Google. Samsung. Motorola. Sony. LG. Pebble –– the list goes on and on for companies that have attempted to create and market a successful smartwatch. So far none have succeeded, except perhaps Pebble…a bit. The Apple Watch will succeed, though, providing you take Wall Street’s word as gospel, and no one seems to know why this is the case… and that’s a bit weird.
I watched the launch event and struggled to see why I’d need an Apple Watch. I’ve tested a bunch of smartwatches this year and found them all fairly substandard. None possessed a killer feature and once they’d ran out of juice, a thing that happened far too regularly for something that’s supposed to be a watch, I kind of just stopped using them and reverted back to my phone for all my time-based needs.
And this appears to be the case for the Apple Watch too, as noted by The New York Times: “For now, the dreams are hampered by the harsh realities of a new device. The Watch is not an iPhone on your wrist. It has a different set of input mechanisms — there’s the digital crown, a knob used for scrolling and zooming, and a touch screen that can be pressed down harder for extra options. There is no full on-screen keyboard, so outbound messages are confined to a set of default responses, emoji and, when you’re talking to other Watch users, messages that you can draw or tap.”
The Apple Watch does look nice, I’ll admit that. But no more so than the recently announced Pebble Time Steel. It costs a lot too, around £300 for the base level Sport model. And then there’s the Apple Watch Edition that will set you back £8000. I mean, who in their right mind would pay THAT much money for a piece of consumer electronics that probably won’t work in six years time? Don’t worry, though, that one apparently isn’t meant for mere mortals like you and me –– it’s for the super-rich and famous. Anyone outside the 1%, however, can “view” the Apple Watch Edition at select Apple Stores, though it will be locked away inside a glass box to keep your disgusting, grubby, proletariat fingers from smudging and/or stealing it.
And even if you could afford this kind of luxury –– congratulations, if you can, by the way –– would you seriously spend it on a first-generation smartwatch? I could have all the money in the world and see this is an exercise in pure futility. I’d rather spend my cash on a Rolex or a piece of artwork, something that’d hold its value. Hell, you could even put a deposit on a house or a flat for that much.
I mean the whole thing stinks of elitism. What does buying an Apple Watch Edition even say about you as a person? That you have more money than sense, seems like the most likely conclusion. This is a product for celebs and millionaires and footballers who, lest we forget, will likely be given these Edition watches gratis in order to raise its profile and persuade the non-famous landed elite into an impulse buy. It is so bizarre it almost feels irresponsible for a company like Apple, usually a vocal champion of the arts and liberal values, to produce something so abhorrently decadent.
I get that its limited edition and that limited things, like gold, tend to hold their value. I’m also not very knowledgable about jewellery and living the high-life, so while I will admit the Edition may hold –– and perhaps even appreciate –– in value, I’m still fairly certain that if anyone was putting money into something as an investment one of the last things they’d look at is consumer electronics, unless, of course, they were buying shares in a consumer electronics company.
I guess a lot of this will depend on just how SCARCE the Apple Watch Edition turns out to be.
The Apple Watch Edition was faced with opposition inside Apple HQ, however, as execs were worried it would make the company appear, well, a bit up its own arse. Former Apple SVP of technologies Bob Mansfield told The New Yorker that Ive faced “a lot of resistance” because Apple’s goal has traditionally been to “build products for everybody.”
“But Ive won the argument, and in 2013 the company announced the high-level appointments of Angela Ahrendts, the former C.E.O. of Burberry, and Paul Deneve, the former C.E.O. of the Yves Saint Laurent Group.”
Moral of the story? Now Steve’s gone, you DO NOT MESS WITH THE IVE.
The saving grace of the Apple Watch –– well, the Apple Watch and the Apple Watch Sport –– is that, yes, they do look really nice and, because they’ve been designed so meticulously from the ground up, they will probably function perfectly. I don’t even think the 19 hours battery life will bother most advocates of the watch, either. I’d definitely be interested in knowing more about Apple’s update plans, though –– will we get new Apple Watch designs every year, or is this a once-every-couple-of-years product cycle?
As for features, yeah, the Apple Watch has a few nifty tricks up its sleeve but none are essential and certainly nothing that could be considered a KILLER USP for the smartwatch concept, which, since its inception, has consistently failed to live up the image peddled by tech companies hell bent on increasing their revenues by shifting more products.
Apple does need a new product line though. The company, as many pundits have pointed out in 2014, is dangerously reliant on the iPhone. The addition of the Apple Watch is an insanely risky move for the company. Partly because of the cost involved in developing and producing such a device, but mostly because smartwatches, generally speaking, have all the charm and charisma 3D TVs had a few years back.
But, as Andrew Flintoff famously said to everybody inside a Morrison’s store once up on a time: PEOPLE WILL COME!
“It’s going to be a successful product for Apple,” said Colin Gillis, technology analyst at BGC Partners. “They are going to sell millions of them. But even then they will be less than 10% of revenues and an even smaller percentage of profits. This is still the iPhone company.”
I have no doubt that millions will buy the Apple Watch. I also think it looks lovely too. But the same could be said about a lot of things most people can do without. I don’t see Apple reinventing the wheel here, as it did with the iPad and the iPhone. All I’m getting is that it looks nice and has a few tricks inside it that may or may not come in handy to a user, providing they don’t mind A) talking to their wrist or B) fannying around on a teeny tiny screen to issue commands.
I don’t mind using my iPhone. It’s not a chore. I don’t spend too much time on it… and if I did my solution would be to just stop using my phone as much. Not buy an Apple Watch.