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Move Over Millennials

No Jitter has numerous blogs, Eric Krapf's recent article for example, speculating on the impact Millennials are having on the workplace. But there is a new generation, the one right behind the Millennials, that is impacting technology decisions.

They do not have their own smartphones yet -- they are too young. Maybe they will be known as the Watch generation, as in Apple Watch.

My wife and I were among the first to receive our Apple Watches. I confess to getting up at 2 AM to place our orders. A little crazy perhaps, but I was in need of a birthday gift for my software engineer wife and I wanted to play around with the new user interface. (I couldn't just order one for her, could I?)

Since they've arrived to our wrists, we've been frequently approached by people wanting to talk about our Apple Watches. The biggest surprise has been the interest shown by children under 12. Case in point, we were recently attending a wedding when a child spotted our watches from across the table and came over with his dad in tow so he could question us about it. They were very good questions related to some of the features; he wanted to see how it worked. He was also very familiar with the prices. Meanwhile his father sat silently by, later confessing to being clueless about even the existence of the Watch.

It is common today to see couples dining out, their young child watching a movie or playing a game on an iPad. Combine great visuals with headphones and that child can be transported to their own virtual world -- just add some fries and maybe some chicken nuggets and the parents are home free to enjoy their meal.

Introduced to iPhone and iPad technology by their parents as playthings, this younger generation has grown up with these devices serving as electronic babysitters for car rides and restaurant outings. A generation a little older, the Millennial generation, was termed digital natives, a reference to growing up with digital technology. But this younger generation has grown up with iPhones and iPads as handheld entertainment devices. For them, downloading and using apps is second nature. Parents holding out usage as a form of reward has only added to the mystique and prestige of using these devices. Adding to this dynamic is the state-of-the-art Apple commercials that are filled with compelling visual imagery and catchy music - not to mention the Apple Watch, a new, cool category of technology to join the pantheon of the beloved iPad and iPhone toys.

There is another factor that has this younger audience captivated with this technology. Industry analyst Phil Edholm, founder and president of PKE Consulting, speculates that this is the first generation not trying to overcome the traditional concept of a watch. They see the people around them using phones to tell time, so they are not trying to reposition the concept of a watch.

Okay, so we've all heard that Millennials want mobile ... yawn, so what? The rest of us want mobility, too. Members of this new, young generation are making their opinions known, and are already clamoring for their own iPhones and iPads. If they are not advising their parents to buy an Apple Watch, they want one for themselves. Despite not having a "budget," this new generation is already influencing home technology purchasing decisions. So I have to wonder, what is going to be their impact as they get older? How will they impact the enterprise?