Apple Defines Wearables as Fashionable Computing

Avi Greengart / October 1st, 2014

Apple pioneered the PC, the mouse-driven PC, the digital music player, the modern laptop, the smartphone, and the tablet. Steve Jobs directed the creation of each of these transformative products, collaborating with Steve Wozniak, Jon Rubinstein, Jony Ive, and others along the way. Apple is now entering Wearables without Steve Jobs at the helm – though Jony Ive’s fingerprints are all over the Apple Watch (literally. The Apple Watch is a fingerprint magnet). Along with several other Techpinions columnists and a few thousand journalists, Apple employees, and Apple guests, I attended the launch and got hands on with several Apple Watches.

A Strange Way To Launch a Product (for Apple)

Apple famously limits the number and type of products it works on. When it enters a new product category, like smartwatches or tablets, it explains what it thinks is wrong with the existing products and what role its device will fill. Apple also often curates use cases for a new product, and opens it up for apps and features later. The original iPod had fewer features than the competition; it took years before FM radio was added. The first iPhone was described as a phone, an iPod, and a web browser – the App Store did not come until a full year later. The context portion of Apple’s launch monologue typically explains why a minimalist approach makes sense. The limited functionality allows consumers to understand precisely what the problems the product is designed to solve – even consumers did not realize they had that problem before Apple pointed it out.

That is not how Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the Apple Watch. Like Samsung or Google or Asus, Tim Cook simply said Apple is building a watch. He then went on to describe endless features – exceptionally accurate timekeeping, interactive watch faces, fitness tracking, notifications, Siri dictation, GPS directions, Apple Pay, hotel access, BMW integration, watch-to-watch communication, and more. Rather than take the less-is-more approach – with more-is-more over time — Apple jumped straight to the more-is-more stage. This part reminded me of the iPad launch. However, the iPad really was “just” a larger iPod touch – and it was fair to say that consumers understood the value proposition of iOS apps on a larger display. That isn’t the case for apps on watches.

Consumers need concrete reason to buy things, especially new things; Apple may try to rectify this closer to launch. Google has not explained to consumers why they need an Android Wear watch, and mainstream consumers are not buying them. Samsung has not explained why consumers should buy one of its Tizen watches, and they are not selling, either (Samsung stuffed the channel with the first generation Galaxy Gear, but many ended up being given away with purchase of a Samsung TV or smartphone). Note: the reason to buy an Apple Watch is crystal clear for early adopters – get the first Apple Watch! I’ll discuss that below.

In Apple’s conception, a smartwatch does not solve a limited set of problems, it is intended to be a computing platform that combines fashion and a unique user interface. While Apple is prioritizing timekeeping, watch-to-watch communication, and fitness, Apple does not really know which watch apps will appeal to consumers – the apps have not been written yet. The Apple Watch will not be available for at least a few months, and it was announced now to give developers time to write apps. (The fact that it stalls consumers from buying rival smartwatches is a really nice bonus.) This launch was as much an appeal to developers as it was a pitch to consumers.

So What is the Rationale Behind the Apple Watch?

Tim Cook didn’t explain why Apple said “yes” to the watch and “no” to all the other things Apple could have built instead. So I’ll provide three:

  1. 1. Apple SVP Design Jony Ive wanted to wear a watch that he and his staff designed. I’m completely serious. Apple is unlike any other consumer technology company in that its products do not always start as ideas from Engineering or Marketing, they often come from Design. Vendors competing with Apple tend to be organized differently, and their product focus and prioritization of attributes within those products reflect it.
  2. 2. Apple strongly believes in the power of new user interfaces to create new categories. Once the design staff decided to investigate watches as a potential product, they not only did research on horology, but on user interface design. The combination of touch, force touch (pressing down harder invokes secondary options), and using the crown for variable zooming is different from any of the existing smartwatches. Does it work? We’ll see. But Apple believes that this opens up new possibilities for small-scale app design.
  3. 3. Apple is capitulating to demand for larger phones, and that opens up the opportunity for limited computing experiences at times when pulling out a large device from your pocket or purse is unwieldy. For example, Apple Pay is built into the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch, but it makes a lot more sense on your wrist. Fitness tracking is easier on your wrist. Looking up directions is better on a phone, but following directions on your wrist is fantastic. This is similar to the reason Apple gave for building a tablet, as there are times when a phone is too little and a laptop is overly fixed and complex.

Key Attributes of the Apple Watch

It is a fashion device first. It is expensive – there are three collections (with six watch band options), and they start at $349. The gold version could be priced in the stratosphere: it’s real gold. No other vendor has paid this much attention to the style of the case and especially the straps, which are simply design masterpieces. There are two sizes – small and large 38 mm and 42 mm, and even the larger model is smaller than most competing smartwatches. No other smartwatch even offers a smaller, more female-friendly option. On the wrist, the Apple Watch looks much smaller than it appears in photos. Apple has also put a tremendous amount of effort into making the watch faces beautiful. Some are interactive. No smartwatch competitor has anything like this.

It’s a computing device second. The user interface combines touches, swipes, “force touch” (pressing harder), a side button, and a side scroll wheel/home button. Creating text is simplified with watch-generated short responses or with dictation (I was not able to get a live demo of this, but if it works well, it will significantly enhance usability.) No one thing is central to the Apple Watch – the concept of apps is the central conceit. This is similar to the iPhone (after the App Store was launched) and the iPad. Timekeeping is not central to the Apple Watch any more than phone calls are central to the iPhone. The Apple watch offers fitness tracking, navigation, notifications, NFC for Apple Pay, and much more. Two users with Apple Watches can send each other drawings and a haptic simulation of their heartbeat.

It is a phone companion (for now) requiring an iPhone 5 or better. The Watch does have its own processor and storage, so it can be used untethered for fitness tracking, music, and some apps. However, GPS, messaging, and anything requiring cellular connectivity will not work when out of Bluetooth range from an iPhone. Battery life is clearly an issue, as the screen turns off when you don’t have your wrist raised, and you’re expected to charge it every night using a magnetic cable. The magnetic connection is elegant, and an improvement on most competitors, though it is another unique cable to pack (and lose) while traveling.

Finally, the Apple Watch indicates the company is moving away from the “i” branding that started with the iMac and became a phenomenon with the iPod. It seems that Apple views the “i” mark as old fashioned and limiting, preferring the Apple mark itself for Apple Pay and Apple Watch.

Assessing Apple Watch Potential

Short term, Apple did not provide mainstream consumers a reason to buy the Apple Watch, but it certainly provided plenty of incentive for Apple early adopters: this is a gorgeous timepiece with a new user interface and endless utility. The pool of tech early adopters has increased significantly over the years; Pebble has sold over a quarter million watches. Apple early adopters are a far (far) larger group than that, and Apple should expect to sell millions of first generation Apple Watches.

Long term, two assumptions must be made. First, that Apple’s user interface works well, and second, that app developers show the value of having computing capabilities on your wrist. Given Apple’s track record with user interfaces and its relationship with developers, both of these conditions are probable. If both are proven true, the Apple Watch will have broad appeal to the installed base of iPhone users. This is a finite pool, though it is large, and some consumers may potentially buy more than one Apple Watch. Apple may make the Apple Watch less dependent on an iPhone in a future version, opening up adoption to consumers who use Android (or Windows) phones.

The biggest driver for mainstream adoption in the second and third generations is likely to be a lower entry price point. However, higher end models – potentially extremely high end – will remain in the line for as long as consumers buy them or they lend the line cachet. Apple could also expand its styles, adding a round design and creating special editions. Apple could also expand the connectivity contained in the watch; while it is unlikely that a watch would replace smartphones for most people, it is certainly conceivable that, sometime in the future, Apple might design a watch that could.

This column was adapted from a Current Analysis report. The full report includes key competitive comparisons and recommendations for Apple, Google, Samsung, Pebble, and MetaWatch.

Avi Greengart

Avi is the Research Director for Consumer Devices at Current Analysis. He is responsible for the Mobile Devices and Digital Home Devices groups, including CurrentCOMPETE (market, company, event, and device competitive analysis) and Wireless Tracking (pricing, promotions, availability, and device feature data and analysis) content.
  • art hackett

    Why would Apple give away all the reasons for the watch before shipping? It’s not 2007 where nobody is expecting a computer company to be able to produce a “phone”. It’s just a teaser that will panic the herd who will desperately try to copy it, but copy what? Apple is already way ahead in every respect even without giving away important details. As expected, the whining and criticism is in full swing and the little nerd heads are exploding everywhere, never mind the Samsung financed headlines. Android where? Who cares?
    I still don’t get the fashion part where crooks and wankers pay far too much money to demonstrate they have it, but why shouldn’t Apple get some, or even most of it? I am disappointed that the longer wearing stainless one is likely to cost far more than I’m prepared to pay though, even if I can swap out the S1 for a 2 or 3 later.
    Too bad Pebble felt the need to get snitty, but Paypal must be soiling their underwear judging by their comments, just because one manager got greedy and took the Scamsung bribe, or it’s the worst ever case of beer goggles and morning regrets.

    • Brian M. Monroe

      There is no reason at all for Apple to show all of the amazing things that the Apple Watch can do but as has been said by others I do think that the thing Apple did want to show off was the digital crown and how the user interface worked in a beta stage. They needed to get that innovation out there so that they could show the world it was theirs 1st before the cheep copies started to come out and others tried to rewrite history by claiming it was their innovation. You are spot on about Apple being way ahead in every respect even for what we currently know.

      “Android where? Who cares?” lol Love it!

      In regards to the fashion part, I can see why Apple is doing it along with branding it an Apple watch and not an iWatch. Apple knows that their brand is really strong at this time and is using that to go upscale and testing the limits on their brand. They are also doing something that no other tech company can do as they are the only tech company that starts with the design 1st and then works out the details so that should lets them make the jump in to fashion without too many problems. Yes I do know that not all models of the Apple Watch will be within reach of most people but that is not the point of fashion. In some cases it is just to flaunt what you have worked hard in some cases to get.

      You are also correct about Pebble and Paypal getting bent out of shape over products that are not even in the marketplace yet. They know that their days are numbered if the future plays out as it has in the past.

      In Paypal’s case they have never been that secure or great of a way to transfer money around. The only reason they existed was because eBay needed a way for consumers to move money around without the complexity of getting a merchant account with a bank. However their track record over the years has not been a good one. While it is a smart move for eBay to split off Paypal it is too little too late. eBay got greedy and was charging their sellers and buyers on both ends with listing and Paypal fees. People are done with that and mostly buy via Amazon now to cut out the nonsense.

      For Pebble, they may have been 1st with a semi successful SmartWatch but as we have seen before just being 1st does not mean that much. Sure it is great for the early nerds that where able to play with it but it is not where the masses are. The key is to time the right product with when the market is ready and it does look like Apple is going to do that with the Apple Watch.

      • art hackett

        Thanks Brian, cheers.

      • Mark Langston

        I believe the single largest reason for losing the ‘i’ moniker was for Cook to cement his legacy in the company. Apple is his baby now, time for him to choose an appropriate name for his offspring.

        And, if for no other reason, it also means the legal department will no longer have to chase down some company in Prague, Zimbabwe or Mississippi trademarking the “iWhatchamacallit” that Apple wants to use for their next product/service.

        What this article failed to mention, however, was the incredibly vast accessory ecosystem that has the potential to be as big or even bigger than the current iPhone case accessory market. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll see custom bands from just about every company, organization, entity or group under the sun.

        Get ready for everything from SpongeBob SquarePants bands to NFL licensees to bands stuffed in Happy Meals. And of course luxury bands from Louis Vuitton, Burberry (naturally), Vera Wang and possibly even Tesla, BMW and Ferrari to name just a scant few.

        Imagine walking into Kay Jewelers and getting a wedding band with a matching Watch band. Or a Nike band (you know that’s coming) with shoes to match; Versace, Stacey Adams, Jimmy Choo and Valentino bands coupled with designer shoes for men and women. And don’t leave out Kanye West, P. Diddy, Will.i.am or the Kardashians who will jump at the chance of designing bands to expand their personal universes to appease their rabid (and arguably mindless) fan base.

        We’ll have bands laced in LEDs, bands that glow in the dark/illuminate under black light (you know, for raves), mood bands, kids’ bands, and rugged bands from Otterbox that swallow the watch whole while protecting it from dust and the elements. I also see a bands that are more bracelet than watch band with big buckles made from seasoned leather.

        Apple’s impeccable and remarkable design choice to snap-off/snap-in for bands is arguably the most ingenious design choice of not just any smartwatch maker but any watchmaker in general.

        No other watch or smartwatch vendor can lay claim to the accessory ecosystem that is set to explode for the Watch that will cement its place as the gold standard in wearable devices… just like laptops, just like MP3 players, just like tablets and just like smartphones.

        And like the iPhone the competition isn’t ready for this jelly.

        • Space Gorilla

          Interesting point about Nike. I wonder if bands in the future could have yet more sensors, include solar charging, and who knows what else. It’s amazing what you can do when your market has money to spend.

          My guess on the switch to ‘Apple’ as part of the name is it’s Apple as a brand going forward that needs to expand into non-tech arenas, and the iStuff just isn’t appropriate, it isn’t large enough, it’s a sub brand.

          • Brian M. Monroe

            My take on the switch to ‘Apple’ is that Apple is a brand that has a lot more legs than any ‘iStuff’. I also agree with Mark that it will be much easier to defend globally for intellectual property. Also ‘iStuff’ normally means something that has something to do with the Internet or at least that’s what it used to mean but in 2014 it really is not needed just like we used to see and hear people say “http://” before they talked about a website. The world has changed and dropping the ‘l’ label just makes sense.

          • Space Gorilla

            Yeah, it’s generally just time to move on. I wonder what they do with iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac? Just leave them as is I guess.

          • Brian M. Monroe

            I am going to take a guess that at some point they may change in to Apple Phone and Apple Pad possibly but time will tell as to what Apple has in mind for their product lines. I am sure that they have a vision for what products they want to introduce and what products they plan on retiring.

            All this reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon where there was lots of concern about the name when in fact it is the product that really matters. Just as long as the name makes sense and it is easy for consumers to make sure that they are purchasing the correct product that is what matters. What I take issue with is the companies that change their product around but do not rev the name or even the SKU so you end up with no easy way to know what you are ordering until you get the item in your hands.

            How many times have you been to a vendors site and they ask if you are using Rev A or B or C of their product? Instead of changing the model number they tack on a Rev letter. It is madness and causes problems trying to support users.

            The only time Apple did this was with the Performa line of products but as long as they did not go back to those days and I do not see that happening it all will be fine.

          • JKL

            No point in dropping the “i”, that makes things more confusing. It would be like dropping the “Macintosh” and just calling all their computers “Apple computer”, at one level it seems simple but you immediately find that names/sub-brands/brands are useful. Imagine buying some bananas, tomates and apples and the only name you can use is “plant”!

          • jfutral

            I think it is the Jobs vs Cook intimated above. I imagine all of Jobs’ Apple products will carry the ‘i’ for as long as they are sold. Also, if Apple really does push into more luxury markets the focus of branding is usually the company and not so much the product. That’s why a lot of luxury car companies use numbers for models. Particular products do every so often develop their own branding (325i, for instance), but not usually at the expense of losing the company.

            Joe

          • Mark Langston

            They’re too well established to switch at this point. But if anyone would have the big, hairy testicles to change the name of a product mid-stream like that it would be Apple.

            But to me Phone and Pad just don’t have the same ring to it. Then again it’s so ingrained in the human lexicon it’s near impossible to think of it by any other name.

            Like trying to imagine Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones or Will Smith as Neo (both possible leads in those respective films).

        • Brian M. Monroe

          Mark, I think you nailed it. There is no question that this is Tim Cook’s Apple now. Not only by how the keynotes are being done but by how much more open Apple has become.

          You are right on as well about the reasons for dropping the “iWhatchamacallit” from the naming of the products. Also it keeps the name open for a surprise. For the iWatch that really is the Apple Watch.

          In regards to the potential accessory market. I am 100% with you on that. The wristband is to the Apple Watch in the same way that the case is to the iPhone. Maybe not at 1st but as long as the Apple Watch sells in the numbers that I and others think it will they will come in to meet the needs of the marketplace. The options for custom bands are endless.

          I am totally with you on the high end luxury brands getting on board with Apple. The opportunities for cross marketing and promotions are too great. Not only that but they are serving the same customer base so it is a natural fit.

          I also see there being the potential for some really amazing straps not only to extend the functionally of the watch with more battery power by vendors like Mophie but adding in waterproofing for when you want to go swimming or the beach. Does it make sense for you to leave your 18K Gold Apple Watch in the locker where it can be nicked or actually wear it when you are in the pool and it can collect your health data.

          Now I am sure you will hear from some people that say just take a less expensive model with you when you want to go to the gym but if you are going to the gym right after work that may just be impractical having to have two watches with you. One for show during the day and another one just for when you want to work out. Of course I do expect some people to do just that but still I do see a use case and a market for a solution.

          I also do see custom bands from all sorts of brands. Not only sports teams but also for people’s hobbies as well that mirror what we have seen with iPhone cases but I do think the diversity will go much further as this is something that you wear so it is visible all the time. So many people will want to make a statement and stand out by having a unique bad. Especially for girls as I have read that they purchase a lot more cases for their iPhones. I see the same trend continuing with the bands on the Apple Watch.

          No question that the ease of attaching bands is going to drive a lot of sales of Apple Watches. Something people who talk up Motorola 360’s seem to overlook or forget. For most of every one of Apple’s modern hardware it looks as good turned off as it does turned on. Not only that but the choice in materials that Apple uses makes a big difference as well. The way it feels to our touch is something that I know does not get enough attention. The feel of Apple’s devices again stays the same if the device is on or off.

          I really do like your ideas of glow in the dark and LED bands. Lots of fun options that go way beyond just holding the watch on your wrist securely.

          You are spot on about the accessory ecosystem that is about to be unleashed on to world once the Apple Watch starts to ship in quantity next year. You are also correct about the Apple Watch being the gold standard in wearable technology as I do not see any other vendor that can go where Apple can go and do what Apple can do. From their engineering to marketing to design to sales to post sale support to ecosystem and developer support to even resale value.

          Even though the competitors got there 1st they will not know what hit them.

          • Mark Langston

            And you nailed it!! Women will be a HUGE market for bands as they can swap them out at will based on their outfit for the… I was gonna say “day” but they’ll likely swap out one band for work then switch it up again when they go out for the night.

            So if women make up the majority of case consumers the Watch bands will blow up. Speaking of which, matching iPhone case and watch bands!!

        • PatchyThePirate

          Fantastic post!

  • Brian M. Monroe

    I agree with most of what you have said here except that in future versions that the price must come down. I am not sure about that. Apple is a premium brand and they can and should be able to command the $349 starting price without too many problems. Just look at how many people purchased iPads at around that same price and that will show you that it is a good price to start with.

    I do think that at some point in the future when the technology has matured enough we will see the Apple Watch replacing the iPhone as Apple has shown a willingness to catabolize successful product lines when they see something much bigger that they can do in the future.

    For the people who are upset that the Apple Watch is going to be an accessory to the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 they need to keep in mind where the iPod started out and where it ended up. While it did suck for the way that the iPod originally worked that you had to go back to your computer to update your iPod with new content it was not that big of a deal for the millions of people who where able to work around this limitation until the technology was able to catch up to the vision.

    The same thing will more than likely happen with the Apple Watch. When the technology is ready and more importantly is designed correctly we will be able to have the Apple Watch that Sir Jony Ive’s wants. However, until that day, millions of people will be able to enjoy and use the Apple Watch to make their lives better.

  • aardman

    I don’t agree that the Watch starting at $349 is expensive. Michael Kors branded watches, made by Fossil are apparently the largest selling line of watches and they are in the $200-400 range that the Watch starts in. And women who buy them, buy several models to match whatever outfit they will be wearing.

    Apple is right to pay close attention to the fashion aspect of the Watch. But as to the reason to buy an Watch, aside from “It looks good on my wrist”, which won’t cut it for some peoples? Well, it’s the other same old reason that people have had for wearing a watch on their wrist: Convenience. Do not underestimate the power of convenience. Of course right now, we don’t know what convenience means for the Watch because it’s a new product, in a new category, wearable smart devices, but I trust Apple’s proven ability to come up with products that we didn’t know we couldn’t live without.

    One other thing about convenience. If Necessity is the mother of Invention, Habit is the offspring of Convenience. This is the big payoff for any manufacturer who successfully delivers convenience to the consumer. And Apple, having done its Watch homework for at least three years, is way ahead of everyone else in the Habit sweepstakes.

    • Brian M. Monroe

      I agree. I also think that many tech nerds who are guys do not get women and how they think about fashion. This is why they can not wrap their brains around the idea that some women will more than likely buy multiple Apple Watches and/or bands to go with the various outfits that they are wearing. Just like they do with iPhone cases all to go along with what is in style for that season. Plus I doubt many of them have any idea of what the mid to high end in watch prices are. Why would they? They are guys and they spend their time and money on other things like the latest Intel CPU. lol Speeds and specs. The problem is that the Apple Watch does not fit neatly in to a spreadsheet on features that would be the reason that their primary customers (women) are going to buy the thing.

      The convenience angle I think has not been looked at enough in regards to the Apple Watch. The fact that it will do Apple Pay out of the gate make a lot of sense. Plus I bet we will see lots of use cases where people keep their now much larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Pluses close by in a handbag but do some of the quick access functions on their Apple Watch instead of getting their iPhone’s out to just check the time or get directions for example. Also in crowded environments it is much easier to look at a watch on your wrist than it might be to pull out your iPhone. In some places it could be safer as well.

      I also think that Apple has done their homework as well and even though it may have not been shown at the keynote they have though a lot about use cases and who their market is going to be. This is one of the key reasons they are showing off the Apple Watch to the fashion crowd now. They want them on board when it launches next year to help make sure it meets and exceeds what they want in a 1.0 version of the Apple Watch.

      • Shameer Mulji

        “I agree. I also think that many tech nerds who are guys do not get women and how they think about fashion. This is why they can not wrap their brains around the idea that some women will more than likely buy multiple Apple Watches and/or bands to go with the various outfits that they are wearing.”

        That tends to happen when you live (or work) in a bubble known as Silicon Valley.

        • Brian M. Monroe

          Yep. Not just Silicon Valley but Wall Street as well. Even though in both cases there are plenty of women that care a lot about fashion who live in both places and therefore it is an invisible industry that many of us guys do not notice or are aware of how large it is. All you have to do is go to your local shopping mall to see how much of the square footage is dedicated to women, women’s fashion and their needs.

    • Avi Greengart

      I completely agree that people buy fashion at high(er) prices, and I’m not arguing against the value proposition. But given that $349 is just the starting point, I’m comfortable saying that the Apple Watch is expensive.

      • Brian M. Monroe

        Yes. It is expensive but I do think that actually can help set Apple apart from the rest of the pack. Plus there is the value proposition as well. With the gold model being maid out of real 18k gold it will hold it’s value long after the technology is outdated.

        Now here is another angle that I do not think that anyone is talking about at all that could totally happen. Apple could expand AppleCare for the Apple watch to include swapping out the S1 chip and board for a new one every year for the term of your AppleCare contract. All you would need to do is stop by an Apple retail store, leave your AppleWatch for the swap to happen and then pick it up in a short time later. Or they could just offer competitive trade in value for the watch either biased on the scrap value of the components or for resale to other markets. Now I have not seen the watch and do not know if this is possible but it would really be an awesome way to maintain the value of the AppleWatch over time.

        The point is that there are many different ways to add value to the Apple Watch and make it a more practical long term.

  • yesandno

    A strange *product* to launch, for Apple, at least in going so far into fashion, but the computing part of it seems like a good move towards the future. I don’t like the fashion aspect, despite Apple hiring a putative expert; I don’t think the company belongs in that world at all.

    • aardman

      On the contrary, when computing devices become as intimate and ubiquitous as they have with smart phones, and even more so with wearables, fashion will, uninvited or not, crash the tech party. These are products that, due to round-the-clock use and close physical proximity, people will invest their identity in and when that happen, consumers will demand that utility share a spot in the front row with style and design i.e. fashion.

      This is a unique opportunity for Apple to go to a place where no other tech company can follow because none of them have the brand cachet that Apple has. Not even close. Tim Cook would be shirking his fiduciary duty to stockholders if he did not turn this clear comparative advantage into a stream of profit.

      • Avi Greengart

        That may be true, but it’s not how Apple thinks. They don’t sit around thinking where they can go because of their brand power. They have brand power because they sit around thinking about how to solve problems / and solve them.

      • art hackett

        Exactly. Nerds are a small, petty, irrelevant market and no company can survive, let alone prosper by trying to appeal to them. Not that one needs to blow money on fashionista crap, but that’s not the point here. Remember, fashion is for the clueless and impressionable, style is pretty much forever, just look at Egyptian or South American art from thousands of years ago.

  • Bruce_Mc

    I do think that the watch will be a standalone device eventually. Note that the original iPhone was not standalone for syncing contacts and calendars. It had to be tethered to a computer to do those things.

    To me, Apple strongly believes that personal computing and the apparel industry are going to collide eventually. With that in mind, the watch is just the beginning. Apple is getting itself ready as a company to make and sell earrings, scarves, belts, and who knows what; all with computing power that is useful to the wearer.

    • Brian M. Monroe

      Great point about the iPhone needing to be tethered to the computer for contacts and calendars. I know this is one of the reasons I started to use Gmail as they offered an ActiveSync solution for free that let me sync my Mail, Contacts and Calendars on all my devices long before iCloud could do that.

      I am with Apple and do see that computing and the apparel industries colliding but in a way that makes the technology secondary. Not that the technology is not as important (it is) but how it looks and feels is just as important to the buyer. I am not so sure about scarves and belts but I could see earrings that replace bluetooth in ear devices.

      One of the key subtexts that I think many missed was when Tim Cook was on Charlie Rose talking about how all of their products could fit on that round table. He seemed to be quite happy about that. That should tell us something. That Apple is looking to do small devices and not big things like an actual Apple TV screen and not the set top box that they currently sell.

      • Bruce_Mc

        “I am with Apple and do see that computing and the apparel industries colliding but in a way that makes the technology secondary.”

        Yes, I agree. In the past, when the computer industry has collided with other industries, the other industries have yielded. For example, the laser printer and what followed changed the printing industry much more than it changed the computer industry. This time around, I think the computer industry will be changed a lot by the apparel industry.

        • Brian M. Monroe

          Sounds good to me. I look forward to the computer industry getting a lot more fashionable with Apple taking the lead of course.

      • Avi Greengart

        Jobs used to point out that Apple’s product line could fit on a table; Cook is recycling it. In both cases it’s supposed to refer to the deliberate lack of breadth in Apple’s product line – i.e., their focus. It’s not meant to imply that Apple will make a million different products, just that all of them will be really, really small. 🙂

    • aardman

      I have a feeling that the watch is one battery technology breakthrough away from being a stand alone device. I’m no expert but from what I’ve read in the popular tech sites, onboarding (yes I just made up that word) the functions that are currently being offloaded to the iPhone probably requires said breakthrough.

  • obarthelemy

    “Apple pioneered the PC, the mouse-driven PC, the digital music player, the modern laptop, the smartphone, and the tablet”. Mmmmm. Refined, popularized, but not pioneered. All of those categories had players before, often years before, Apple.

    • JKL

      The IBM PC was based on the Apple 2, the Lisa/Mac was the first GUI PC (yes I am aware of the Star but unlike you I’m also aware of history and facts), the iPhone was the first modern smartphone (Nokia made the first smartphone but well no one is taking cues from that, at least no one who wants to stay in business). The first laptop, used on the space shuttle (RIP), came out 3 years before Apples first laptop but Apple populised the modern design (PROTIP the first Mac book air was made by Atari). As for tablets, well we could mention the Newton but why bother since Apple sold more tablets in the first year of iPad production than the total sales of every other tablet combined in history.

      Here’s a tip, learn history and the meaning of words, I know like facts, you find those things annoying for the “snake oil” you are paid to peddle but you should have some pride I your job.

      Also, first digital music player was demoed in the 70’s, before Apple had a garage to work in.

      • obarthelemy

        The IBM PC was not particularly based on the Apple 2. I mean, they have in common sporting a motherboard, a CPU, RAM, buses and peripherals, but so does any computer. The IBM PC had a separate keyboard, internal drives, several OSes, upgradeable RAM, no graphics, standard extension slots… It’s actually much closer to the Apple 3 (minus the melting CPU solder), but since the two of them are only 3 months apart, claiming one inspired the other would be crazy.
        The Lisa/Mac was the first retail GUI PC, but mice had been in labs for ages.
        You can add adjectives, “modern” indeed, but not the first smartphone any way you look at it. Ditto laptops, tablets, and the mis-attribution is even more egregious for MP3 players.

        Living in an Apple-scented bubble is fine, but at some point, reality knocks on the door. That introductory sentence is just… PR, not facts.

  • obarthelemy

    “No other vendor has paid this much attention to the style of the case and especially the straps, which are simply design masterpieces”.
    Well, the Moto 360 looks significantly better, and takes an infinity of standard straps. I don’t know how much attention the design took, but the end result is clearly superior.

    • Avi Greengart

      Have you seen them side by side? I was wearing a Moto 360 to the Apple event. I like the Moto 360. But its design – especially the straps – does not compare to the Apple Watch. (In Moto’s defense, it isn’t priced in the same league, either.)

      • obarthelemy

        Maybe it’s a matter of taste: I’ve never been into square watches, especially asymmetrical ones. Also, I’ve always paid more attention to cut/shape, color and fabric/material than to brand.
        And, there this: the straps are standard 22mm straps. Don’t like ’em ? Chang’em !
        Also, $100 isn’t really a different league, even if it’s 50% extra.

        • Avi Greengart

          Taste, yes. Also size. The 360 is fine on my wrist, but looks silly on my wife or son. The Apple Watch is significantly smaller.
          FWIW, I really like the black leather straps on the 360; they’re attractive, comfortable, and clearly very well made. Plus, the recessed attachment makes the circular design really pop. I’ve been rotating between the 360, MetaWatch M1, and Pebble Steel. The straps on the 360 and M1 are excellent. The Pebble is just OK, as are the plastic straps on Samsung’s various Gears. The Apple Watch strap options – while not unlimited – are simply extraordinary.
          $249 and $349 are still in the same price segment. But the Apple Watch/strap combo that you want might be a lot more. We’ll have to see.

          • Space Gorilla

            Just FYI, obarthelemy is a long time anti-Apple troll. Note the flavor of all his (or her) comments.

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