright stated – became increasingly clear. Apple wants to pick up some older customers, and it’s tailoring the Watch to do just that.
This actually makes a lot of sense for the Apple Watch. Seniors have a specific set of needs that many wearables struggle to meet, and they have a very low saturation level (few of them have smart devices or wearables in their lives, which means they may be more open to purchasing something new). Plus, seniors are more likely to have disposable income lying around than younger adults, who may want a new Apple Watch but can’t afford to buy one.
So, how is Apple marketing the S4 Watch to seniors? With a series of targeted and advanced features that offer serious benefits to older adults.
The Apple Watch has always had some form of heart monitoring features, as many wearables do, but they were largely limited to heart rate tracking for fitness geeks. It’s a very useful smartwatch feature, but not exactly targeted at seniors.
Over time the watch’s health features have become more adept, and the Series 4 portion of the keynote sectioned a large chunk of time to talk about advanced heart monitoring options that are a perfect fit for the elderly who have heart conditions or heart related concerns.
First, the new Series 4 includes more alerts to let you know if your heart is falling to dangerously low levels.
Second, the Watch is equipped with technology to run an ECG, or electrocardiogram. Apple claims that it’s the only over-the-counter device to manage a true ECG, which it apparently needed approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell. That’s a serious, doctor-level benefit that could have cost hundreds of dollars as part of a traditional checkup, but is available via the Watch 4 for free.
A better gyroscope and enhanced sensors also mean that the newest Watch is excellent at helping older adults when they fall. Falls are one of the most common causes of injuries among the elderly and retired, and “alert” bracelets for falls have been one of the few wearables marketed to seniors before now. However, nothing has really offered built-in fall detection like the S4 before.
The new Apple Watch also goes a step beyond detecting falls or heart issues, and offers the ability to call for outside help automatically.
For example, if an elderly user fell wearing the Watch, it would offer an alert and suggestion that they should contact emergency services if they need help. If there’s no movement or response for a minute, the Watch will automatically call for help itself.
At first glance, the new interface may not seem very senior-friendly, since Apple’s marketing shots showed Watch faces loaded with information and graphics.
But it’s important to note that the Watch 1) Offers more display room than before, making it easier on older eyes and 2) Has more interface options than ever before, allowing the face to be as simple and traditional as the user prefers.
Sounds like a winning combination to us! But it will be interesting to see what senior buyers truly think about the Series and how many lives it can help save.