On the left, there are those who will love Apple Watch, use it as a handy utility extension of the iPhone, and wear it as the luxury bauble it can be. On the right, there are those who hate anything by Apple, decry the design, and predict failure. Which group is right?
The Love Hate Relationship
It’s a trick question. Neither group is actually ‘right‘ about Apple Watch. Because the Watch will not sell in numbers to match the iPhone, it will be called a failure.
Conversely, the Watch has plenty of utility, considering it’s a first version, works seamlessly with the popular iPhone, and has luxury and customization options that embarrass competitors.
Whether critics buy an Apple Watch and dismiss it as an unnecessary bauble is not important.
What is important is whether enough iPhone customers will buy Watch, and how they will use it. I see it as an extension of my iPhone, but with a touch of luxury you don’t see in products elsewhere.
Let’s face it. Watches are passé to a whole generation of iPhone users. Maybe Apple thinks they can change a few notions with some friendly features and strikingly attractive designs.
At a base level, watches are utilitarian. They tell the time. But not much more. At another level, watches are fashion statements, often luxuries.
Most of the money made in the watch industry is with luxury brands that are priced $300 and far above. There’s not much money to be made with watches priced lower, and as much as Apple likes to design and build cool products, the company also likes to make money.
Pretty, But Is It Useful?
Let’s not deny that Apple’s approach to the Watch is brilliant. It’s both utilitarian and geeky, but it seems to wear well as a fashion statement, what with customizable screens, multiple models, multiple watchbands. The 18kt gold model moves it into luxury territory.
But is it useful?
I think it is and will become more so over time as battery life improves and third party applications form a long line of useful functions.
Think of the number of times during the course of a day when you have to drag your iPhone out of your pocket or purse. Why? Because that’s where it lives and you need to check Mail, Tweet, visit Facebook, browse a website, answer a call, check on Notifications, view a Map and directions, check the weather– and any of the gazillion reasons we use an iPhone.
Apple just found a way to keep the phone in the pocket or purse yet give you quick access to important information without the hassle of rooting around to find it. Flip the wrist over and some of what you use an iPhone for becomes instantly viewable, visible, usable.
There’s value in that proposition. Is it enough value to make millions of Apple-loving customers buy the Watch? Time will tell (pun intended), but my guess is a qualified ‘yes.’
What is it about Apple Watch which will prove the critics wrong (and note that those critical of Apple Watch are the exact same crowd who criticized the iPhone and iPad when they launched; haters hate, you know)?
They won’t be proved wrong by sales numbers or marketshare numbers. They will be proved wrong by a few million satisfied customers, which is Apple’s forte. They’ll shout, ‘You don’t need an Apple Watch.” They’re correct. It’s not a product you need. It’s a product you’re likely to want– if usability makes it worthy of purchase.
As is often the case with new Apple products, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. How is Watch any different?
Finally, there are some concerns. Battery life. Watch must positively absolutely last all day and into the night. Anything less and the convenience factor becomes an inconvenient factor. Some of us charge our iPhones during the day, but having to do the same for a watch is a deal breaker.
Also, how durable and luxurious will Watch be after a few years. Many of us have more than one watch, often a luxury watch or two ($300 and above) and we expect those watches to last 10 to 20 years or more. Will the Watch still be a viable luxury and utility item in three years? Five years? Or, has Apple created another treadmill product which requires us to purchase a new one every three to five years?