Apple Watch will finally move the needle on smartwatches

A few weeks ago, partly in anticipation of Apple’s big event this week, I published a report on market prospects for smartwatches, and wrote a companion piece here on Tech.pinions on the topic. The title of the piece was “Grading on a Curve: Smartwatches in 2014” and it reflected my frustrations with smartwatches as they exist today and their limitations, both in imagination and execution. The conclusion of my smartwatch report read:

For all the above reasons, current market prospects for smartwatches are poor, and a few million sales per year are likely to remain the norm for the foreseeable future, with Samsung dominant and other vendors picking up scraps of the overall market. We don’t see smartwatch penetration exceeding 10% of the population in the near future, and it is likely to be considerably smaller in many markets for some time to come. However, all of this is subject to there being no major catalysts to drive growth above current levels.

Two major things could catalyze demand in this market: a player overcoming the significant technological challenges associated with the current smartwatch model, or a player which breaks the model and reinvents the category. Apple seems the likeliest company to do either of these things, and we believe that its entry – likely in late 2014 or early 2015 – will catalyze the market and drive much more rapid growth.

Given the announcement of the forthcoming Apple Watch, I thought I’d revisit some of my thoughts from my earlier piece and report with a view to answering the key question of whether Apple can indeed move the needle on the smartwatch market with its entry, based on what we know now.

Grading on a curve, revisited

I’ll start with the diagram that summarizes my frustrations with the current market, which is based on the Verge’s reviews of major smartwatches. I’ve updated it to include two smartwatches released and reviewed since I originally did the chart (the Moto 360 and Meta M1):

Updated Grading on a Curve chartAs you can see, a number of the smartwatches receive scores around 8 out of 10, putting them above the Galaxy S5, Nexus 5 and HTC One Mini in the smartphone category, and the Galaxy Tab S, Surface Pro 3 and Kindle Fire HDX in the tablet category. For the record, here’s my own rating (from that report) of some of the major smartwatches in the market at the time, with a possible total of five points available in each category for a total of 35 points overall:

Jackdaw Research smartwatch grades

As you can see, I’m a significantly harsher critic than the Verge is and I’m not grading on a curve. Interestingly, at least some at the Verge seem to share my frustrations with the smartwatch category as it currently stands, although there’s a disconnect between that frustration and the scores the Verge is dishing out. The point here is the existing smartwatches fail to deliver on the things smartwatches need to do well. (Incidentally, the Moto 360, which I’ve been testing for the last few days, wasn’t out when I did the report and so wasn’t included. Based on my initial testing, I’d give it a 23, so slightly better than the others in the list above.)

How does Apple Watch stack up?

Of the smartwatches I graded in the report, the only one I didn’t have significant hands-on time with was the Meta M1. I did get to see, touch and compare the Apple Watch at the launch event, but haven’t had significant experience with it yet, obviously. In addition, there are key things we don’t yet know about the watch, including the detailed pricing list and perhaps most importantly, battery life. However, we can have a go at rating the watch based on what we know. Here are the scores I would give the Apple Watch on the same seven categories, based on the limited information we have available:

  • Attractiveness – the Apple Watch immediately jumps to the front of the pack on this element. it’s smaller, more polished, and comes in a far greater variety of SKUs than any other smartwatch out there. Score: 5.
  • Bulk – the Apple Watch comes in two sizes. Neither is as small as the smallest analog watches out there, but both are an improvement in both size and shape over other smartwatches. Score: 4.
  • Display – like several of the other smartwatches out there, the Apple Watch has a high resolution, high quality display. It seems on a par with the Samsung devices in this respect. Score: 4.
  • Battery life – this is the wild card at present, since we have no official word from Apple. But based on some of the leaks ahead of time, the size of the device and what it’s capable of, I suspect battery life will be on par with the Moto 360, i.e. very short. Score: 2.
  • Charging – like Motorola, Apple seems to have moved beyond the awkward charging cradles most of the competition uses and created a beautiful and simple charging mechanism. It’s not wireless charging at a distance, but it’s the next best thing. Score: 4.
  • Functionality – the Apple Watch does far more than most smartwatches, which are predominantly notification centric and tend to do fitness tracking as an afterthought, if at all. It’s impossible to know based on brief, controlled demos how good the watch will be at these things, however. Score: 4.
  • Interaction – this in one area where Apple has put significant investment in innovating and I think its paid off in a big way. Interacting with most other smartwatches, especially those based on Android Wear, is a real pain in the neck, aside from those times when voice control is helpful. Apple’s “digital crown” based approach seems to be a big leap forward here. Score: 4.

If you add those scores together, you get a total of 27 out of 35. I’m grading harshly on an unknown – battery life – and holding back the 5s in most categories simply because I haven’t tested it yet. But that’s already better than the other watches out there. That’s a good thing and may well help move the needle. If the functionality and interaction are as good as they seem, that would immediately take the device to a 29 out of 35. If the battery life is better than I’m expecting it will be into the 30s, putting it head and shoulders above the others.

Solving the problem of weak demand

The other major issue I highlighted in my report and in my piece here on Tech.pinions is not only is the supply of smartwatches weak, but it’s attempting to meet pretty weak demand too. Even as most smartwatches cater to notifications and to a lesser extent fitness tracking, the demand for both is low among the general population. Most people don’t make extensive use of push notifications and only 10% of the population uses a fitness tracker. Meanwhile, the devices in the market largely fail as useful watches, and fail to provide much additional functionality.

Apple’s watch does attempt to tackle both fitness tracking and notifications, but I don’t sense that either is central to the appeal of the device. Though Apple eschewed the idea of shrinking a smartphone down to make a smartwatch, in many ways that’s what its done in creating the Apple Watch. I think the key point Apple was making here was actually not about functionality but the interaction paradigm. The fact is the Apple Watch will – when tied to an iPhone – do many of the things your smartphone can do. It will allow you to communicate, to read, to navigate, to check your messages, email and calendar, and listen to your music. As such, Apple’s vision of the smartphone is not so much about extending notifications to the wrist as it is about extending a far greater set of smartphone features to the wrist, of which notifications are only one part.

This expanded vision of what a smartwatch should do should help Apple expand the addressable market for smartwatches beyond fitness fanatics and notification nerds to a much larger slice of the general populace. If the job of the smartwatch is now, to a great extent, the same as the job of the smartphone, it should appeal to most of the people who have a smartphone, and especially to most of the people who have an iPhone.

Price is the major barrier

Given what we know now, the biggest single barrier to the Apple Watch moving the needle on the smartwatch market is price. These devices will start at $349 and go up from there (in the case of the Apple Watch Edition, presumably by a significant amount). As with other Apple products, price will dramatically limit the addressable market, and especially at well over 50% above the price of many current smartwatches. To be sure, if there’s an audience that’s willing to pay a premium for quality and a job done right, it’s iPhone owners, but this device isn’t going to suddenly turn the smartwatch into a mass market device for that reason alone. Yes, it will likely sell well among iPhone owners and will become a significant new revenue stream for Apple, but at this price it won’t achieve majority adoption even among iPhone owners in the next few years.

Of course, prices tend to come down over time even as functionality expands and Apple has a long history of providing significant incremental upgrades over time with its major product lines. At the same time, Apple’s focus on the iPhone ecosystem and its high pricing will provide an umbrella under which other vendors can continue to compete. Just as the iPhone has achieved high share in the premium smartphone market while leaving large chunks of the market to others, so will the Apple Watch. The availability of the Apple Watch will drive awareness of and interest in the category, and many Android owners may consider their first smartwatch as a result. Competitors will no doubt quickly mimic some of the Apple Watch’s key features and functionality, at least on paper, though as with the original iPhone, it may take considerable time for them to truly compete in practice.

A big boost for the smartwatch market

For all these reasons, the Apple Watch will be just the kind of catalyst I talked about in the conclusion to my report. It won’t drive majority adoption of smartwatches any time soon, but it promises to fix several of the key demand- and supply-side barriers to smartwatch adoption, and will be a huge hit for Apple. At the same time, it will provide a boost to other vendors, who will have to compete largely around the Android opportunity and the lower end of the market. Exactly how big the boost to the market will be is hard to estimate until we know more about the watch as we approach its release. But we could easily go from single digit millions of shipments per year to tens of millions in the wake of its launch.

Published by

Jan Dawson

Jan Dawson is Founder and Chief Analyst at Jackdaw Research, a technology research and consulting firm focused on consumer technology. During his sixteen years as a technology analyst, Jan has covered everything from DSL to LTE, and from policy and regulation to smartphones and tablets. As such, he brings a unique perspective to the consumer technology space, pulling together insights on communications and content services, device hardware and software, and online services to provide big-picture market analysis and strategic advice to his clients. Jan has worked with many of the world’s largest operators, device and infrastructure vendors, online service providers and others to shape their strategies and help them understand the market. Prior to founding Jackdaw, Jan worked at Ovum for a number of years, most recently as Chief Telecoms Analyst, responsible for Ovum’s telecoms research agenda globally.

671 thoughts on “Apple Watch will finally move the needle on smartwatches”

  1. I’m not sure I’d:
    1- rely on Verge reviews exclusively.
    2- Give it a 5 for attractiveness. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this one is square, thick, and apparently limited to Apple-supplied bands ? Also, I don’t find it good-looking in general, on top of being square.
    3- Ditto for bulk: it fails the “shirt sleeve” test, and looks bulky.

    Smartwatches might be promised to a bright future. Not this first lot though, be it on the Apple or Android side. But if someone stuck a gun to my head and made me pick one, I’d choose the Moto 360 for being the only not-ugly one. And promptly forget it in some drawer.

    1. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this one is square, thick, and apparently limited to Apple-supplied bands”

      You realize, of course, that there’s going to be a plethora of 3rd party bands for sale as soon as it launches, if not before. All those phone case makers will be salivating at the prospect of a new niche to sell to.

      Also, some people like square, some people like round. take a look at the google image search results for “square swiss watches”.

      Al of the S-watch makers to date have been offering huge gadgets that would look like Andre the Giant’s watch on any medium or small-sized wrist. Apple’s offerings look positively svelte compared to most of the other S-watch options out there.

    1. The problem is no one seems to be paying either of those companies any attention outside of tech centric sites. While that is valuable, though esoteric, it won’t move the needle on smartwatches. Whether one likes it or not, good or bad, Apple has the attention of more than just the tech world. Until these other companies get that, few of them will be able to move the goal posts the way Apple does. Samsung comes closest, but only by spending 11x more than Apple in marketing.

      Joe

          1. If that tree _wants_ to make a sound, what in the world is he doing falling in the wilderness where no one is listening?

            Joe

          2. If they aren’t hiding they are doing a great job of pretending. It is up to the company to create awareness for their product. So far Motorola and LG are being dwarfed by Apple in both efficacy and effect. COuld Motorola do more? I have no idea. Should they do more? Absolutely. I actually like what I’ve seen of the 360. But don’t kid yourself into thinking they are relevant to anyone but you and your like minded peers.

            Joe

          3. The Moto 360 looks great in product photos, but for me it looks terrible on an actual wrist. Seems like the Apple Watch has the opposite issue, it looks okay in photos but much better in person.

          4. If you ever, for one second, contemplate switching to a career in advertising, promotions, or marketing, don’t. You have the wrong mindset for it.

            That thar’s good advise, son. Heed it.

          5. You can certainly speak for yourself and your like minded peers. It may not matter to you, but it still doesn’t make it a universal truth.

          6. One only has to be mildly observant to see that neither the 360 nor LG is creating any relevance beyond tech esoterica. You can be in denial all you want. It won’t change that fact.

            Joe

          7. What am I being in denial about? I’m just a stickler for a more integral report.
            If I were to buy a watch right now, it would likely be the 360. I think it looks better, and offers more latitude with many other devices.

            No need for a watch war…

          8. where were you over the last 6 month when they introduced the Moto 360, almost everyone was hyping it to the point of madness except maybe Apple Fan

            that the problem when spend you get your information only on Apple Blog

          9. That’s the problem when you only get your information from tech sites, you lose sight of the larger picture. It’s like I tell artists, particularly dancers/choreographers who are trying to get started by only inviting their dancer friends to their shows. Those people aren’t their audience. they are their friends. The “formula” is ‘Make great work, tell everyone about it”. Not “just tell you friends.”

            Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t think it is a failing of the watch. I think it is a failing of the company. Motorola has a potentially great product. They need to put more effort in telling _everyone_ about it. You think Apple only relies on the tech press?

            And as I’ve said elsewhere, Motorola’s success with any product, including the 360, is not dependent on Apple fans. So there is no relevance in constantly bringing up “Apple fans”.

            Joe

            And for the record, I only regularly read a couple of Apple centric sites. I mostly get my info from a couple of headline aggregators, and news sites like CNN, BBC, NYT, and NPR. Oh, and friends and family, like my engineer and IT brothers. There aren’t too many tech sites/blogs I care for anymore because of the militant pro/anti [insert name of a tech company or platform here] of the sites AND their commenters.

            JF

          10. And yet for all the hype, anaemic sales whereas the Swiss, Japanese and well Fossill sell 10’s of millions of watches in the $250-500 range all using cheep $1 quartz timers.

          11. A Google trends search on “Moto 360” and “iWatch” seem to show a very different story about what happened over the last 6 months.

          12. Sounds like a good start, but of course we need actual numbers before we can make any claims about selling well or not.

          13. whoever know about distribution of new category of products will tell you that selling an entire first batch in 2 minute show a lot of excitement for an undefined market

          14. Surely you can see that future versions of the Apple Watch will solve some of the technical issues which limit design possibilities. The watch will only get sleeker and sexier as we go forward. And it ain’t bad in version 1.

          15. Sure, but again, vertical integration gives Apple an enormous advantage, plus Apple is darn good at design *and* miniaturization. If anyone is going to eventually produce a watch that rivals the top end watch brands, I’d bet on Apple.

          16. It won’t be worth it to you. You don’t value much of what Apple delivers. It’s not the right ecosystem for you. You are not an Apple customer, that’s neither good nor bad, it simply is. You will not be happy as an Apple customer, that is obvious, so you should avoid Apple products and make do with alternatives.

          17. Yes, of course you’re right and everyone at Apple who worked on the Apple Watch is wrong. Yikes.

          18. “These are tech products. Not a Rolex.”

            That actually does a great job of encapsulating why the smartwatches to date have largely failed. It is also an issue Apple risks. But I think Apple and Motorola have done more to move beyond being a tech product than anyone else. Is it enough? Only time will tell. But if Motorola doesn’t get off their butts to promote the 360 more than it has, it won’t matter.

            Joe

        1. ” (Incidentally, the Moto 360, which I’ve been testing for the last few days, wasn’t out when I did the report and so wasn’t included. Based on my initial testing, I’d give it a 23, so slightly better than the others in the list above.)”

          FYI,
          Joe

  2. How are you going to listen to music with the Apple Watch – hold your wrist up to your ear? And why would you want to do that?

    If you’re thinking about listening to music at a distance (more than 3-4″), that would use up battery life fast and sound awful as well.

    I don’t think that’s a real option.

      1. Okay but Jan was referring to listening to music from the Apple Watch. How is that better than Bluetooth from your phone?

        1. I run with my iPhone, just like millions of other users. At present, there are a couple of choices:

          1) Hold the phone in your hand. Not ideal, as it ties up your hands and is uncomfortable
          2) Put it in an armband. The face of the device is obscured and hard to reach. Changing tracks is also difficult.
          3) Put it in a belt. Out of sight, and it bounces like mad.

          A watch solves all of these problems. The music doesn’t have to be on the watch either – it can be played from the phone to headphones, with bluetooth LE connection to the watch as remote. Great on the roads, on a bike, at the gym, etc. Added bonus, you can glance at notifications to see if they are urgent or worth your time without having to break your routine.

          1. Agreed. I’m surprised how many people seem to be refusing to use their imagination. An iPhone in your pocket and an Apple Watch on your wrist is a powerful, flexible combination.

          2. My favorite comment I read this week (not sure where) was referencing the iPhone. It was something to the effect of:

            My mom re: iPhone
            – 2008 “why would anyone want something like that?”
            – 2011 “my son gave me his old iPhone, it’s pretty cool.”
            – 2014 “I want the 6 Plus.”

            Early adopters can get ahead of themselves with wild speculation about what might eventually be. They inflate the value of version 1.0 products because they are so hopeful. But much of the market has to be dragged into adoption kicking and screaming. To these users, the value isn’t visible until it is obvious. They need experience with a device before they can trust that it is worth having.

            I’m totally ok with people like Doubter expressing their concerns; likely this user is a natural skeptic and will come around in time. What drives me nuts are those who are willfully spreading FUD for no obvious reason.

          3. There’s a huge difference though between **substituting** and adding.
            My smartphone replaced my dumbphone, my MP3 player, my Palm Pilot, and an ebook reader I’d have gotten otherwise; my tablet partially substituted for or fully replaced my netbook, portable dvd+media player, and portable console.
            A smartwach wouldn’t be replacing a watch, I barely have the one, for decorative purposes for important meets, not sure if it even works; people around me mostly don’t have watches either.
            I’m not looking to add a gadget, on the contrary: I don’t need the bother, the expense, the learning… The bar to create a new spot in my garde-robe is a lot higher than the bar to take one or several other gadgets’ place.

          4. Which falls into the “better than nothing” category as far as I’m concerned. I usually listen to Pandora. I can’t up vote a song with my headphones. I can’t dismiss a text message either. Siri doesn’t work very well through any headphones I’ve ever used on the move.

            I’m not saying that this use case alone justifies the Apple Watch. However, it’s one example off the top of my head that will mean a lot to me personally (as well as a decent piece of the population). I run marathons and compete in triathlons. Besides music, I have a few fitness tracking apps that give feedback mid-workout. I’m excited to have some of that at a glance on long workouts rather than dropping out of my music app on the run or working with buggy audio cues in the apps.

          5. Indeed, something wrist-mounted makes sense for fitness tracking, or if you stream your music.
            I’ll admit to being old school: my music is stored locally in my phone (helps when reception is patchy), organized in folders, playlists, and by genre. Upvoting or downvoting leaves way to a bit of monthly playlist management. I’ve got Zouk playlists for running… bpms have a strage hypnotic effect on my speed… Zouk Love for long runs, Zouk Machine for shorter one ^^

          6. gonna have to try it out. I’m all for hypnotic.

            There’s actually a couple of apps that will take any song in your library and magically adjust the bpm to whatever you want. I don’t have a clue how it works, but the song just speeds up or slows down without distorting anything. You can create a whole playlist of a constant bpm – I have a rowing machine mix to keep my timing steady. My existing music essentially becomes a metronome.

          7. “I run marathons and compete in triathlons.”

            I’m going to be curious how well this will stand up to skin excretions.

            Joe

          8. It’s DOA if the answer is anything less than “perfectly.” Fitness can’t be a pillar if it can’t handle serious sweat.

  3. Apple puts a computer on your wrist, screen, input, processors? Guess it’s still married to the idea of the computer after all these years. Even after changing its last name. It’s kinda sweet.

  4. As Horace Dediu says, it’s all about the job to be done: Always told my kids to stay near the fresh water and the Mayo Clinic. When I hear from the Mayo that its app will make it a significantly better healthcare partner … maybe cheaper as well … I will stick an aWatch on my arm.

  5. if you can come here to tell me that the Apple Watch is better than the Moto 360 in term of attractiveness and usefulness you’re delusional

    the only thing the Apple watch have over the others are their Brand and their Army of blogger like you that want to fool people into thinking that watching picture, video or sending your broken heartbeat to your ex girlfriend in your watch is a revolution worth 350$ on top of your 700$ IPhone

    the UI looks like something created by an army engineer where Each one has added their own crap App in the screens without limitation nor constraint for geeks to salivate about.

    my take is
    if you think your watch should be your new mini Phone, Go for Apple Watch
    while if you think your watch should be a watch with add functionality the Moto 360 and ASU zen watch is the best in the market

      1. As a smart man, you still have a brain that can be objective, even if you’re the strongest Apple Fan

        My biggest problem with Apple watch is not even the Hardware, they just hire a lot of watch maker after seeing the Moto 360 and I think they’ll get it right next time.

        my problem is with the user interface that looks more like a joke made ​​for Geeks or computer scientist than anything else.

        if Steve was still alive today the entire software department will be fired for putting out this crap that remind me a lot of the old Microsoft mobile phone.

        the irony is that Apple is becoming more and more like Samsung while Google is becoming more and more like Apple’s under Steve Jobs

    1. FTFY:

      If you can come here to tell me that the Apple Watch is better than the Moto 360 in term of attractiveness and usefulness, you’re delusional.

      The only things the Apple Watches have over the others are their brand and their army of bloggers like you that want to fool people into thinking that watching pictures and videos or sending your broken heartbeat to your exgirlfriend in your watch is a revolution worth $350 on top of your $650 iPhone.

      The UI looks like something created by an army engineer, where each one has added his or her own crappy app on the screens without limitation nor constraint for geeks to salivate about.

      My take is that if you think your watch should be your new mini phone, go for Apple Watch. If you think your watch should be a watch with added functionality, the Moto 360 and Asus ZenWatch is the best in the market.

      1. do you know what the best analysis or reviewer does when comparing two products, they turn to ordinary random people, those that would buy the product in the first place and ask them to choose between the Moto 360 and Apple Watch and to tell which of the two they will buy

        try that then you will see how wrong you are.

        In fact, I got my Moto 360 2 Day ago and I was very impressed with the elegance and craftiness of the watch and the simplicity and usability of Android wear

        not a single person that I met choose the Apple watches, over the Moto 360, and the majority of them were iPhone user

        1. Everything I’ve seen from regular people suggests they’re far more excited about the Apple Watch than the 360. And having tried both I feel the same way. I’ve been using the 360 for the last four days, and while it’s better in some respects than other Android Wear watches, it’s still a pretty limited product.

          1. what Facts are you referring to?

            is the one from Jan Dawson who said that Apple Watch is better and more elegant than the Moto 360?

        2. Have you ever seen the Apple Watch? Have you held one in your hand? How on earth can you speak so definitively? Your opinion is just that – YOUR opinion. The author has held both, and came to a different personal conclusion.

          Buying decisions on all personal electronics are complicated, and are usually not the result of a feature matrix. Watches are even more complicated because they are personal; they are a visible expression that says something about the wearer. Smartwatches add yet another layer of complexity in that they all connect with other devices. The Apple watch will interface beautifully with an iPhone, while the Moto 360 will be useless to Apple customers. Of course the reverse is also true with Android devices. Watches from companies like Pebble are agnostic, which has its own pros and cons as well.

          You bought a watch that you like, and after a few days you are very pleased with your decision. Good for you! Really, that’s great news. But you have spent a lot of the time since buying that watch on this website complaining about the existence of the Apple Watch. It seems an odd use of your energy to take such a positive experience with the Moto 360 and turn it into a negative by focusing on other people’s curiosity about a product you don’t intend to buy.

          1. Here’s what I know, the way we evaluate a product is based on our experience, our attachment and our relationship to the product or the company that created it.

            almost every single analysis on this blog are Apple users, with close relationship with the Folks at the company, hence their attachment and experience is with Apple’s products, which make it very natural for them to always see more value in what the company is doing compared to others, the same thing is also true for Android users.

            You can not expected an analysis who has always used apple product since the very beginning and invested in the ecosystem. and who have useed Android device for a few days or weeks just for testing for purpose only to have an unbiased judgment on its value when compare to an Apple product.that make no sense unless He or she is a Vulcan from the Star trek series

            every Android user will tell you that Google Now is one of the most important and powerful feature that is at the core of the android Value and user experience therefore to go from Android phone to Android Wear watches is just a natural extension of something that is already central and valuable to our experience.

            because of Google now most Android user will find more value in predictive and voice technology which is completely different from Apple
            These two attributes alone can make or break for a lot of people depend on the company they prefer, which is why unlike the analyst of this who is an Apple user I prefer the Google approach with SmartWatch more than the Apple one.

          2. 100% of this comment was levelheaded and fair. You are acknowledging that there are two viewpoints. However, most of your comments on this article are centered around your belief that Moto 360 is better than Apple Watch. You speak as though it is a mathematical truth rather than your own subjective opinion. I appreciate that you feel you are outnumbered by Apple fanatics, and that you feel some obligation to defend your own opinion. But if you go back through your comments chronologically, you’ll see that you were not actually defending Moto/Android. Instead you were the aggressor, mocking the wisdom of ANYONE who could possibly see value in the Apple product.

            If you reconsider the point the author was trying to make (including in his prior article), he is suggesting that Apple is in the unique position of moving this product category into the light. This is true almost regardless of the quality of the actual Apple product (but it is a bonus that the product seems to be a good one according to many who have held one). Nobody else could get Vogue and Hodinkee (look up his review to appreciate the build quality) to write long reviews of a new smart watch. Nobody else would get a spot on the cover of Time. You may say it’s unfair, but it is purely driven by public demand. Apple managed to crash the sites of dozens of retailers and mobile carriers last night by making the iPhone 6 available for preorder. Tmobile had to resort to pen and paper to take preorders because their system was so badly overwhelmed for so long. I would argue that Apple has earned this ridiculous cult status by sticking to its simple mantra of products that are well built, easy to use, and attractive.

          3. It wasn’t an attack on Apple or it’s user, I was judging the products just as many of you here love doing when it come to Samsung products.

            The author was trying to compare two products from two different company, and act as if his personal taste was a clear review, without acknowledge his natural Biases Du to the fact that he is long time Apple user.

            that was my only issue with the article

            For me, the Moto 360 is better because it is more elegant and more masculine in a way that speak men much better, and I hope that Motorola will make another one that very feminine for women, rather than just create a smaller one with another type bracelets.

            Besides
            I’ve said already on another thread that Apple will sell a ton of Watches, which I think is a good thing for the industry, but that still will not change my opinion on the product.

          4. You read the same article I did, but interpreted it very differently. This was not a review article. It was a business analysis of supply/demand within the smart watch sector. He only used ratings to illustrate his broader points about the inherent weaknesses of all products in the category. The article for me was less about Apple vs. Android and more about what it will take to get watches really growing as a category.

            The premise of the article was:

            Two major things could catalyze demand in this market: a player overcoming the significant technological challenges associated with the current smartwatch model, or a player which breaks the model and reinvents the category. Apple seems the likeliest company to do either of these things, and we believe that its entry – likely in late 2014 or early 2015 – will catalyze the market and drive much more rapid growth.

            The conclusion was:

            For all these reasons, the Apple Watch will be just the kind of catalyst I talked about in the conclusion to my report. It won’t drive majority adoption of smartwatches any time soon, but it promises to fix several of the key demand- and supply-side barriers to smartwatch adoption, and will be a huge hit for Apple. At the same time, it will provide a boost to other vendors, who will have to compete largely around the Android opportunity and the lower end of the market. Exactly how big the boost to the market will be is hard to estimate until we know more about the watch as we approach its release. But we could easily go from single digit millions of shipments per year to tens of millions in the wake of its launch.

            None of this has anything to do with any specific model. He is suggesting that Apple can bring attention to the whole category, including the Moto product roadmap. Apple is raising the tide, and the Pebble and Moto 360 are boats along with the Apple Watch.

          5. i disagree
            the author was clearly trying to compare the Apple watch with the others and reach a score based on the attractiveness, usefulness etc. .. which was my disagreement with him.

          6. I don’t understand how you can completely ignore the source material (his first article on the subject) as well as both the introduction and conclusion of this newer article. Also, you are choosing to ignore that the author is a financial analyst rather than a professional tech reviewer. You are ignoring that the article title, which clearly encompasses the full product category. But that’s fine; we can agree to disagree. If you only want to look at the pretty charts in the middle and treat everything else like white noise, I’m done talking about it.

          7. His comparison and the score were the only area in which I disagree with, because I think he made the same mistake as many others analysis by evaluating the watch as computer Gadget instead of what it really is which is a Jewelry with computer added functionality.
            Other than that I was ok with the rest of his opinion.

            i

          8. Literally nobody who is looking for watch reviews will click on this article. There are dozens of sites dedicated to ratings/reviews with heavy web traffic. CNet, Engadget, The Verge, ZDNet, WSJ, NYT, Re/Code, etc. all cover gadget releases religiously.

          9. do you know whats funny Loll

            i received a Google Now notification about his article on my Moto 360 because i often Google this web site for tech news.

            what does that tell you?

          10. It tells me that you are an active reader of Techpinions with a specific interest in smartwatches. It tells me that you do most of your searching/browsing while signed in through Google+. It tells me that you are using your watch for a lot of notifications, probably more than the typical user. I’m not sure it tells me anything else.

          11. it should also tell why i disagree with the author when he said the Apple watch is more useful with more feature than Android wear because my Moto 360 SmartWatch is a powerful assistant with access to the entire world’s Knowledge base sitting right there on my wrist to provide me with useful information when i need it and answer all my questions with just a voice command, something you won’t be able to do with Apple Watch without even taking into account Fitness, and App integration that has just begun.

  6. It occurs to me that a larger screen iPhone that can stay in your pocket or bag more *because* you also have an Apple Watch makes a lot of sense.

      1. Not necessarily, depends on how well integrated they are. Apple’s vertical integration gives them an incredible advantage here. I think perhaps it isn’t an accident that larger screen iPhones, iOS 8, and the Apple Watch are being launched fairly close together. The watch is a natural extension of the iPhone. I expect future versions of the Apple Watch to do more but be less. I’m impressed with version 1, given how much tech they packed into it. So many use cases, we’re all going to be surprised by how the watch is used.

  7. Isn’t the sensor array the new factor as input or interface? One more step toward our, us, becoming the input device? the user as user interface?

    Aren’t all those bn of connections serving as ears or tongues, as well as brains? I think Apple sees it this way: Ive made a big deal of the sensors in his presentation. And Cook similarly stressed the physical, fitness and health, uses.

    Liftoff will require huge, cheap energy in digital media. Like tunes launched the iPod. Apps, the iPhone.

    The aWatch fuel will be us. Our heartbeats. Our temp. Etc.

  8. I think we tech enthusiasts are too hyper-sensative to “bulky”. Maybe because we envision these things to be sleek and slender so to mask the technological nature underneath the hood, and to appear and appeal more upscale. But, if you look around and shop for regular watches, bulky is actually a thing, surprisingly. Especially for many of the under 30’s I know. I don’t get it, but there you are.

    This is not to say that _size_ doesn’t matter. But I think Apple has done the best to date to address this right out of the gate.

    Joe

  9. I will disagree with you on two counts.

    1) I think the battery life will be very good, or at least less awful than the competition. The UI looks to be optimized for low power consumption on an oled display. Windows Phone 7 ( and Android 4.0 ) did the same thing, using lots of saturated colors on a black background. This approach makes a lot more sense on a watch than on a smartphone/tablet, as you are not going to view webpages on a watch.

    2) I think the physical design is kind of disappointing. I dont think it is downright ugly, but it isnt very eyecatching either. It doesn’t excite any emotion in me other than meh.

    1. Unfortunately you aren’t aware of several factors concerning technology in general. Every year, the fabrication level moves in in near unison, depending on those top 9 key foundries. Intel, Samsung and TSMC’s move to 20nm and 14nm/16nm process levels. Screen technology also drives Technology innovation and no doubt Samsung and LG lead the World there. But battery technology and innovation is the 3rd and most likely most important in mobile devices getting lighter, smaller, more powerful, but better yet more energy efficient. Lastly battery technology still has a ways to go on wearables in particular.

      The number one spender on battery R&D and more flexible innovation and new materials technology will win this race. That company the last 3yrs in row has been Samsung Institute of Advanced Technology, along with Samsung’s Techwin Division and newly renamed Samsung SDI. The small companies can come up with some innovations and new ideas, but it takes a company the size of Samsung to actually bring those to market for mass production.

      Samsung is the first to announce mass produced flexible, denser, new material batteries, no longer needing to be liquid filled. Which is the primary reason for concern in batteries in any device, for safety reasons. A wearable is worn directly on the skin, not carried in your pocket or even hung around your neck. It has to be safe not just from external damage, but internal circuit damage, etc. Solid flexible/mold-able material batteries take care of both and instantly provide safety in both cases.

      The battery in the Galaxy Gear S 3G, is first generation solid core flexible/mold-able battery technology to come to market. It’s density has also been increased and that’s why it is able to power this 3G stand alone smartwatch/phone for two days rather than the one day of all other less capable smartwatch wearables, including Apple’s smartwatch. It’s the main concern right now for Apple’s watch launch not coming till next year. All of the reports so far indicate that the maximum battery life on Apple’s watch will be a day at most. Heavy users will most likely see far less. Unless they can get with Samsung on a deal to supply their latest battery technology.

      If a 300mAh battery in Gear S 3G can last two days with it’s near double the screen area/size, without the need of being tethered, think what that would mean for these other smaller less featured wearables requiring your Smartphone to always be near for most anything? Want to go for a jog, you have to carry your smartphone with you. Need to run to the store fast? You can forget to take your smartphone, but you can’t forget your smartwatch if you’re wearing it. The convenience of not requiring you to have your smartphone with you 24/7 for 2 days of battery life, is immeasurable and a more than good enough reason to choose to choose functionality over over both looks/external design and total lack of independence of any smartwatch.

      But….. both Qualcomm and Samsung have another Ace up their sleeves and in fact Samsung has two. First being thin battery wristbands, that can easily replace and augment Gear S 3G’s internal battery life over a week. They are already in the pipeline for both Gear Fit and Gear S 3G a thin membrane on the wristband will make power contact, while also allowing sensors to work and also allowing easily changed wristband batteries to be swapped out easily. Meaning you’ll never really be forced to actually ever carry your smartphone or your battery charger with you. AND….. that’s why I’ll be buying the GEAR S 3G instead of an Apple Watch!

  10. Forget the pebble, apple killed a business hat made more profits than pebbles revenue (Newton). Apple dosn’t have to care about the smart watch market, the $250-500 quartz watch market is worth over $10 bill and that where Apple can iterate learn and expand from. As it stands apples got enough right to take a large share of that market. That just as a stand alone product. I’m surprised with what they are doing but this is as much a smart watch as the iPhone was a phone ie it isn’t.

  11. You’re making quite a few assumptions that I think are quite debatable.

    1. Can the Apple Watch and the G4 Cube be meaningly compared?

    Both products are very different, the G4 Cube was a in-the-middle product hence positioning was different, Apple is a very different company from what it was back then, PC markets and smartwatch markets are different, and the list goes on.

    2. How will the presentation affect the uptake of the Apple Watch?

    The presentation is not the only marketing message that Apple will send out until the watch comes out. We can expect many messages to come out in the form of ads and PR. What Apple said in this presentation is not necessarily what the public will hear in the months to come.

    I actually felt that the presentation was designed to get fashion critics and developers excited. Not so much tech reporters.

    3. The value of $350

    $350 is less than an iPad. Sure I might hand it down to my grandchildren, but only because I’ve just bought the newest and greatest model and I don’t need the old one anymore. It’s not jewelry. Not that one at least.

  12. Initially my thoughts were similar to yours, but I’m coming around to the Watch. I think the frictionless payment thing could take off and that excruciating clip they used in the presentation could have been replaced with video of virtually any chip card transaction IRL. I’m also feeling that being able to choose just about any high end watch deign any time I like might grow on me, but I can’t see paying more than $300ish for the SS model and nice band, even if the BoM is high.

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