I had. Big whoop, right? Watch is coming. Apple is advertising. What’s the surprise? As it turns out, there was a surprise in the Watch TV commercials. Production values were typical Apple and displayed both function and form. For 60-seconds.
What Price Convenience?
The Apple Watch commercials I saw on television over the weekend were 60-seconds in length; double the typical 30-seconds for iPhone, iPad, and Mac commercials. Why so long?
Apple Watch will be a tough sell (compared to iPhone and iPad), but for different reasons. Watch is a fashionable convenience device.
Sure, any watch with a few diamonds or expensive band is all about that sweet spot of fashion and convenience. Hey, a watch tells time; some tell the date, a few expensive ones might tell altitude or location.
A watch at the low end of the product spectrum is about convenience. More expensive watches are more about fashion. Since Watch starts at $349, Apple bridges the segment that separates convenience devices from fashion statements– but adds more convenience.
More convenience means more complicated interface and more complications mean more education. You’ll need to learn to use an Apple Watch in ways you did not learn how to use iPhone or iPad.
Why? Before the iPhone, most of us hated our smartphones. They just were not all that smart. The iPhone was so smart it was easy and mostly intuitive to use. Finger, meet screen. Tablets were hated by users until the iPad came along. Finger, meet bigger screen.
Watch is Apple’s most ‘Think Different™’ major product ever in that it’s not as intuitive as Mac (point and click) or iPhone and iPad (touch). That does not mean Watch won’t be a successful product, or even a tough sell. Remember, it’s fashion and convenience. And it’s Apple.
Watch requires an iPhone to work properly, but that’s not a deal breaker at all. Familiarity will help new users, but the controls and navigation require a learning curve. Force Touch provides tactic feedback when the screen is pressed (if you haven’t tried Force Touch on the new MacBook Pro trackpads, you’re in for a surprise treat).
The Digital Crown only works at specific times. The side button has a single function. Navigating from one screen to another is different than on iPhone and iPad. Even the use case for owning a Watch is different than the reasons for owning an iPhone (which is different than owning an iPad), hence Apple’s need for longer television commercials, more in-store handholding than normal (appointments), and a growing number of online videos that teach how to use Watch.
To a great degree, iPhone and iPad, are standalone devices which are little more than a modern, smaller, mobile Mac that makes phone calls or is easily carried and used by anyone from pre-school to retirement age. Watch is different. It’s convenient in the same way that a watch is convenient to tell time, but in a way where a car’s steering wheel controls are more convenient than similar controls elsewhere on the car’s dashboard.
And, Watch retains the fashion statement of more expensive watches (those which begin with price tags north of $400; that segment where the watch industry makes most of its money). ‘Think Different’ for Apple Watch also means ‘learn different.’ That Watch will be a success is a foregone conclusion. Apple will sell tens of millions, and over a few years, hundreds of millions of Watch models. It’s attractive, fashionable, useful, convenient, and integrates well with a product ecosystem that has hundreds of millions of users.
Unlike the initial iPhone and iPad models, Watch has a learning curve of a different color.