• July 31, 2015
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmarCustomerService.com

The 2015 CRM Market Influential Leaders: Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President of Design, Apple

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Jonathan Ive is responsible for the look and feel of many of Apple's products, including the MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad, and iOS. His latest creation is the Apple Watch, which many single-handedly credit with reviving a wearables market that fizzled when Google tabled its Google Glass prototype.

Apple's former CEO, the late Steve Jobs, often referred to Ive as his "spiritual partner at Apple." Ive also provides leadership and direction for human interface software teams across the company.

Ive is listed in roughly 750 patents, and Juniper Research says his design for the smart watch "will be the benchmark for the category going forward."

And while the Apple Watch is marketed largely as a consumer device, it has tremendous appeal as a business tool. The device comes equipped with tracking features to help marketers better target consumers nearby. An Apple Watch's wearer can be tracked via Bluetooth and iBeacon technology as he moves around stores, shopping malls, or city streets; his whereabouts can be shared with local retailers, who can then send him targeted offers. The wearer can respond to those offers by making purchases with Apple Pay, a mobile wallet application that is standard on the Apple Watch.

Perhaps even more significant from a business perspective are the dozens of Apple Watch mobile apps either developed by Apple directly or by third-party providers. First out of the gate was Salesforce.com, which in late March—a full month before the official release of the Apple Watch—announced Salesforce for Apple Watch, establishing itself as the first CRM vendor with a clear set of plans for the new wearable device. The inaugural version supports the Salesforce Analytics Cloud and Salesforce1 Mobile App.

Goodsnitch wasn't far behind with its launch of Express Feedback for the Apple Watch, a free mobile app that lets users locate nearby businesses and provide real-time feedback on products, services, and employees.

SAP also launched versions of its mobile business applications for the Apple Watch. InMarket is looking to deepen the Apple Watch's integration with iBeacon with an app that will allow the watch to work directly with its shopping app, List Ease. And TapSense is working on an app that will enable ads to be sent directly to the watches.

Not surprisingly, Twitter and Facebook offer apps that enable users to manage their social media presence right from their wrists. Others with apps already in the Apple Watch pipeline include American Airlines, Starwood Hotels, Pinterest, BMW, Honeywell, and Nike.

These apps will be part of the Apple Watch's long-term appeal, predicts Jeff Kagan, a wireless industry analyst. "This kind of device will likely grow in popularity over the next several years," Kagan adds. 

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