Apple Watch and Hands Free Computing

After approximately a month using the Apple Watch, a few things have stood out to me that have me thinking about the role of wearable computers. I’d like to make a broader point about wrist worn computers and use my month with the Apple Watch to do so. I had a sense the Apple Watch would deliver on few particular use cases, even prior to using it. Here is an excerpt from my “Smart Watch Opportunity Report”.

A popular saying surrounding smart devices is: the most convenient screen is the one we have with us at all times. The screen we have with us at all times is the smart phone. However, perhaps the smart watch evolves this to say: the most convenient screen is the one we can see at all times. Cracking this value proposition is key for the categories upside.

As I suspected, this use case in particular has been delivered by the Apple Watch. This is why I pointed out in my first week with the Apple Watch article that, essentially, the Apple Watch has untethered me from my iPhone–in a good way. Perhaps even in a behavior changing way. What has stood out to me the most about this experience is how the Apple Watch allows me to be “hands free” but still get value from the digital world.

On this point, I believe an important framework is worth establishing. To get value from the digital computing world with devices like a PC, tablet, or smartphone, you have to be looking at and engaged with the device. In the case of the smartphone and tablet, you are likely to be holding the device in at least one hand but frequently both. This means your hands and full attention are on that screen. There are absolutely times for these experiences. But if the average person spends about 2 hours using their smartphone daily, how does one get value from the digital world in all the other hours of the day? This is where I think a wearable screen begins to establish its value proposition.

For me at least, the hands-free freedom of the Apple Watch is one of the more compelling areas. It is one I think signifies the potential of all wearable screen-type devices. I can set my phone anywhere in the house, and not have the fear of missing out on something important that would compel me to keep it near me at all times. I can play tennis, work in the garden, cook, do the dishes, shave, drive, and a host of other things which require my hands not hold a smartphone and not miss what I have deemed is the important stuff. The value of curated wrist based notifications allow me to interact with the digital world, or maybe even better stated, allow the digital world to interact with me, without having to be captive to a screen in my hands. Of course, you still need to use your hands to operate the watch, but the interactions are designed to be short and quick.

Interestingly, I got my wife an Apple Watch which arrived on Friday. After a weekend of using it, her value placed on notifications may be even higher than mine. She runs a side business buying and selling goods on Facebook so messages from potential buyers are essential that she doesn’t miss since they are timely. But she can’t always be staring at or captive to her phone since she is also busy as a part-time teacher and full-time mom. She is also a runner and loves the health features but, to my surprise, the notifications are what makes the Apple Watch indispensable to her. She is able to spend her time being truly free from her iPhone yet still get value from the digital world. I suspect this will be common with women who keep their phones in their purses or bags and likely set the bag down when they get home and leave their phone in their purse. There is value here in not having to worry about where your phone is and still not miss the important stuff.

The most convenient computer screen is the one you can see at all times. If one thing my month with the Apple Watch has demonstrated to me it is this point. Of course, I still need my Mac and my smartphone. But thanks to the Apple Watch, I no longer need to be captive to it to still get information that matters to me when I need it or want it. I can let my eyes and hands be free to do other things, yet still yield value from the digital world. This, in my opinion, will be the area where wrist-worn computers of all shapes, types, and sizes, will compete and move computing another step forward.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

189 thoughts on “Apple Watch and Hands Free Computing”

  1. Funny how all your comments apply even more to smart glasses. I really hope Google don’t sabotage Glasses’ rev2 with a camera again. Hopefully they’ll be a choice.
    I think I’ll break down soon and buy a gen1 Android watch on sale anyway. <$100 is almost thorw-away money ^^

    1. IMO Smart glasses are obtrusive as compared to smart watches.
      Watch demands attention only when it is required, whereas glasses are always present in your field of view.

      1. I need to test that out, but I’d think the opposite: watches require moving your wrist, hiking up your sleeve, and action from the other hand (thus using both hands); glasses require talking to oneself, both hands are kept free… they’re more visible and dorky though. I think glasses + a ring would be best ^^

        1. But all that is what makes the watch less obtrusive than glasses. Plus the connotation that glasses aren’t normally considered tech. Watches, even traditional watches, still have an air of technology to them.

          Joe

      2. People have eye surgery in order not to have to wear glasses or put up with the hassle associated with contact lenses. Surely that says something about the average person’s dislike of glasses.
        Then there is the social contract that we do not invade each other’s private space, which is obviously violated by the potential of surreptitiously being filmed by glasses with cameras.
        In short, there is a reason why smart glasses have not caught on so far.

      1. obarthelemy just answered your question about why Android Wear sales are so low. obart isn’t buying an Android watch until the price is ‘throw away money’. Android Wear simply does not resonate with the premium consumer segment, and this is the key segment wearables need to crack, at least for the present moment and probably at least two or three years yet.

        So why doesn’t Android Wear (or Android generally) resonate with the premium consumer segment? It’s the sum of a lot of things which add up to the total user experience. I suppose the simple way of saying it is Apple provides a ‘whole solution’, while Android is a modular solution. Both are good solutions, but they necessarily attract different segments. And keep in mind, it took Apple *decades* to build and grow to where it is today. It may not be possible to duplicate what Apple is delivering.

        1. I don’t think my case can be generalized… I’ve considered interruptions/notifications a nuisance since IM first tried to ding at me in the 90s, I’ve considered the screen(s) to be a computing device’s main feature since my first IBM Trinitron not much later, and I’ve been immunized vs fashion through having some way too fashionable friends once I got money (people need style and buy fashion, a recipe for frustration).

          Perfect trifecta for being indifferent to smartwatches. Looking at product feedback those fire sale Android watches, some do love them: all those notifications mean we’re alive, right ?

          1. Rationalize it however you like, this comment (and others you’ve made) demonstrate clearly why Android Wear sales are very low, and I suspect will continue to be very low for quite some time.

        2. I don’t know what smartphone Obarthelemy uses, but I’m suspect that he is using a pretty good one. As a first assumption, I would put him into the premium customer segment unless proven otherwise. I get the impression that he is a person that tries hard to make rational (as in price/performance ratios) purchases.

          The question for me is why does he only see $300 value in Apple Watch? Why does Android Wear have to be at a “throw away price” before he considers a purchase? I can’t justify it by simply saying that I’m in the premium consumer segment while Obarthelemy isn’t, because I’m 100% sure that this is untrue. I’m very, very cheap when it comes to clothes or cars, for example. I think it goes quite a bit deeper than simple customer segmentation.

          1. Obarthelemy is not in the premium consumer segment (when it comes to tech). Anyone who talks about specs and price so much simply can’t be. Also, pay attention to how much folks like Obart or Klahanas talk about tinkering with their devices. This demonstrates that they do not place a value on their own time. Premium consumers pay to save time and trouble. They don’t waste that time tinkering. Of course no segment is monolithic, and one person could easily be within the premium segment when it comes to cars and not in that segment when it comes to technology. Nerds with money probably buy BMWs and Mercedes, instead of building their own hot rod. But when it comes to tech they want to build their own hot rod, they don’t want the BMW in that case.

            Wearables today are a nice to have, not a must have. The value is additive, a number of small conveniences that save time and make life a little smoother. This kind of value is only resonating with the premium consumer segment today. I expect that to change in the next few years as device capabilities grow and prices come down a lot. Then we’ll see Android Wear gain traction. But I think that is at least two years out.

          2. “Also, pay attention to how much folks like Obart or Klahanas talk about tinkering with their devices. This demonstrates that they do not place a value on their own time. Premium consumers pay to save time and trouble.”

            Not necessarily. It can also mean that tech is a hobby to them. Hobby by definition means you’re spending far more time/money on it than is economically sensible, but you enjoy it, so you do it anyway because it’s fun. A hobbyist can be spendthrift in one area and a total miser in another area, in ways that make little sense — thus the way gamers will drop 100’s on a stupidly powerful video card but be completely unwilling to lay out any money for better customer service or a better warranty. Or be obsessed with some tech specs but overlook others (I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen Anandtech or Tom’s hardware commenters tear into an an iMac with IPS display for being too costly, but then they compare it to a cheaper PC system that has an inferior TN display).

            And there are lots of hobbyists who don’t see themselves as such. “I use this computer for work, not pleasure” but they spend a lot of time and effort to fully understand all the ins and outs of the OS/hardware, far more than they need to in order to get their work done. Technical mastery is a common hobby among nerds, one that you can enjoy while doing your job, especially if you rationalize it as a necessary part of your job.

          3. Agreed, and well said. I thought about explaining this angle but kept my comment short instead. Thanks for the addition.

            I also find that these kinds of users/hobbyists often call themselves power users. The programmers I work with that have Masters degrees or better in Comp Sci and make a living at it, those are power users.

          4. “Power user” is the most common code word for “computer hobbyist.” Hobby has a stigma of “non-seriousness” about it, which is why so many computer hobbyists shun the label.

      2. I’ve just managed to rationalize my getting a gizmo I have no use nor desire for: I’ll get 2. One for my sister, t’was her birthday and I’m seeing her this week end, and then of course I need one to do tech support for her. She’s a teacher so I’m sure she’ll like getting unobtrusive texts and IM.

        1. Great. I actually think that teachers are a great segment that are likely to appreciate smartwatches.

          First of all, they have to be conscious of the time to the accuracy of a few minutes so that they can finish their classes in time. That means that they need a watch to tell the time.

          Second, they are always in front of their students so pulling out a phone from their pockets is simply unacceptable. However they can, and they have for as long as I know been glancing at their wrists to tell the time.

          Third, and I understand that this is a controversial point, I think current speech recognition technology is quickly approaching the point where it works well enough for replying to short messages very quickly. With my Apple Watch, I relied on speech recognition 80% of the time to reply to messages from my wife, and she actually thought that I was typing them (this was in Japanese so it might be either better or worse for different languages). I assume that Google has better speech recognition, so it should be a nice experience. Since the teachers that I know tend to be pretty busy during the day, I think this will be very welcome.

          I’m looking forward to the feedback from your sister.

          1. I’ve taken to recog-ning my texts too, it’s amazingly accurate (as long as there are no background voices), with the occasional belly-flop because French is full of homophones (sais, sait, c’est, s’est, ses, ces mean different things yet are pronounced the same, so it’s got to be contextual phrase/sentence recog, not syllable or word recog, watching it go back 3-4 words to change everything is fascinating).

            We’ll see what the sis thinks of it.

          2. Oooh, so French has confusing homophones too!! That’s very nice to know. So has Japanese, and that’s how we make a lot of our not so funny jokes. And yes, Apple’s speech recognition often goes back 3-4 words too in Japanese.

  2. I totally agree with your wife ­čÖé

    Tech analysts are often aware that the general public is not so tech obsessed as they are, and prefer simplicity over configurability. That’s something that I think mainly Apple has taught them over the years.

    However, I sense that they are still relatively unaware that a large proportion of the population has very different constraints and requirements for tech. Tech media severely under-represents people like your wife.

    That’s why I think that the market potential of the Apple Watch is being hugely underestimated. In many ways, I think that tech pundits, especially those living in Silicon Valley, are not the target market.

    1. Naofumi, i remember you making the prediction that women will love the watch, especially because they put their watches in bags. Pretty good prediction of you!.

      Still something bothers me about the fact that android wear didn’t succeed in selling as the solution for that problem – even though there are plenty of android users, and some of them are wealthy enough and a $100-$150 watch isn’t that expensive.

      And while there’s an hypothesis that the android users don’t appreciate comfort i don’t think that can apply for all of them.

      So what has Android wear missed and the Apple watch got right with regards to women ?

      1. That’s exactly what’s bothering me.

        I personally don’t have a good explanation, because I’m not one of the very few who have an Android Wear device. I haven’t yet seen a convincing argument from people who’ve used one either. At the same time, I’m not sure that the product itself is main reason.

        I’m actually leaning towards blaming the difference on marketing and brand recognition, because I get the impression that people are buying Apple Watches even before they try them out.

        Then the question for Google, an Android OEM or an independent wearable startup becomes, what should I be doing in marketing?

        1. >> Then the question for Google, an Android OEM or an independent wearable startup becomes, what should I be doing in marketing?

          So we’re talking about building a mainstream luxury(there’s an affordable luxury category) brand. I think it’s either a a very long process(decade+) and pretty expensive(because you have to convince everybody that you’re “special”/”trustworthy”/etc) , unless you have something that is truly a breakthrough like the iphone(or maybe the ipod) which under the right conditions can accelerate things.

          The other option is working with some leading mainstream luxury brand – letting them own the brand, make key decisions,invest in marketing, etc while you stay in the background and just help with technical stuff. And even that is problematic , because such watch won’t be compatible with the iphone, which will create a different marketing dynamic. But at least this way might have a chance.

          And maybe aybe was some business model problem that prevented/prevents google from collaborating with companies of the second category.

          1. “The other option is working with some leading mainstream luxury brand”

            I think that is a problem of its own. How many mainstream premium or luxury brands are there, other than Apple?

            Joe

        2. “what should I be doing in marketing?”

          The kind of marketing that is working for Apple is, as Rob points out below, is a long process. The marketing success the Watch is experiencing is built on the branding Apple has been building for several decades. Apple was already a trusted brand, particularly in mobile, before the Watch. In that sense, tying it to the iPhone is actually a benefit, instead of needing to build the Watch brand from scratch. So all the pluses the Watch brings for itself, it still has the safety net of Apple’s ecosystem.

          I think that is why the Motorola watch couldn’t do better. While Motorola has a strong past, it’s most recent history is not one that could have supported a stronger new product launch.

          Samsung is just the opposite. It has a stronger recent brand, but not the history. I think they tried to do too much to make the watch seem like its own standalone product and have its own brand.

          On top of all that, it really is the ecosystem. Apple has one. Motorola and Samsung, not so much. Google could probably do better than either if they were interested. In reality, for all the value each OEM adds on top of Android, it really is Google’s ecosystem.

          That’s what I think. I could be wrong.
          Joe

          1. Spot on about the ecosystem. It’s the vertical integration, making the whole widget, curation, the total user experience. I doubt Google could do much better. Google doesn’t make things, not really, they just dabble here and there. Could they get better? Sure, but it would take many years and they would have to get better in the right way (vertical and closed), and still today most of the tech industry believes Apple’s entire approach is wrong. Culturally I don’t think Google believes they need to get better at making things, there’s no motivation. So I think we’ll continue to see Apple’s dominance of the premium consumer segment grow, and Android will take what is left. The good news for Android is it will always be ‘winning’ ­čÖé

        3. Thanks for the great replies to my comments. Just a few notes;

          1.
          I think we’re getting to the point where “premium” needs to be more clearly understood. That is, the “premium” segment is not the top cream of the market, but at least in markets that are as far ahead in income as China now is, it seems to be a huge chunk of the population. In countries like the US and Japan and maybe even China, “premium”, at least in the Apple sense, is the new mainstream.

          2.
          Although iPhones take a large portion of the premium market, in most European countries, I estimate that premium Android is at least comparably big. Even in the US, I’m sure premium Android still is significantly large. Therefore, it is problematic to explain the difference in sales of Apple Watch and Android Wear solely based on how strong the are in the premium segment. However, if we were to assume that the premium Android segment is quickly shifting to iPhone 6/6plus, and therefore the current premium installed base is not the right metric to be looking at, then yes, the premium segment theory would hold much better.

          What I’m saying is that the brisk sales of the Apple Watch compared to Android Wear might be a leading indicator of the demise of the premium Android smartphone segment.

          3.
          I’ve said this before, but if being a trusted brand is key, then this suggests that the “throw spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks” strategy, which is basically what both Google and Samsung do, is harmful.

          4.
          The replies here all suggest that Apple Watch will not significantly lift sales of Android Wear, at least not until the OEMs and Google get their act together to compete on ecosystem/brand/aesthetics. Sales of Android Wear is definitely going to be an interesting metric to observe.

          1. “the demise of the premium Android smartphone segment.”

            I think Ben has been writing about this a bit, or in comments anyway, that premium Android is sort of a myth. I’d have to dig back in comments and such, can’t remember exactly what he said about it.

          2. I agree with Ben in general, but there are some European countries where I suspect this may not be the case. App Annie recently reported for example, that Google Play revenue surpassed App Store revenue in Germany. And even in Japan where you can get new iPhones for free on contract, people do get Sony Xperias.

            I agree that premium Android is weakened, but I don’t think that it is yet non-existent.

            I would therefore expect Android Wear to sell at least something like a third or a fourth of Apple Watch if we were only looking at the number of premium oriented customers, but the difference seems to be larger.

          3. That would be an interesting article (hint hint Ben) about the reality of premium Android. It looks like the iPhone is at or above 70 percent share of the high end segment, even in Germany and the US. Closer to 90 percent in Japan and China. But that’s just based on selling price. The premium consumer segment is also psychographic. You can buy an expensive Android phone and still not be in the premium segment. So we might be in a situation where Apple commands 80 percent or better of the premium consumer segment. Couple that with the reality of how hard it is to build a great wearable when you’re not vertically integrated and I don’t find it surprising how poorly Android Wear has performed. But as I’ve said before, I do expect Android Wear to gain traction over time.

          4. I’m not quite sure where you got the numbers for Japan. You can get iPhones for free on contract and they are no more expensive than Androids. This makes customer segmentation based on selling price rather difficult, if not impossible.

          5. You can track the price whether or not the device is free with a contract. But selling price isn’t the only factor. It is also psychographic, there’s an element of what kind of value the consumer is looking for, the characteristics they value, how the device is used, it’s a lot more than simply tracking the selling price.

            Ben has written about this a few times already. I believe he said just a few months ago he estimated Apple’s global share of the premium segment to be around 70 percent.

          6. Yes, but still I have issues with iPhone being 90% of the high-end segment in Japan. Are you aware that Android phones are often more expensive than iPhones here? Are you aware that even then, iPhones only have 58% market share (IDC)? I’d really like to see how you can reach the 90% figure.

            And even with Ben’s 70 percent estimate, that means the remaining 30 percent are high end Android. That’s more than enough to sell much more than a measly 1 million Android Wear devices in 2014.

          7. I’ve seen a number of articles and data about this, but a recent one was from Counterpoint: http://www.counterpointresearch.com/applewatchlaunchanalysis

            You also have to keep in mind that it might only be a remaining 20 or 10 percent in some markets. Then of that 20 percent the usage differs quite a bit, necessarily so because Android is a modular system, it is not vertically integrated, it isn’t a whole solution from a single vendor, it isn’t a seamless, curated ecosystem, it isn’t even close to the same end to end experience.

            Android is at a terrible disadvantage when it comes to devices that are as high touch as wearables. Add to that the inability of Android OEMs to match Apple’s level of design. It’s a lot of small things, but they really add up. Perhaps it is just that modular systems move more slowly and it will take time to catch up. But a modular system also means price pressure and less margin, which may mean nobody else can afford to keep up with Apple. Samsung has tried to match Apple on many fronts and failed every time.

            I’ve said before that I think Apple’s level of vertical integration is now table stakes to serve the premium segment. If I’m right, Android’s position in this segment will continue to dwindle, or maybe level off at 10 or 15 percent, hard to say exactly.

          8. Thanks for the link, but I seriously doubt Counterpoint’s data in Japan. Even more so, I doubt it’s relevance when the full price of iPhones (the 16G models) are subsidised and the total price including data plans is significantly cheaper for iPhones compared to Android phones.

          9. If the iPhone has 58 percent share of the total market in Japan (I think that’s what you said), the share of the premium segment has to be much higher. Counterpoint actually puts iPhone total share lower in Japan, at 51 percent. The exact numbers don’t matter as much as the overall point that Apple is dominant in the premium segment. At best, Android is left with 30 percent, and that’s being generous.

            Then within that minority share of the premium segment we need to consider usage, ecosystem, integration. The result of course is that premium Android isn’t equal to premium Apple, there’s a natural disparity (with Android having the disadvantage). All of this taken together explains why Android Wear is doing poorly. Android Wear won’t gain traction until it serves the mid to low market well, and that means expanded capabilities and lower prices, which I think is at least two years out. And wow, if Apple decides to go down market a bit, it gets worse for Android Wear.

            It may not be possible for Android to serve the premium segment well enough to make a serious dent. Much like Apple owns the premium PC segment, something like 90 percent share. Yes there are premium non-Apple PCs, but they are niche. Premium consumers aren’t looking for modular solutions.

          10. I think you are looking at the wrong part of my argument. What I’m actually saying is that in Japan, owning an iPhone does not put you into the premium segment. The discussion of premium segment itself is rather non-sensical.

            In Japan, the iPhone is the entry/base-level segment. The iPhone is the cheapest smartphone that you can get. The people who buy Android phones are the premium segment in the sense that they are willing to pay more for either a) better network coverage (provided by the largest carrier DoCoMo which resisted the iPhone until recently), b) mobile payments, c) mobile TV or d) other features unique to Android.

            The assumption that premium customers will always chase integrated solutions is not what I think we are observing.

            Although Japan is definitely the extreme here, any country with a subsidy structure is likely to have some system in place that significantly reduces the burden of owning an iPhone; i.e. something that makes the iPhone premium more affordable.

          11. “In Japan, the iPhone is the entry/base-level segment. The iPhone is the cheapest smartphone that you can get.”
            Is this really the case? I find that hard to believe. It may be the cheapest of the high-end smartphones but the cheapest of them all? Most smartphones are very cheap especially when purchased outright.

            I also think that the fact that they can be purchased for free on a contract doesn’t make it less “premium”. I still feel that you have to compare the outright prices of them to determine what is premium and what is not. The iPhones are still in the upper bracket in terms of price if purchased outright.

            A customer who gets a phone free on a plan is not thinking that it is a cheap phone, they are thinking I can get this expensive and premium phone much more affordably with a contract. The customer still thinks it’s premium.

            I think the evidence that premium customers chase integrated solutions comes from consumer satisfaction ratings, which incidentally for Apple are usually at the top of the charts.

          12. If you are getting a phone from one of the major MNOs (Docomo, Au or Softbank), then the iPhone is the cheapest smartphone that you can get. They will subsidise it (it’s officially a financing structure, but the end result is essentially the same) to the point where you effectively get a 16 Gig iPhone 6 for free. If you go with the iPhone 5c, they they give you some cash (which shows that you can go down to negative prices if you want to).

            The interesting thing is that for high end Android phones, the carriers will not give you this much subsidy. As a result, Android phones often end up being more expensive for customers despite being cheaper outright.

            Note that the prices for the data plans will be the same regardless of iPhone or Android. There is not hidden cost that will make iPhones more expensive.

            If you are willing to go with an MVNO, then you will not get subsidy and you will have to pay the full price of the phone. Then you might want to get cheap Android phones.

            Discussing premium gets complicated when you have a subsidy structure. That much I think we can agree on.

          13. “The interesting thing is that for high end Android phones, the carriers will not give you this much subsidy.”

            Think about this for a minute. Why do you think carriers are willing to subsidize in order to gain some consumers and not willing to do this for other consumers?

            “Discussing premium gets complicated when you have a subsidy structure. That much I think we can agree on.”

            I don’t agree. It isn’t only about price, it is about recognizing value. I also refer to the premium segment as the Best Customer Segment. Business owners know what I’m talking about, there are good customers that recognize value and are willing to pay for it, and other customers that do not recognize value in the same way. Rich people can be poor customers (I’ve had a few of those).

          14. “Rich people can be poor customers (I’ve had a few of those).”

            Individuals can be bad for business, but as a group, I’d go with the ‘high disposable income’.

          15. Agreed. I’m just making the point that being rich doesn’t automatically make you part of the Best Customer Segment.

          16. What are the new numbers for DoCoMo? They would be very central to iPhone’s mid-term marketshare in Japan.

          17. What numbers are you looking for? They don’t break out how many iPhones they sold.

            Profits dropped -22% but their explanation is that it was due to heavy voice users shifting towards a new flat rate plan that they recently introduced. (they previously provided only metered voice for smartphone users)

          18. “The premium consumer segment is also psychographic. You can buy an expensive Android phone and still not be in the premium segment.”

            Marketers wish that everyone with lots of income was equally free with spending that income in all aspects of their life, but in reality, people vary from one part of their life to the next. Someone can be a miser when it comes to buying media, but a spendthrift when it comes to gadgets. Or vice versa. And then there’s spending extra for nice things. People whose income is non-premium may save carefully for months or years in order to buy one special thing, like an expensive phone.

          19. Exactly right, it varies from person to person, by industry. I find it is the recognition of value that is the important bit. As I said in some other comment, many nerds who like to tinker, who have money, then go buy a BMW. In one area they want a more open and modular solution, and in another area they want an integrated/curated/closed solution. Humans rarely apply a set of principles uniformly in all areas of their lives. They pick and choose as it benefits them. For the hobbyist nerd the open/modular solution is the value they recognize, but then for a car they want a different kind of value.

          20. So you’re saying Vertu and other ultra expensive premium brands aren’t really PREMIUM??? lol…. Dude you’re just as deluded now as the day you were born with a dad that wasn’t really your dad…. but the garbage man! lol….. You need to come to your senses and realize that every iPhone user looks just like every other iPhone user wearing the same exact phone either wall hugging or glued to their ear.

            Nobody’s any more impressed now, that Apple has finally successfully cloned Galaxy Note series phones, than they were with antennagate iPhone 4. Which if anything Galaxy Note 4 and coming Note 5 are far more impressive to see being used by a professional, than any iPhone out to date, by far! ……it’s all about it’s superior FUNCTIONALITY!

            With true Desktop Drag n Drop features App to App, Window to Window, and incredible ability to use a real file manager right out the door, with full system wide IBM “Pervasive Multitasking” only available on Touchwiz Android!!!

            Instead of Jail Breaking iPhones in order to get one and it still can’t run System Wide Pervasive Multitasking….. not even Mac OS X can do on it’s root HFS+ (only on it’s HFSX virtual sub file system) with Spotlight no less. Which both Spotlight and HFSX was written by Dominic Giampaolo of BeOS fame. Hired by Steve Jobs…. who was responsible for conning Gil Amelio out buying BeOS in the first place. Because none of his NeXT Engineers could figure out how to write a relational database file system and a true Unix based kernel, like in Copland OS!!! ^_*

            That system is HFSX and it isn’t even the root file system. Hence why both iOS and OS X are still crippled by being forced to do any multitasking within other Applications (like old legacy Mac OS did, since it had no OS kernel, file or task manager in the first place either. Which….. even then and now can’t search for anything in the system OS itself!!! ;-P …..like I said it’s all about Productivity and Functionality. Not about only looking like an Apple device or the bigger screens of it’s still greatest competitor!

          21. I’m sure you’re right. Lucky for Apple that there’s roughly a billion deluded users with garbage men for fathers, that should be just enough customers for Apple to scrape by.

          22. In response to point 3:
            Yes it is harmful because the customers that purchased the products that we’re really that good end up being disheartened. Buyers remorse is a very bad thing.

            Point 4:
            This is common sense. Only good products will sell well. The current smartwatch product lineup is far from good. They come across as rushed and uninspired rather than purposeful and developed with care.

          23. I think that before the Apple Watch was announced, and when every new entrant was struggling with sales, there was a hope that an Apple product would legitimise and popularise the wearable market. Jan Dawson also touched on this in a recent Techpinions article.

            Given that Apple probably has no intention of releasing an Android compatible watch, I do think that it is at least feasible that the success of Apple Watch will lift Androud Wear sales. I’m wondering how extensive this will be, and I think it will indirectly tell us a lot about the wearables market.

          24. Yeah I see where you are coming from. The Apple Watch will undoubtably create more awareness of smartwatches in general, which will undoubtably spur on some more sales.

            However, I don’t see this as being anything more than a minor bump. The biggest effect that Apple Watch will have on other smartwatches sales will be indirectly. More specifically from other companies drawing heavy influence from Apple. This will lead to greater quality smartwatches with more mainstream appeal from the other vendors. Kind of reminds you of smartphones and tablets doesn’t it?

            The saddest part here is that it seems like the tech industry is solely reliant on Apple to usher in the new era of technology. That is an interesting topic in and of itself but I digress…

          25. Totally agree and that is my prediction as well. I just think that it’s high-time that other companies learnt Apple’s secrets because, as you say, the situation is very sad.

          26. I think many of you are overreacting and overexcite about the sale of the Apple Watch, everyone knew that Apple will sell a lot of watch at the beginning because they know how to promote and sell their product, the only company right now that is capable to compete with them on this aspect is Samsung which has been very successful at created new categories of product that change the entire industry such as phablet with AMOLED screen and even the Galaxy S6 Edge which I have no doubt with is popularity is going to put a lot of pressure on Apple with their iPhone,

            Give the Moto 360 to Samsung and they too will sell millions at Launch, it’s simply a matter of knowing how to promote and sell your product is that simple.

          27. “I think many of you are overreacting and overexcite about the sale of the Apple Watch, everyone knew that Apple will sell a lot of watch at the beginning because they know how to promote and sell their product”

            …said many analysts about the iPod, iPhone, iPad.

          28. The point is your analysis makes no sense, you’re just parroting what people have said about every Apple product. First they say it will fail. Then when it sells well they say it’s temporary and driven by Apple’s fan base and slick marketing. Then when it keeps selling well they start naming the Apple Product X Killers. Then when it continues to keep selling they invent new doom scenarios. Market Share! Saturation! Disruption! Insert-Name-Gate!

            Your argument is essentially this: “No matter how much Apple succeeds, Apple is not succeeding.”

          29. How is that different from your own parroting of Android is for the Poor and Apple is for the rich,?

          30. If that’s what you have gleaned from my comments, then you’re ‘hearing what you want to hear’ and not really listening.

          31. “Samsung which has been very successful at created new categories of product that change the entire industry such as phablet with AMOLED screen and even the Galaxy S6 Edge ”

            I think you are giving Samsung too much credit, either for creating “new product categories” and for creating the kind of brand that has long term traction. Even if the larger smartphones or “edge” smartphones are a thing, they are still just smartphones, not anything new. Additionally it hasn’t helped their brand hold onto what they have achieved through marketing, much less help them move smartwatches.

            All that should make it clear that marketing does not make a product great. A great product makes great marketing possible. Without great products, marketing has no foundation. It is just a bunch of ads.

            Joe

          32. you just said exactly what most people other than Apple fan been saying about Apple too but still they keep selling more IPhone just as Samsung continue to sell more TV, SmartPhone and more of everything, like many other Apple User you seems to forget that Samsung is the biggest smartphone vendor in the world,

            have you seen the excitement toward the Galaxy 6 Edge recently?

            i think it is you guys that love to give Apple too much credit sometime.

          33. “you just said exactly what most people other than Apple fan been saying”

            So what? I think it is clear that if Apple’s products weren’t up to snuff, the market would show it. Yet that is not the case, regardless of Apple critics POV.

            “Samsung continue to sell more TV, SmartPhone and more of everything, like many other Apple User you seems to forget that Samsung is the biggest smartphone vendor in the world”

            I haven’t forgotten anything. It seems you have forgotten how badly Samsung’s smartphone strategy is bearing down on the rest of the company. Right now you seem to be the one in denial about Samsung’s smartphone’s turn of fortune. We aren’t talking about _everything_ Samsung makes (I love my washer/dryer) this is about mobile computing. In the end great marketing (and I think Samsung has had great marketing) hasn’t been able to turn their fortunes. Great marketing does not make great products.

            Joe

          34. To be clear, I agree with you that at this early stage, it’s not really about the product itself, but more about the design and marketing aspects.

            Samsung does have their own lineup of smart watches, and I’ve seen a report that suggests they may have outsold all other Android Wear devices combined (most of Samsung’s watches run Tizen OS). I agree that their marketing prowess is very strong.

            However, is seems that even Samsung’s marketing was not strong enough. I’m interested in what Samsung could have done better.

          35. “I’m interested in what Samsung could have done better.”

            Simple, deliver a better user experience via a better product. How? Vertical integration, curation, attention to detail, design, craftsmanship, and so on. There’s a great example right now of how much Samsung needs to improve re: design/details/craftsmanship, it seems that none of the elements on the outside of their new devices are even aligned properly. Alignment is one of the basic principles of design.

          36. Pretty much. Samsung sold exactly as much as the brand they built could justify the consumer buying. Maybe instead of trying to be fast followers they should have spent more time being more careful followers and getting the products right from every angle, not just good enough to fool as many people as quickly as possible. Maybe Xiaomi wouldn’t be eating their lunch in China right now. Anyone can be close enough.

            Joe

          37. Yep. That last 10 percent takes a heck of a lot of effort. Close enough isn’t going to grab the attention of premium consumers, not for the long term.

          38. There is something about the notion of Apple legitimizing a market to make it mainstream. It is why so many analysts wanted Apple to jump on the NFC bandwagon so much earlier, even saying if Apple jumps on board, NFC has a greater chance to become accepted by consumers, It is what Apple has done since the PC.

            Joe

          39. “They come across as rushed and uninspired rather than purposeful and developed with care.” – You’re being too generous.

            Android Wear has been a strategic exercise in being ready to clone Watch on arrival. (I am not referring to the startups, but only the big guys – Google and Samsung.)

          40. On point 3: Google’s reputation resulting from its “experimentation” approach with many cloud services, has a negative effect on its hardware (i.e., Google Glass) sales. That approach appeals to early-adopters, but the next set of buyers and the mainstream would prefer that companies invest in and sell solid products from day 1, and then stick with and refine those products over years. When people spend significant dollars (i.e., over $100), there’s little interest in investing time and energy in here-today, gone-tomorrow products.

          41. I’ll chime in on point 1. I think you are correct about making a “premium” distinction. I know it has been written about here, that there is a difference between “luxury” and “premium”. And Apple is clearly crossing that line with the Watch Edition.

            You don’t become premium or luxury until the market agrees with you that you are. And you don’t become either if you cater to the low end. Just ask BMW or Mercedes whenever they try to take their brand downstream. And while I liked the 5c and I know many people who loved theirs, Apple did about as well with that as BMW did with the 318.

            Brands are a promise. Luxury and premium are a commitment. And as with any commitment only time will show how committed one truly is.

            Joe

          42. 1. i’ve started to read a book about premium/luxury marketing, and there’s a common phenomena called affordable luxury – it’s affordable , but still has the psych/marketing effects of luxury ,and probably better margins.
            So it’s not jst the top end.

            2. Premium android – One of the reasons people stick with iOS is lockup effects , like iMessage support. So if you’re in the u.s. and you want a great phone – maybe it’s best to choose an iPhone because everybody uses it.

            While in a country where most use android – it makes it easier to use android even if you want premium.

            3. Trust. Maybe you’re right. But my guess is that strength of apple’s marketing is about much more than trust. Because yes, trust can help you at launch, but after a week , when all the reviews are written, you don’t need to trust blindly. And many of the apple watch reviews we’re quite negative.

            And certainly after few months/year when all the kinks our surely ironed from android wear and it gets good reviews at your trusty reviewer , and you’ve seen it at friend’s/.stores/videos , there’s no trust problem.

          43. 3. Most people don’t read tech reviews and most of the negative press has come from tech reviewers. Tech reviewers have time and time again been wrong as to what is important for the average person. They focus more on features rather than user experience and style/design. There is an article here on Techpinions that covers this.

            Apple has cultivated trust in its brand over many, many years which has lead to their outstanding brand loyalty. This is the main driver for their sales. People aren’t that scared about buying Apple products because they can’t remember the last time Apple gave them severe buyers remorse. I read somewhere that Samsung’s Galaxy Gear had a return rate of over 30%. That is some severe damage that they are doing to their brand image. Companies should not underestimate how important consumer trust is.

          44. Re: different kinds of premium.

            You can buy a new car for $15k. Or you can buy one for $150k. But you can also buy one for $30k. The 30k and the 150k car are both premium compared to the 15k one. But one is only going to be purchased by the rich, while the other can be purchased by just about anyone who can afford a new car at all. Apple’s prices are premium, but they’ve always been very much in the “just a little bit more” camp rather than the “ten times as much” camp. It’s only with the more expensive versions of the watch that Apple is venturing beyond it’s home base of selling “affordable premium.”

            Apple is weird in that they sell modest premium devices in terms of cost, but they have a superstar premium brand in terms of reputation and cachet. The watch is their first foray into upgrading their prices to match their reputation. I’ll bet that they are monitoring the reactions of their customers very carefully, and at the first hint that their brand’s status is being tarnished by perceptions of excessive greed, the watch edition will be pulled and the stainless steel watch’s price will come down.

          45. Although I think that pulling the Edition might be a bit extreme, I totally agree that it was never a priority for Apple, and that they were probably very careful about how it might negatively affect them. I think they needed a pricy watch mostly to appease the fashion media.

            The most revealing comment I think came from the recent earnings call. Tim Cook explicitly mentioned that Apple Watch margins are below the company’s average. That’s an important point that the media hasn’t commented on yet.

      2. “So what has Android wear missed and the Apple watch got right with regards to women ?”

        Aesthetics. Search for Android Wear reviews by women tech writers and almost all found them clunky. If geeky women find them unappealing, the mainstream female population probably didn’t even consider them past a quick glance.

        Apple offered 2 sizes, 6 case colors (arguably only 4 for the mainstream) and many different watch band/bracelet choices. It seems so obvious, yet so difficult to achieve.

        1. The moto 360 looked good , probably(but not certainly) fit well for girls, and had plenty of straps(although not official , so it might matter marketing wise somewhat):

          http://www.smartwatch.me/t/complete-list-compatible-moto-360-bands-and-straps/138

          There was also the lutetia smartwatch ,especially designed for women, almost like jewelery. Haven’t heard him breaking sales record.

          On the other hand , if you asked people in the watch industry, they would have told you that a square watch doesn’t fit girls’s fashion.

          But Apple ,because of it’s enormous brand power, can dictate fashion, unlike motorola.

          Furthermore, the claim you make is easily testable – now that we know how to design a watch for women, we just need to wait until some company designs it and – and we’ll start to see android breaking sales records.

          Do you think that is what will happen?

      3. Several things come to mind:
        – Apple is a trusted brand, so people are willing to punt on them getting it right
        – Apple has recruited a lot of fashion talent that helps them shape their market approach and launch campaign, which is unlike anything done by the traditional tech industry
        – Apple’s compulsive focus on craftsmanship is crucial when it comes to personal objects (ie. merely decent finish is not cutting it)

        Apple spent years behind closed doors figuring these things out. I would expect that it will take fast followers the next a year or two to catch up.

  3. “But if the average person spends about 2 hours using their smartphone daily, how does one get value from the digital world in all the other hours of the day?”

    Your brave new world is my dystopian nightmare.

  4. I totally agree with you article that notifications in a form similar to Google Now that provide you with the right information when you need it, is obviously the killer app for smart watches at this point, although I find it a bit biased as you used to say the complete opposite of that about the Android wear even though the notification platform in combination with Google now is as many times better than that of Apple,

    1. Thanks for the comment. I just had two very awful experiences with Android wear that soured me overall to the platform. It really just isn’t for me. I have noted that Google Now was the only thing that really delivered me value on the platform many times. There are a few other things I like but myself and many I’ve talked to did not have a good experience with Wear. So I think that is the issue. It is my firm believe that it is not a mainstream platform yet which is why less than 1m have been sold to date.

      1. >> There are a few other things I like but myself and many I’ve talked to did not have a good experience with Wear.

        Can you please expand on that?

  5. Hands free operation of the Apple watch:

    One hand/wrist to position the watch so you can actually see the face.
    One hand to tap it or to turn its little knob.

    Which is TOTALLY possible as long as you never try to hold a cup of coffee while using your new gizmo!

  6. this sounds more like a review of google glass than a smartwatch. not sure how you can qualify a watch as hands-free.

    1. no hands required to glance at a screen. And I”ll maintain a device on the face will have a tricky time going mainstream for some time. But again, they both point to an interesting future where we interact very differently with the digital world.

  7. This is a good piece and I hope Apple will make the Watch true hand free by enable us to accept/deny call or send message using SIRI (right now you have to use another hand to tap “Send”.

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