There will be those who flock to buy the new Apple Watch. Like zombies under a spell they will rush for the latest Apple trinket. I have heard media commentator after commentator get all hot under the collar about this new device. Are they under “the spell”?
This particular Apple trinket will not succeed and hit the mainstream like the wildly successful iPhone, the iPod and the iPad. In fact, one site went as far as calling it “A flop. A failure. A fiasco.” I agree, and here are four reasons why:
1. Dismal battery life, by watch standards
The battery lasts for 18 hours, or 72 hours on “reserve mode”. Some sites say that Apple’s time estimations are actually shorter. Yes, for a phone that’s impressive, but for a watch it’s dismal. Every day you have to take your Apple Watch off and charge it. So now that’s another trinket you need to worry about and yet another daily task. What a hassle. I want to wear my watch, and forget about it, not have a new device that I have to fuss about.
2. We want simplicity, not more noise and complication
Our phones tell the time, download mail, are GPSes, act as health devices…and, and, and. Do we really need another device that does this too? I have not worn a watch since cellphones arrived because they are perfectly good timekeepers. Why do I need another device if my phone does it already?
3. First gen technology
The watch is bulky and fat, and it’s First Gen technology. My bet is most consumers will want to wait a few generations to see how the watch shapes up. We will be waiting for 2.0 or 4.0, which will most likely be thinner, better and cheaper (and still you will question whether you should buy it). We are in the throes of a battery and storage revolution, so given the Apple Watch’s limitations, maybe we should wait till we are further into the revolution. The cost is also high, reflecting first gen technology. These watches should practically be given away.
4. Answering calls from your watch
Apple CEO Tim Cook got really excited about this: “I have wanted to do this since I was five years old,” he gushed. Why am I less excited? Maybe because I am not five years old and I realise that while this is a nice gimmick, it is hardly practical. You can see it now: Answering a call in most public spaces will probably go something like this: “Hello, Hi, I can’t hear you that well because you are on my Apple Watch, and need some privacy. Hang on, let me transfer you to my phone so we can have a better call”. How pointless.
And here is one reason why the watch may appeal to some:
1. Health and fitness
The one area where this device could succeed is in the health and fitness arena. Many runners and joggers prefer a watch-like device rather than running with their bulky phones. The inbuilt GPS may mean Apple-loving runners will be tempted to replace their Garmins with the new device (until they figure out that they still need their iPhone for most functions). There will be questions about the accuracy of the watch’s sensors, and one also gets the feeling that we are dealing with very early tech.
So what is going on here? It seems that this is really a story about Tim Cook. Cook has been desperate to usher in “his era”, make his mark, and to show the world that Apple can innovate without legendary Apple CEO Steve Jobs. One gets the sense that the company may be more lost in this story than the story of providing useful devices that consumers need.
The Apple Watch will sell, and it will sell to the Apple Zombies… ahem, I mean diehard fans. But the masses will shun this device, and it will flop. Think carefully before you buy.
DISCLOSURE: Matthew Buckland holds shares in Apple and loves his iPhone and iPad. (Maybe he should sell these shares now).