As hardware tends to become a commodity item fairly quickly as the market matures, value is then added through software and ecosystems. IBM is a prime example of a company that has transitioned from hardware to software and services. While Apple will probably not let its hardware go, its future relies more on the ecosystem it has to deliver what consumers want.
One pertinent example of how the smartphone can become centric to wearable devices and healthcare is the recent announcement by LionsGate Technologies (LGTmedical), a Vancouver-based social enterprise, that it had secured its first major financial backers to scale up development of the Phone Oximeter, an app and medical sensor that turns a non-specialist, community-level health worker's smartphone, tablet computer, or laptop into an affordable and simple but sophisticated medical-grade diagnostic tool typically available in the developing world only in some hospitals.
Apple would benefit from purchasing Beats Electronics, not just due to the price tag, but as part of the wider battle to make its ecosystem central to consumers and all their requirements from smartphone, to TV, games, fitness, and even healthcare and finance.
This article was originally published on EE Times Europe.