The Core Dump

You can’t undo this action

[By Nic Lindh on Thursday, 11 September 2014]

The WATCH is nigh, and I don't get it

Nic tries to understand the WATCH. It doesn't go well.

Turns out I’m a terrible Apple precog and despite my convictions that the hype must mean something grander was afoot, the products Apple announced at its Sept. 9 event were straight out of what the rumor mill had skried: New iPhones, a grab bag of smaller announcements, and of course the WATCH.

The phones make sense. Bigger, faster, stronger, etc.

But I have a hard time with the WATCH. It’s just what you would expect if Apple were to enter the smartwatch market: A much nicer version of what’s already out there, poised to occupy the high end of the market.

I had assumed they would aim higher than that, and I don’t get how large the market Apple is going for is. For a company that habitually sells umpteen millions of things, it seems very niche. For example, according to Apple there are more than 200 million iPhone 5 and up in the world. That’s the kind of market Apple has.

And no, this isn’t a “random nerd on the Internet knows better than Apple” post; it’s a “random nerd on the Internet doesn’t understand what Apple is doing” post.

Apple’s leadership know their business. It would be arrogant beyond belief to assume they don’t. Which means they know something I don’t. Because I can’t see the smartwatch market being large enough to bet the company on.

A smartwatch is a consumer electronics product, one you discard for the next, better, version after a few years, while fancy watches (or, “haute horlogerie,” which apparently are two real words used by English-speaking humans) are things you purchase and hope to pass on to your children at some point.

I can’t see the overlap there.

And the next time you’re at a high school or university campus, look at people’s wrists: these days they’re even devoid of yellow Live Strong armbands. It seems like a high bar to set for yourself that you’re going to get the masses to spend $350 and more on an iPhone-only accessory that requires you to pick up new habits.

At this point I can only assume Apple knows things I don’t, and it will be very interesting to watch this play out.

As to myself, I’m already a Pebble nerd, so of course I’m buying an WATCH the second I can punch my credit card into a Web form for it. But I’m not so sure about the rest of the world.

Interesting times.

« Apple might enter the home integration field

 »


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