Samsung and Apple might soon shake up the smart wearable market in a big way. The two companies are reportedly gearing up to enter a new wearable segment through the Galaxy Ring and Apple Ring, and it's not hard to imagine how these products might impact the wearable market at large.
Many tech companies have tried experimenting with new product categories, but most of these experiments fell short, or their products remained niche. Smart rings already exist, but they're far from mainstream.
Samsung and Apple are the two mobile giants with the brand power to enact industry-wide changes and create new revenue streams. Especially Apple. And if both tech giants compete over the emerging smart ring segment, it's almost guaranteed that the Galaxy Ring and Apple Ring will change how we look at wearable devices. Here are a couple of key reasons why that might happen.
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Health and fitness tracking for people who dislike smartwatches
Perhaps one of the best things about the Galaxy Ring and Apple Ring is that they'll satisfy a customer base that may have remained untapped by smartwatches. We're referring to users who would like to benefit from fitness and health tracking but don't want to give up on their traditional watches and might think smartwatches are a bit toy-like.
Smart rings will make that possible. The Galaxy Ring and Apple Ring will allow these prospective customers to gain all the benefits of platforms like Samsung Health and Apple Health without the smartwatch or wrist band. Do you want to keep wearing your Rolex or G-Shock watch and still be able to record health and fitness data? All without changing your sense of fashion? Smart rings will make that possible.
This is a huge deal for Health platforms and might be why we don't think smart rings will necessarily cannibalize smartwatch sales. People who like smartwatches will continue using the Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch. But people who don't want to use smartwatches will finally have a way to take advantage of the popular Health platforms without forcing themselves into using a Galaxy Watch or Apple Watch.
Granted, the smartwatch and non-smartwatch demographics could overlap to a degree. Some smartwatch users could make the transition to smart rings and jump on that bandwagon. But on the whole, the best thing about the Galaxy Ring and Apple Ring is that they'll likely increase their respective Health user bases no matter what.
Even quicker NFC payments and car unlocks
Aside from the Galaxy Ring and Apple Ring offering a new and inconspicuous way to record health and fitness data, these smart wearables might also gain traction thanks to quicker mobile payments.
Assuming that these devices will support NFC connectivity and monetary transactions, they could become the next-best way for users to pay for goods when they check out at physical stores. At the very least, paying with a ring might become a novelty many users will want to try or show off.
And if the Galaxy Ring and Apple Ring boast digital key capabilities, they'll allow users to unlock their cars seamlessly even if they don't wear a smartwatch or carry a smartphone. Maybe we're thinking too far into the future, given that Samsung doesn't support digital car keys on its Galaxy Watches yet (while Apple does on its Watch series), but nonetheless, it is something to look forward to.
All in all, the takeaway is that the Galaxy Ring and Apple Ring might fill a market gap that smartwatches can't rather than replace wrist wearables. They could become the go-to smart wearables for countless people who would rather keep using and/or collecting traditional watches or have a different sense of fashion but wouldn't mind adding fitness and health tracking to their daily routines. Smart rings might not cannibalize smartwatch sales, but they could shake things up for the wearable segment and shine a bright spotlight on Apple and Samsung Health platforms and services.