Metcalfe’s Law for the Apple Watch

Unboxing an Apple Watch and having the first experiences using it did deliver an interesting insight: it triggers the Metcalfe Law with the new form of communication.

Metcalfe’s Law describes how the value of a networked product increases with the number of nodes in the network. This goes in extremes with complete new technologies. For instance, the first owner of the fax machine had a useless machine. And so had the first couple of hundred or even thousand. The essence of using a fax machine is to have someone else to be able to receive the message.

Within the Apple Watch the same is happening with the taptic communication. It is a rather interesting feature to be able to share messages with others via the tapping on your watch. Just like the heartbeat and the little drawings. I believe that it could be very powerful in setting a new way of sharing your nearness on a more serious level than for instance Yo.

Still with so little people in your network having a watch, that is typical for this moment in the roll-out, it is hard to find others to seriously use this function. Everyone knows someone to create a little demo, but the real value of the function will arise if you can use it with lots of people.

This also part of the strategy of course. If this function turns out to be so strong and wanted by people it could trigger the sales of the watches. You need to have one not to be left out.

How enthusiastic I am on haptic interactions like this taptic communication, I doubt that it will be strong enough to trigger the sales. Or more precise: the on boarding for new users is to high with 350 euro’s. But maybe Apple will integrate this system into other devices in the end translating the tapping into sound for instance on your phone. If certainly would help Apple Watch grow benefitting Metcalfe’s Law.

Published by

iskandr

Iskander Smit is an innovation director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting professor at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab, and chairman and organizer of ThingsCon Netherlands.

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