What do real customers think of Watch? Most of what I’ve read from Watch users, and obtained first-hand from friends, co-workers, and a few family members who have finally received theirs, is this– they love it. Here’s why?
With apologies to candidate Bill Clinton’s “It’s the economy, stupid” as the rallying cry to supporters back in 1992, “It’s the eco-system, sweetie.” Apple Watch’s value is simple. The total experience is greater than the sum of the parts; parts which include integration with Apple’s growing and dominant eco-system of devices and services.
Apple has a long and storied history of upending and disrupting technology industries which have lost their way and stagnated. This kind of market upheaval goes back to the original Apple models, the Mac itself, then iPod, retail stores, iTunes Music, iPhone, iPad, and now, Apple Watch.
What’s happening to Watch is a bit different yet strangely similar and familiar to previous Apple product launches. Critics scoffed at Apple’s retail stores. They decried the iPod as too little for too much. iTunes Music Store was laughed at.
Along came iPhone, and despite the heady market topping presence the iPhone has today, it wasn’t always that way. iPhone was treated to howls of derision from the tech community. But customers love it. Ditto for iPad. And, now Watch.
It took many years for the Mac to mature as a product line (and one could argue that more than 30 years later, the Mac finally is mature and acceptable to mainstream computer users. Even the iPod took years to gain dominance. Ditto for iTunes Music Store which started life as Mac only. The iPhone was not an overnight success, but became successful after a few years as the ecosystem grew and the device became an affordable luxury for the masses.
How is Watch different? Time compression. Watch benefits from a rapidly maturing and extensive ecosystem of services and hardware, so, right at the start, Watch has thousands of iPhone apps with extensions to provide functionality that goes far beyond what came with the original iPod and the original iPhone. Relatively speaking, in just weeks after launch, Watch benefits from rapid and deep integration into that growing, robust, and vibrant ecosystem.
The end result should be obvious, and seems so to most of us who’ve used Watch for a month. It’s addictive. It’s comfortable. It’s useful. It’s attractive. It fits into the 21st century lifestyle with greater ease and in a shorter amount of time than any product in Apple history.
What is happening to Watch is the full scale time compression of all the steps that took place with Mac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad. It’s the same path with similar expectations and similar experiences– all squeezed into a much shorter time period.
For the next few years, Watch will be the smartwatch for competitors to copy, maybe even leapfrog; but Watch is the standard. It won’t sell as many units as iPhone (you need an iPhone to use it), obviously, but it will become a more standardized and integral device within Apple’s ecosystem in a shorter period of time than any other Apple product.