Apple Watch SE & Family Setup aims for a slice of the kids GPS tracker market

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2020
By aiming at both parents and children, Apple's Family Setup and Apple Watch SE will disrupt the kids' GPS tracking market -- and parents should consider the device as an ersatz first iPhone.

Parents can now track their kids using Family Setup and Apple Watch
Parents can now track their kids using Family Setup and Apple Watch


It doesn't initially seem like there's much of an overlap between the Apple Watch SE plus Family Setup, and GPS trackers for children. They seem especially like very different markets when you can get such a tracker for around 30 bucks.

Apple will surely never sell anything for that price -- at least, perhaps not until it comes out with "AirTags" -- but yet again, Apple may be looking at the bigger picture. If you run a company selling children's GPS trackers, nothing Apple announced at its September 15, 2020 event will have alarmed you.

But it should.

That's because Apple is really smart at looking at what people want and need, sometimes before they even realize it themselves. And Apple could be looking at the human side of this children's GPS tracking market.

Pretty much all such products seem to be aimed at the parents who are going to buy them, but Apple may be thinking of the children who will carry them around. If you're a kid, there is very little incentive beyond good behavior to make you remember to carry a GPS tracker with you.

Whereas if that tracker is an Apple Watch, no child will never leave their house without it.

It's not just about tracking

Without question, a child who knows about the Apple Watch SE and Family Setup will far sooner press their parents for it than they would a regular GPS tracker. Don't ever underestimate the power of the child market for devices they can't actually afford themselves.

Only, it is not as if this ability to know where your children are is the sole thing that is on their mind or yours. There's also a concern about their education, about their ability to have -- as Apple put it -- "greater independence," while you have "reassurance."

At some point, you're going to buy your children a phone. And Apple has just pushed that moment back at least a while.

For Family Setup to work, your child must have an LTE Apple Watch and that does mean they have their own phone number. It also means they have their own data plan, even if you kindly pay for it, but you don't have to buy them an iPhone.

Detail of how Family Setup works on iOS
Detail of how Family Setup works on iOS


This does push Apple's price up even further. Quite apart from the cost of the cell plan, which might be ten bucks a month, the need for LTE means Apple Watch SE starts at $329. For comparison, the iPhone SE, inarguably a wider-use device, retails for $399. But, more on that iPhone SE in a bit.

That is the least expensive Apple Watch you can use Family Setup with, too. This is because the lower-cost Apple Watch Series 3 is no longer available with LTE.

The Apple Watch SE as a first Apple Device

By being able to make calls, send messages, and do just about everything a phone can offer bar web browsing, children won't need an iPhone. If you were previously looking at the cost of a GPS tracker and a phone, Apple has just altered the playing field.

The battle with children in regards to Internet content isn't an openly hostile one most times. In our experience, children are like water in this regard -- if there is a gap in filters or security, a child will find it by accident or design.

We are advocates of using the Internet with children as an educational venue, and less so for mindless entertainment. With that Apple Watch SE as "baby's first iPhone" so to speak, your child cannot get to sites you wouldn't want them to see for whatever reason you see fit.

This allows for a scenario for saving that iPad or upgrade-waterfall iPhone for the living room, under supervision. Even the remarkably good YouTube Kids app has gaps and holes in content filtering, and they will be found. If they find these gaps while you're there, the discussion about what was just seen can be had in real time.

Even though the Apple Watch SE costs less than an iPhone SE, and is inescapably much more expensive than a solitary GPS tracker would be, it also has compelling mix of advantages over either device, from a parenting perspective.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    In today's world it seems that kids are either inside the house or somewhere outside of the neighborhood -- because kids have to go on "play dates" now instead of just rolling out of their front door to play.

    So, giving parents the ability to know where they are and the kids the ability to call home (having a dime in their pocket doesn't do much without pay phones!) is a MAJOR upgrade.  

    I wish we had this back when my grandson was in younger.   Eventually, we had to buy him an iPhone to get the same functionality:   His mom had resisted for a year or two.  But, one day he took off with friends and they had no idea where he was, when (or if) he was coming back or anyway to get in touch with him.  A couple hours of panic convinced her that he needed an iPhone!   But a watch would have been easier and better.
    ronnBeatscornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Can the Watch SE detect if your going to have a heart attack like the 6 Series can?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    Can the Watch SE detect if your going to have a heart attack like the 6 Series can?

    LOL.... 
    Was that a serious question?  
    ... Because neither can.  And neither has Apple ever claimed or even insinuated that the Apple Watch can.  In fact, they categorically state that it CANNOT!

    Now, getting back to the thread which is about families, parents and kids.....
    StrangeDaysronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    pulseimages said:
    Can the Watch SE detect if your going to have a heart attack like the 6 Series can?


    Public Service Announcement

    None of Apple's current devices are capable of "Detecting a Heart Attack". This includes all new products that Apple announced yesterday.



    StrangeDaysronnGeorgeBMacjdb8167beowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    I’d like to know more detail about the School Time mode. 
    Does it only work with an SE Watch? Will Series 3 work?
    Can it be used without Family Setup? I.e. without a parents iPhone.

    My son has an iPhone, but an Apple Watch with School Time mode might be a good buy for him too...
    Currently his school won’t allow smart watches, but maybe they will relent with School Time mode...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    Can the Watch SE detect if your going to have a heart attack like the 6 Series can?
    Now that the "smartalecs" have had their laugh, I guess your main point was that does the SE offer the same safety/health feature as the 6. I would imagine the latest blood oxygen sensor is exclusive to the 6, but the heart rate monitor and other features of the 5 should be there...
    Anyone care to help out/chime in? Thanks. 
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Fall detection and the ability to call 911 are features that parents would pay for. 

    These may have a slower replacement cycle but allow for hand me downs which will speed up the replacement cycle for the pricier models. 

    Altogether a time who’s idea’s come :-)


    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,532member
    In my opinion, they really dropped the ball by not offering bright colors and not hitting the lowest price point.

    I think the SE will be popular among adults and the Series 3 will be popular for kids.

    Apple Watch SE $279 - For adults on a budget.
    Apple Watch Series 3 $199 - For your kids.

    It makes no sense to buy kids the mid tier. Apple could have announced 5C-style colors or AT LEAST announced some kids series of bands like licensed cartoons (Spongebob, Disney etc.) and bright colored bands. They really fu**ed this one up.
    aderutter
  • Reply 9 of 13
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,120member
    I think it is far too pricey to be used mainly as a tracker. And AW is much more than that.  That said The cost for a family of five would be..scary.
    Maybe after years of hand me downs, although by then the ankle biters would have grown up and have kids of their own.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    Beats said:
    In my opinion, they really dropped the ball by not offering bright colors and not hitting the lowest price point.

    I think the SE will be popular among adults and the Series 3 will be popular for kids.

    Apple Watch SE $279 - For adults on a budget.
    Apple Watch Series 3 $199 - For your kids.

    It makes no sense to buy kids the mid tier. Apple could have announced 5C-style colors or AT LEAST announced some kids series of bands like licensed cartoons (Spongebob, Disney etc.) and bright colored bands. They really fu**ed this one up.
    What you said would make sense expect you can't do the tracking with the 3. You have to have 4 or greater. Any adults buying them for a child would have to get the SE.
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    Beats said:
    In my opinion, they really dropped the ball by not offering bright colors and not hitting the lowest price point.

    I think the SE will be popular among adults and the Series 3 will be popular for kids.

    Apple Watch SE $279 - For adults on a budget.
    Apple Watch Series 3 $199 - For your kids.

    It makes no sense to buy kids the mid tier. Apple could have announced 5C-style colors or AT LEAST announced some kids series of bands like licensed cartoons (Spongebob, Disney etc.) and bright colored bands. They really fu**ed this one up.
    Agree with you on the main point you are making. However there is one major issue with thinking the Series 3 will be for the kids - it won't work with family setup. Perhaps they should have raised the low end up from a Series 3 to a Series 4 thereby making their entire offering compatible.
    Beatsronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    entropys said:
    I think it is far too pricey to be used mainly as a tracker. And AW is much more than that.  That said The cost for a family of five would be..scary.
    Maybe after years of hand me downs, although by then the ankle biters would have grown up and have kids of their own.

    Too pricey?   It's far cheaper than the cost of lost kid!
    First the parents would have to pay for Ambulances and time the ER for their heart attacks
    Then the same bills all over again for when they find the kid and beat him half to death
    Then legal bills to defend against child abuse...

    Nah, the watch would be cheaper.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,532member
    Naiyas said:
    Beats said:
    In my opinion, they really dropped the ball by not offering bright colors and not hitting the lowest price point.

    I think the SE will be popular among adults and the Series 3 will be popular for kids.

    Apple Watch SE $279 - For adults on a budget.
    Apple Watch Series 3 $199 - For your kids.

    It makes no sense to buy kids the mid tier. Apple could have announced 5C-style colors or AT LEAST announced some kids series of bands like licensed cartoons (Spongebob, Disney etc.) and bright colored bands. They really fu**ed this one up.
    Agree with you on the main point you are making. However there is one major issue with thinking the Series 3 will be for the kids - it won't work with family setup. Perhaps they should have raised the low end up from a Series 3 to a Series 4 thereby making their entire offering compatible.

    Wow, I thought family setup worked with ALL Watches.

    That raises another problem. HOW MANY parents will know this? They will see price and assume.
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