Apple Watch, Voice Control, and On-Demand Services


When it comes to “The On-Demand Economy,” this blog has been a broken record. But, with today’s news about Apple Watch, one of the first thoughts that came to mind is — the new watch could actually increase the frequency of on-demand service orders made by customers — over time. Briefly, to review how I define this category, from an earlier post:

There are two types of species in this genus: (1) services which are truly on-demand, like Uber, Lyft, and Postmates, where users demand a good/service, which then triggers the system to fulfill that demand; and (2) services which allow the consumer to transact by phone, but the service is delivered at a scheduled time, like Instacart — here, the consumer experience feels close enough to on-demand that it all gets wrapped up into one moniker.

Now, imagine the last time you called an Uber or ordered Postmates. You reached for your phone. If the app wasn’t on your homescreen, you scrolled a few pages or swiped down to search and input for the app. The app loaded, and you directed it to order you a car or burrito. With Apple Watch, you can order an Uber with a few taps of your phone. While cool, the interface is pretty small, and it may be that at least in the early days, opening the Uber app on the phone could be more efficient than on a Watch, though the Watch could be a great screen for viewing car arrival times.

Ok, so now imagine if you need to order an Uber, you just bring your hand toward your nose, and talk to the Watch via Siri, a la Dick Tracy. Even though Siri seems to be getting less useful as iOS hardware gets better, there could be a day where it actually works well deep into third party apps. And, if that capability extends to watches, we could have that Dick Tracy moment, ordering an Uber by speaking into our wristwatches. It would be the fastest input channel possible, and if it works, it could actually increase the amount of services ordered on-demand — it will be even easier to buy convenience.