Premature Predictions About The Apple Watch

On February 27, 2015, Brian X. Chen penned an article entitled: “Apple’s New Job: Selling a Smartwatch to an Uninterested Public”, and on March 2, 2015, Mark Wilson published “You Guys Realize The Apple Watch Is Going To Flop, Right?” Let’s take a look at their critiques of the yet to be released Apple Watch.

There is going to be an unprecedented level of incomprehension and trolling around Apple Watch. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) 9/30/14

But by all means, write articles that Apple is going to lose. Makes my job easier. ~ Ben Thompson (@monkbent) 10/27/14

Consumers Not Excited About Category

For Apple, the hard part — making a smartwatch — is nearly over.

Soon it will be time for the harder part: selling the long-anticipated Apple Watch to consumers who, so far, are not very excited about the idea of wearing computers on their bodies. ~ Brian X. Chen

Saying consumers are not excited about the idea of wearing computers on their bodies is like saying horse owners, prior to the introduction of the Ford Model-T, were not very excited about being seen in horseless carriages. Mister Chen has it backwards. People are not excited about wearables because today’s wearables are not exciting. Trust me, when wearables become useful — similar to when cars became useful — customers will be plenty excited about the category.

Abandoned Features

Nearly two years ago, the company experimented with advanced health monitoring sensors that tracked blood pressure and stress, among other variables. Many of those experiments were abandoned more than 18 months ago after the sensors proved unreliable and cumbersome, these people said. ~ Brian X. Chen

First, features from prototypes often don’t make it into the final product.

A good design finds an elegant way to put all the features you need in in. A great design leaves half those features out. ~ Inspired by Mike Monteiro (@Mike_FTW)

Second, have we learned nothing from Apple’s history of making products? Apple is famous for creating products that contain fewer features and a better user experience. For example, if you wanted a mobile phone with more features than the iPhone, you could have purchased a Droid.

iDon’t have a real keyboard.
iDon’t run simultaneous apps.
iDon’t take night shots.
iDon’t allow open development.
iDon’t customize.
iDon’t run widgets.
iDon’t have interchangeable batteries.
Everything iDon’t…Droid does.

Verizon Advertisement, 18 October 2009

Valuing features over the user experience is the second biggest mistake in consumer market analysis. ((Valuing price over user experience is the first most consistent mistake.))

Flooded Market

Still, when Apple releases its watch in April, it will enter a market already flooded with smartwatches running Android Wear, a version of Google’s Android software system tailored for wearable computers.

Flooded market? That’s just not so. In relative terms, the number of smartwatches on the market is minuscule and their impact on consumers has been negligible.

Further, although the Apple Watch may share the same category as current smartwatches, that does not mean that they are in the same class. The Apple Watch is as different from the current crop of smartwatches as the iPod, iPhone and iPad were different from the MP3 players, mobile phones and tablets that preceded them.

Measuring the existing market is a mistake because the existing products are hired for different jobs.

For example, were tactile keyboard Smartphones from 2006, below, ever a real threat to the touch-based iPhone? No. They may have been in the same category, but they were most definitely not in the same class and they were most definitely not competing for same customer base.


Andy Rubin on seeing the obvious, non-novel iPhone: “Holy crap.” ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)

The Apple Watch may or may not succeed, but it is facing virtually no competition for the customers that it is targeting.


Five years from now, we will look back on round shaped smartwatches and view them the same way that we currently view physical keyboards on touchscreen smartphones.


Unlikely To Be Game Changer

But it is unlikely to be a game-changer for Apple, at least anytime soon. Toni Sacconaghi, a financial analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein research, thinks the watch will make only a modest contribution to Apple’s bottom line this year. He predicts that Apple will ship 7.5 million watches in the second half of the year.

That is peanuts compared with the tens of millions of iPhones that fly off the shelves every quarter. ~ Brian X. Chen

With all due respect to Mister Chen, this analysis of what constitutes a “game changer” is wrong on many levels.

First, contending that a product has to outsell the iPhone in order to be considered a “game changer” is setting the bar at an impossibly high level. After all, the iPhone, by itself, brings in more revenue than such tech luminaries as Microsoft or Google. Suggesting that a product has to be bigger than Microsoft, or bigger than Google, in order to be considered a “game changer” is unrealistic.

Our goal isn’t to make money. Our goal absolutely at Apple is not to make money. This may sound a little flippant, but it’s the truth…Our goal and what gets us excited is to try to make great products. We trust that if we are successful people will like them, and if we are operationally competent we will make revenue, but we are very clear about our goal. ~ Jony Ive

Second, the term “game changer” and “money maker” are not one and the same. The Macintosh was surely a “game changer”, yet Apple is only the fifth largest maker of PCs in the world today, and it took them thirty years to rise to that level.

We’re not focused on the numbers, we’re focused on the things that produce the numbers. ~ Tim Cook

Third, aren’t we employing a double-standard here? Google Glass, for example, was widely considered to be a “game changer” — right up until the moment when it was discontinued. And is it going to outsell the iPhone? Not hardly.

What’s the over-under on how long it will take Apple Watch to outsell Google Glass? A minute? No, seriously… a minute? Less? ~ Frank Boosman (@fboosman) 11/18/14

Jonathan Ive’s New Newton

The Apple Watch is Jonathan Ive’s new Newton. It’s a potentially promising form that’s being built about 10 years before Apple has the technology or infrastructure to pull it off in a meaningful way.

As a result, the novel interactions that could have made the Apple watch a must-have device aren’t in the company’s launch product, nor are they on the immediate horizon. ~ Mark Wilson

The next Newton? Hmm. Why does that sound so familiar?

I’m more convinced than ever that, after an initial frenzy of publicity and sales to early adopters, iPhone sales will be unspectacular… iPhone may well become Apple’s next Newton. ~ David Haskin, Computerworld, 26 February 2007

A product ahead of its time. Hmm. Why does that sound so familiar?

I added it up and … like 800 people are going to buy the iPad. . . . It’s not that the iPad is a failure. It’s just a product ahead of its time. No one should actually buy this iPad — between its inevitable first-generation bugs, fulfillment problems, and buyer’s remorse over added features and price drops, it’s heartbreak waiting to happen. ~ Molly Wood, CNet, 31 January 2010

JetsonsHow is the Apple Watch ahead of its time anymore than the iPhone was ahead of its time? The iPhone had WAY less support than the Apple Watch does. The iPhone didn’t even have native applications during its first year of existence and even after they were added in 2008, Apple didn’t have the base of developers that it does today.

Even if it is opened up to third parties, it is difficult to see how the installed base of iPhones can reach the level where it becomes a truly attractive service platform for operator and developer investment. ~ Tony Cripps, Ovum Service Manager for Mobile User Experience, 14 March 2007

I owned the original iPhone. Compared to today’s phones, and even compared to the second and third generation iPhones, it couldn’t compete. But compared to what came before it, it blew the competition away. I suspect that the same will be true of the Apple Watch.

You want to wait? Go ahead. But I, for one, still don’t regret having owned the original iPhone and I doubt whether those who buy an Apple Watch in April will look back and regret their purchases either.

Just Another Fitness Band

(R)eports suggest that Apple has pulled a lot of the power-draining specialty hardware from the watch—namely sensors to measure “blood pressure, heart activity, and stress levels, among other things.” That’s deep health mining stuff—much deeper than the heart rate and accelerometer-based movements the Apple Watch that ships will offer. In this sense, the Apple Watch will no longer stand out from any other fitness band on the market. ~ Mark Wilson

With all due respect, I have to vehemently disagree. The communication tools alone — including smart replies, emoji, dictation, voice messaging, walkie-talkie, glances, digital touch, sketch and doodles, Siri, taptic engine, and heartbeat — will be more than enough to distinguish the Apple Watch from all other fitness bands.

Besides, the Apple Watch isn’t about being a fitness band, it’s about being a platform.

We never saw ourselves in a platform war with Microsoft, and maybe that’s why we lost. ~ Steve Jobs

[pullquote]It is platform, more than anything else, that will matter most.[/pullquote]

I would contend that Apple — both with the iPhone, and now with the Apple Watch — very much see themselves in a platform war. And it’s a war they intend to win.

Will the Apple Watch have more sensors in future models? You betcha. But that will not be what makes or breaks it. The Apple Watch is a platform and the foundation for that platform is being laid now. Focusing on missing sensors is like focusing on the missing cut and paste feature in the original iPhone. It is platform, more than anything else, that will matter most.

Not For The Masses

When I look at the Apple Watch, I’m not seeing an empathetic creation for the masses. I’m seeing what the New Yorker’s more than 16,000-word story on Jonathan Ive would only hint at—that Apple may have built out the watch to satisfy the urges of a designer who has become more obsessed with Bentleys and Rolexes than making attractive, functional technology that will actually make life better for the 99%. ~ Mark Wilson

What? When the heck did Apple become the company that made products “for the masses”?

The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. ~ Matthew Lynn, Bloomberg, 15 January 2007

Hasn’t the knock on Apple always been that they make high-priced products for those who have too much money and too little sense?

(O)n some level, (Apple is) failing consumers when only 18% of the global smartphone population has an iPhone. ~ Jay Yarow, Business Insider, 24 May 2013

No Jay, you’re wrong. In fact, you’ve gotten it exactly backwards. Apple is the integrated solution that creates markets, not the modular solution that expands markets.

We’ve always believed that our role in life is to make the best, not the most. ~ Tim Cook

Apple created new product categories with the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. They are the cutting edge that clears the path for others to follow. If you question that statement, simply take a look at the operating system you are using on your desktop and notebook computers, the operating system on your touch devices, and the physical design of your notebook computers, your smartphones and your tablets. They were all inspired by Apple designs.

You know its driven Apple from the beginning… This compulsion to take incredibly powerful technology and make it accessible. ~ Jony Ive


As it happens, I think the Apple Watch will be a thing. Others do not. But we don’t know. Let’s come back in six months and see. ~ Benedict Evans

Yeah, I too think the Apple Watch is going to do all right — actually much more than just “all right”. I think, with Apple’s track record, they deserve the benefit of the doubt. But that doesn’t mean that I KNOW the Apple Watch is going to do well. Because I just don’t know. And I’m willing to wait and see how it plays out before jumping to any premature conclusions. But the one thing I am not willing to do is to sit here and listen to a lot of nonsensical guff as to why it won’t work out.

You’ve got a good theory as to how it will all turn out? Bring it on. But if all you’ve got is the weak sauce people like Brian Chen and Mark Wilson have been serving up, then shut up, get some popcorn, sit down, and wait in silence for the curtain to go up, like the rest of us. It promises to be one hell of a show.

BONUS CLAIM CHOWDER: Why Apple’s Upcoming Presentation Will Be A Failure

Steve Jobs’ blockbuster keynote address at last week’s Macworld was brilliantly and powerfully delivered — one of his best ever. It was also a colossal mistake. I think Jobs blew it. Here are my six reasons why:

1. Jobs raised buyer expectations too high.

2. Jobs raised Wall Street expectations too high.

3. Jobs gave competitors a head start.

4. Jobs undermined Apple TV hype

5. Jobs put iPod sales at risk.

6. Jobs wrecked Cisco talks.

Mike Elgan, Computerworld, 18 January 2007

Thanks for your insight, Mike. I can’t wait ((Actually, I can wait. I can wait forever.)) to hear the many reasons why the upcoming Apple Watch presentation “blew it” too.

Published by

John Kirk

John R. Kirk is a recovering attorney. He has also worked as a financial advisor and a business coach. His love affair with computing started with his purchase of the original Mac in 1985. His primary interest is the field of personal computing (which includes phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops) and his primary focus is on long-term business strategies: What makes a company unique; How do those unique qualities aid or inhibit the success of the company; and why don’t (or can’t) other companies adopt the successful attributes of their competitors?

85 thoughts on “Premature Predictions About The Apple Watch”

  1. “What? When the heck did Apple become the company that made products “for the masses”?”-Falkirk

    1. Of course, a computer that cost $2500 1984 dollars for the base model (~$5750 today). Clearly for the masses. There is a mass of people who can afford Apple devices but never the definition of “the masses” – a majority of people. All Apple devices are minority market segment devices. Even iPods cost some multiple of their mainstream competitors.
      The U.S. is an anomaly in iPhones due to high incomes, brand loyalty and device subsidies but Apple is always careful to take the cream of the market segments which is why their ASP, margin and profit levels are so dominant where market share so rarely is.

      1. “Even iPods cost some multiple of their mainstream competitors.”
        The iPod because by far the largest product in it’s field. It’s difficult to claim that that isn’t mainstream.

    2. By that estimation every company that’s ever made a commercial is guilty of appealing to the masses.

      Who are the “masses” anyway? Are they different from normal consumers or a special breed of consumer?

      Once again, another criticism of Apple trying to appeal to human beings with a pulse and money to spend. What nerve!!

      1. Mark,

        Remember “the computer for the rest of us”? Anyway, from my readings here there the Apple installed base is approaching one billion. World population is seven billion. Apple devices have reached the equivalent of 14% of the world population. Hardly just the 1%’ers. If one billion devices isn’t mass market, then nothing is.

        Or, we can look at it another way…
        There’s not an even higher multiple of Chinese craftsmen, making each device by hand. 🙂

        1. Are you slighting Apple?! I’m trying to see the negative but I’m not sure what your point is.
          Maybe you’re making the point that Apple doesn’t make anything we categorically need, which is relative to where you live and what you do. If you’re a bushman in the nearly inhabitable regions of Africa then an iPhone won’t necessarily make your life better. But if you’re a college student, an executive or a small business owner then absolutely, Apple sells a very necessary product.
          Just as necessary as food, water, and clothing. Moreover, it’s one of the chief arguments of net neutrality: that the internet should be defined as a utility; no different than water or energy. Obviously the internet is useless without the devices we use on a daily basis to access that utility. Just like water doesn’t serve its user very well without plumbing and, at the very least, a basin or bucket to hold it.
          Sorry if I went off topic but I’m not sure what’s grinding your gears about Apple.

          1. I’ll answer you in two parts. First, the matter at hand…
            No I’m not slighting Apple. The matter was about “since when has Apple made products for the masses?”. IMO opinion, the answer is “always”, but especially since the iPod they have been a mass market consumer electronics producer.

            The answer to your broader question. “Am I slighting Apple?”.
            Yes I am. I slighted MS, and Intel, and Apple is not immune to my slights. I see being a fan, in general, as BS. Their offerings do not surprise me in capability, but they do impress me in how they do, what they do. That is design. They lose points in what they don’t do, and what they forbid me from doing.

          2. “They lose points in what they don’t do, and what they forbid me from doing.”

            Ah! So we get to the root of your Apple hatred. You’re another one of those “if I don’t have complete control of my device it’s garbage” people. The basis of that argument is futile and in many ways immature.

            You can’t have your way so you act out by slighting Apple whenever possible. Apple isn’t catering specifically to you and your needs and that’s upsetting to you.

            And that’s fine. You want to root your device or futz with the 1’s and 0’s, then I suppose Android fits you well. And thank the heavens they exist so that people like you have a choice. It just so happens that the choice that 74 million people made in just the closing months of 2014 was the iPhone.

            I’m sure that twists your whitey-tighties into a gym-class rope but for many people they want to know that what they purchased doesn’t require tinkering or a computer sciences degree to operate. They want simple, they want elegance and yes, in some ways they want hold a status symbol. Just like Nike or Armani or Mercedes, Apple creates products that work good, look good and make people feel good about their investment.

          3. And some would like to tinker. Newsflash, it’s not either/or. I wasn’t going there with this, but whether I buy an iOS device or not, it’s a censored environment. That gets my shorts in a knot.

            In another article post I ask “Imagine if Gutenberg could decide what got printed”. Well it’s here before you.

    3. The author of the article I was quoting defined “the masses” as “99%.” I don’t think anyone here would argue that Apple makes products for the 99%.

      1. That being the case, I turn my bewilderment to the author you quoted. Of course then, Apple doesn’t sell to the masses. They don’t make food, water, shelter, or clothing. Everything else, must be luxury!

  2. Maybe this is simply what Apple had to do: Make the smallest conceivable version of a Mac, with processors, screen, input, and storage. A microMac that can sell globally. Gold is fine. Apple has always charged first buyers a premium. Watches just aren’t my cup of tea; my wife wears watches. She wants an

      1. I didn’t refer to the gold watch; I think the $350 price for the sports model is a step toward steep.

        1. Check your history, at $350, the watch is the cheapest first version of a new Apple product line, iPod ($399), iPhone ($599), iPad ($499).

          1. Checking … I actually bought one of the first iPods. Still $350’s twice the most expensive watch I ever bought. And so far, the aWatch is just a watch. It makes no proposition commensurate to the iPod, of all my tunes in one device. I own that. It’s called an iPhone. But as I said I am no gloomer. Or boomer. Still checking…

          2. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad were also lacking many features when they launched. I’m just pointing out that you’re wrong on the price being steep for the first generation of a new product line from Apple. And that you view the watch as just a watch without any other features you need is right in line with historical criticism of first generation Apple products.

            I suspect we’ll see a lot of media coverage along these lines, “Apple Watch, too expensive, doesn’t do anything useful!” And we won’t see any historical context letting us know that this is exactly what was said about every first generation Apple product.

          3. “Exactly what was said…” Except as I noted, the iPod, which had a great business proposition: All my tunes with me anywhere I go.

            Not to worry. As noted above, I don’t think Apple has a thing to worry about. It’s in high orbit. Hell, it’s a freaking moon shot.

      2. Correct me if I’m wrong but Omega, Rolex, Cartier and a host of other watchmakers have stainless steel, composite stainless and gold, solid gold, and gem-encrusted versions of the same basic watch design, don’t they?

  3. One thing no one seems to consider when speculating about the Apple Watch success is that there really isn’t any choice for Apple. The next device innovations are the Internet of Things and wearables. If Apple doesn’t experiment with these new product categories they will ultimately fall behind and then they are certainly doomed.

    Apple certainly wants the Apple Watch to be a success but even if it is only moderately successful, they still have to start along this path somewhere. Small devices like smart-watches are just becoming possible now. To be there when they reach the point of mass market acceptance they need a real product as soon as possible.

    1. That’s an interesting perspective. Unless you are being sarcastic, I’ve never considered Apple as a company worried about falling behind.


      1. Not sarcastic at all.

        The reason Apple doesn’t worry about falling behind is because they refuse to. They obsolete their products before a competitor can. Hence working on the Apple Watch perhaps a generation or two too early. Just like the iPhone.

        In my opinion, the iPhone 3GS was the first iPhone that really lived up to the expectations we had. The previous generations were better than anything else available but were a long way from ideal. Apple could have waited but sometimes the only way to make progress is with real products.

        1. I largely agree. The adage of “real tech companies ship” always comes to mind. But usually they are so far ahead of the competition when they ship their hardware I never think of them as worrying about falling behind. I don’t think Apple would consider shipping anything, though, unless they thought it was ready to ship.


          1. That’s true, it was more true in the past. When operations takes over, it’s wise to keep them to the fire.

  4. FalKirk , of course it’s a bit too early to predict the apple watch’s fate.

    But the context is interesting: Google has became very good in UX and design, maybe as good as Apple.It has watches in the market for quite a long time,The watches are considered of high quality(although maybe some polish might be needed , not sure). And they don’t sell that well.

    This was far from the case with regards to iPod/iPhone/iPad.

    And as far as we know, most of the features of the Apple Watch will are already in Android wear.

    One the other hand,there might be a hole in android’s design/marketing , with regards to appealing to women, they’re a bit weak there(only a few models fit the size and design/fashion requirements of women). And Apple seems to attack that with right sized watches and ads in vogue(to make it fashionable).And a watch might appeal to women more than man because they carry their phones in their bags(but still few women use android wear). And Apple’s target market is wealthy and the only smartwatch they’ll buy is the Apple watch and Apple’s marketing savvy and muscle is unbeatable. And they seems to also target china – and status symbols sell there very well, and an Apple Watch is a great status symbol.

    So looking at the context, it’s hard to be certain if the Apple Watch becomes a hit or not. It could go either way.

    1. “Google has became very good in UX and design, maybe as good as Apple”

      Not even close. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of what design actually is.

      “So looking at the context, it’s hard to tell if the Apple Watch becomes a hit or not. It could go either way. But it will mostly be because of fashion – and much less because of functionality/usability.”

      This has been said about pretty much every Apple product. First it is written off as a certain or probable failure, then when it succeeds it is only because of fashion or status (plus marketing).

      What many people don’t understand is that design is how a thing works, not just how it looks. Luxury and fashion do play a part in Apple products, but not in the shallow way of simple status that many believe. True luxury is craftsmanship, attention to detail, quality of materials, design, user experience, and more. Status is a small part of that, certainly, but too many people make the mistake of attributing Apple’s success to only that. Of course this is why so many people think Apple’s success is temporary, certain to end at any moment, just you wait, any day now.

      The Apple Watch will do very well, and that will be because of both form and function, because Apple pays attention to both. As they should, it’s a powerful combination.

      1. True luxury is craftsmanship, attention to detail, quality of materials, design, user experience, and more.

        I don’t know if new android phones are “luxury” , but many display attention to detail(there are probably less bugs than ios, very high attention to ux/ui detials) quality of materials(plastic is a quality material, aluminum is marketed as having more quality), design/ui(kitkat/lollipop are great at those), craftsmanship(apple/android both require that – because they are very complex and that’s how you design complex stuff).

        And i wouldn’t say Apple’s success is temporary, but neither is everlasting. With time other people learn even the most advanced of skills. that’s just life.

        And BTW, having seen preliminary demonstrations of android auto and CarPlay , there aren’t any big differences, except for google choosing a more designed software(or maybe Apple hasn’t fully completed development so we don’t see design yet). And since they are having extensive testing at car companies , even if the more designed android auto would be find distracting, than it’s a simple matter for google to turn off the design , and than we’ll be left with very similar car OS’s . This is just another indication that Google have learned to design well.

        1. Okay, this is pretty much what I thought. All those attributes of luxury that I listed, they’re also aspects of design. You seem to think design is the visual, the ux/ui. That’s part of Design, but just one aspect.

          That you would say “a simple matter for google to turn off the design” proves again that you don’t understand what design really is. Most people don’t understand Design though, you’re not alone in this, it’s fairly common to misunderstand it as just the ‘how something looks’ part.

          It may be impossible to articulate the differences between Google and Apple based on your understanding of design. I completely understand why you think Google is “maybe as good as Apple” on the design front. What you’re seeing is more effort from Google on the visual aspect, and that’s a positive development, but Google has such a long, long way to go yet, they’re nowhere near Apple when it comes to Design.

          1. So help me understand what design is. What are other important parts of design ?

          2. Holy smokes, where to start? When you say ‘design’ I’m pretty sure you mean graphic design. So that’s one discipline within Design, but there’s a ton more. And even within graphic design there’s different specializations and considerations. Ten bucks says other designers won’t even fully agree with what I say here.

            Hmm, Wikipedia might be a good place to start:

            It’s vast and complex though, and there’s crossover between disciplines, lots of disagreement on processes, and so on.

            The key point for me is that Apple is clearly a Design firm, capital D on design. Google is not even close to that, they’re only recently putting effort into one aspect of graphic design. And that’s great, the more tech companies (other than Apple) that begin to place value on design, upper or lowercase D, the better off we’ll all be. Design matters, it’s important.

          3. That’s just silly. Of course we’re not talking about making things beautiful(graphic design) , but also making things intuitive and easy to use(ux/ui).

            And yes it’s complex and all, it takes ton of work, extensive user research, alot of prototyping, etc. But Google does that.

            For example here’s this analysis of Google Maps vs Apple Maps , by a designer, that clearly shows both companies have a lot of knowledge of design.


          4. “Of course we’re not talking about making things beautiful(graphic design) , but also making things intuitive and easy to use(ux/ui).”

            And a whole lot more. You’re still not understanding how big Design actually is. The article you linked to seems to only tackle graphic/UI/UX design. Which is great, but that’s only part of Design.

            I work with programmers with Masters and PhDs, and I’ve heard them remark that a lot of the software Google has created is goofy when you get into the guts of it. So that’s poor design when it comes to the software, code, system. Or more likely just not very much attention paid to Design. Culturally the tech industry doesn’t care much about Design.

            I can see we’re not going to agree on this. If you think Google is on par with Apple when it comes to Design, you are quite wrong.

          5. With regards to software design: I don’t think that’s true that not very much is paid to software design in google – because Google is known as a world class software design organization ,and it’s definetly one of their core strength.

            But it could be that the software is less well designed(altough i’m not sure of that): First ,Android is a response to the iPhone and they had to develop android very rapidly. Usually when you do that, quality suffers.

            Second, technically – android is far harder software for than the iphone ,because it needs to run on a large unknown variety of devices, and support variety of processors and screen sizes. That’s why they choose java, which is suboptimal.

            But that gave them the ability to be first in the market with big screen phones, and it took apple quite a while to get there.

            But anyway, how the software is internally built is not a big concern of users, as long as there are no bugs, and android is in a good place with that respect.

          6. Google pays attention to the function, and they’re good at it, no question. But they are not particularly elegant in anything they do, even the software. I’ve found much of Google’s apps to be mediocre at best, obviously built by good engineers that paid almost no attention to Design.

            Culturally Google is at odds with Design. They are making an effort to improve that, as I’ve said, and I applaud them for that, but Design has been a focus at Apple for decades now. The gap between the two is very large.

            “how the software is internally built is not a big concern of users”

            Well, if you don’t focus on Design very much (Google until very recently), this is true. If you care about Design (Apple for decades), this statement is completely wrong.

          7. I think the Sistine Chapel is ugly (not really, quite the opposite), prove me wrong!

          8. This is easy. The ‘art is in the eye of the beholder’ angle you’re trying to take doesn’t actually prove the point you think it does. Quite the opposite. If you understand the content, the method, the technique, all that is involved in the creation of a great work of art, even if it is not pleasing to your eye at first glance, you cannot help but appreciate the beauty, the talent, the message, and more.

            For example, Lord Jim isn’t one of my favorite novels, but because I am a writer (and have an English degree), I understand why it has value, why it is so good. I gain joy from it at a deeper level because I understand it.

            So when you say “prove me wrong” re: the Sistine Chapel, you’re actually just acknowledging your own ignorance. I realize you’re not really saying this work of art is ugly, but you aren’t proving what you think you are.

          9. I agree with you on the merits of the arts, in being an “informed critic”. There is beauty in eliciting emotion within sets of rules (such as within a school of thought). Here’s the thing about the arts though, it’s NOT a law of nature. There’s no absolute measure or scale that’s unambiguous and universally true. For Art’s sake, this is a great benefit, that it IS so subject to interpretation, so human centric, so “in the eye of the beholder”.

            So, to speak so absolutely, conclusively, and rigorously on the arts, as when you said “this statement is completely wrong” to Rob bennet, is to actually cheapen what is most valuable about the arts.

          10. It goes far beyond simply being an informed critic. Design is a process, there is method and technique, effort and thoughtfulness, skill and purpose, meaning and message. The same can be applied to art, music, literature. Universal truths do exist. Where it becomes subjective is not in recognizing the worth of a piece of art, but rather in the discussion of where the value lies, what is the meaning, the message, discussion of the method, and so on.

            It is foolish to think that we cannot recognize that Midnight’s Children is literature worthy of study while Fifty Shades of Grey is junk, even though Fifty Shades is far more popular and more widely read. This isn’t opinion, it is not subjective. Just as you can look at a table with flimsy legs, nails sticking out, see that it wobbles and is not level, and come to the conclusion that this table was poorly constructed, you can do the same for creative works. You can see it easily with the table because it is so obvious. But you lack the necessary tools to recognize this in art. Indeed, you seem to think it isn’t possible.

          11. I definitely see your point, but it still involves assumptions that are not a universal truth. This is because the human psyche cannot be analytically quantified to sufficient resolution. To “some” a wobbly table is more beautiful. To “most” it isn’t, but there’s a special appeal to Rube Goldberg’s machinations.

            I’m glad you disclosed that you’re an English major, let me make the simplest point… The order of the letters in the alphabet is not based on some universal truth, they are that way by convention. To say a child is reciting them “wrong” is to signify a break in convention, that is where they are “wrong”.

            Turning to music (you have mentioned you’re a drummer, ahhh…those drummers!) do I think that Neil Diamond’s music has better artistic value over Barry Manilow’s arrangements? You bet I do! Rock, over disco? Yewbetcha! But can I “prove” it (in a mathematical sense)? No. If I could it would no longer be art, it would be science.

          12. I’m much more than a drummer, Music Performance was the first program I was in at university.

            You can absolutely prove that some music has worth while other music is poorly constructed nonsense. You lack the education and tools to recognize the difference, so you assume it can’t be done.

            Your comparison of the poorly constructed table to a Rube Goldberg machine was a bad choice. The Rube Goldberg machine is meant to be functional. The table I’m describing is non-functional.

          13. The dude is a troll or wannabe analyst. Total waste of time. There is no way to teach the blind to see. Try describing colour (or for Americans, color).

      2. Google is good at many things. And they do some things better than any other company in the world. But if you think that “Google has became very good in UX and design” then you and I have very different views on what good UX and design entail.

        1. I think you meant to reply to Rob bennet, not me. I agree with you. Google is at least putting more effort into visual design, but that’s only one aspect of Design, and they have a long way to go yet even with visual design.

    2. That there are even “Watch Wars” is ridiculous. Right up there with the “Cola Wars”.

      Here’s what I’m waiting to see…the price of the gold edition watch. If it were a house, it would be a McMansion, not a Frank Lloyd Wright. The higher the price, the only more ridiculous a McMansion it would become. Price paid is but one component of “status”. Heritage in the field, craftsmanship, limited release are but a few others. The only way this will be an heirloom is in the Smithsonian, or if a celebity wore a specific unit.

      1. ” The only way this will be an heirloom is in the Smithsonian”

        Apple isn’t making the gold version of the watch to be a heirloom, they’re making it because their target market is everyone who currently wears watches, and that includes a significant segment who wouldn’t buy or wear a watch that *isn’t* made of gold.

        The iphone and its imitators recalibrated everyone’s expectations of what a phone should be and do. Which included training everyone to expect that they’ll need to charge their phones daily (instead of weekly), and to expect that phones are large cumbersome slabs of glass (instead of tiny foldable flip phones). They suceeded in making everyone accept a serious downgrade in battery life and smallness, in exchange for the benefits the touchscreen smartphone brought to the table.

        With the watch, Apple is seeking to do the same kind of thing with
        watches. Heirloom-ability and going years or forever without charging/winding are things they hope customers will give up in exchange for the benefits offered by their watch computer.

        One part of that is that they hope the small but important market segment who will want the gold version of the Apple watch (ie, people who will only buy an expensive watch because they want everyone who sees their wrist to know how much disposable income they have), will be OK with coming to see watches as more like shoes or handbags rather than fine jewelry — something you buy a new one of on a regular basis because the old one is no longer stylish and/or worn out.

        One key thing I’ve read recently is that back in the early 00’s, everyone at apple hated their phones — so the iphone was created to solve pain points thrown up by featurephones and blackberry-style smartphones. In contrast, the movers and shakers of the watch project at apple are watch fanatics who love to collect watches. So, apple’s watch isn’t trying to solve a pain point*. Which means it’s a much bigger gamble. Could turn out that nobody outside of the geek gadgethounds market segment is going to have much use for apple watches. Time will tell.

        * The pain point the pebble (and its imitators) is supposed to solve is taking your phone out of your pocket to see who messaged you 100 times per day. Trying to solve that by putting notifications on your wrist instead of by seeking to bring the number of notifications under control is like putting a band-aid on a spurting artery. All you’re doing is trading looking at your phone too often for looking at your watch too often. I wrote more about the tyranny of notifications and how they’ve led people down the garden path of thinking smart watches must be the next big thing here:

        1. Yes, but you’re a reasonable person. I’ve been hearing “Rolex Level Pricing” for the Gold Edition. As high as $20K by some pro-Apple pundits. At that price, it better be an heirloom, or be capable of running NORAD… 🙂

          1. I’m of two minds about the gold watch’s price. On the one hand, Apple is a tech company and luxury/status symbol pricing is very antithetical to the tech company ethos. In which case it’s going to cost around $5k, give or take, plus another 5k for one of the solid gold bands that we can be pretty sure Apple will be revealing tomorrow.

            On the other hand, the people who want a *gold watch* aren’t actually interested so much in a watch that is made of gold, as having a watch that is very expensive. Offer them a choice between a Rolex and an identical watch made of identical materials that doesn’t have the luxury markup of the Rolex, and they’ll take the Rolex *because it is more expensive*. So it’s possible that Apple decided that if they are going to have a gold version of the watch in order to appeal to people who aren’t going to wear a non-gold watch, they *have* to price it the same as a gold Rolex — around 10k for the watch, plus another 10k for a gold band.

          2. Angela Ahrendts didn’t leave a $28 million a year CEO post to become SVP at Apple just to open retail stores. She’s building the next great luxury brand.

          3. Apple is no longer just a ‘tech company’. They left that narrow category and blazed a different path, which might be roughly describe as ‘luxury/tech’, around the time when they realized that for a lot of, or even perhaps most, of its buyers, iPhones were as much personal statements of status and identity as utilitarian tech devices.

            This is what most mainstream tech blogs do not seem to get and that is why they can’t, for the life of them, understand and accept why Apple is so dang successful. The percentage of iPhone buyers who truly understand the technology that goes into an iPhone is probably about the same as the percentage of Mercedes Benz owners who can tell you about what makes the engine, drivetrain, suspension, onboard electronics worth paying the amount of money they paid for it. What they are buying is the experience and the status of driving a Mercedes Benz. The superior experience of course requires superior technology and design but heck if the typical MB buyer can explain to you how that comes about.

          4. I’m a cheap bastard that doesn’t give a rat’s backside what others might think about my devices (cars, phones, whatever), but I value my time and sanity, and also like things that have been designed with care and inspiration. I resent the price of the iPhone and pad, but the computers are pretty good value.
            The only Benz I ever considered was the early A class, but ended up with better, cheaper alternatives. Unfortunately, probably because iOS and the i’s are so far in front, there is far less choice in the tech world, because to me, windows/android are the barely in the Trabant league. They sort of, may or may not get you there and require time and tools pretty much constantly, whereas what we want from cars is reliability and safety, and the compromise may be paying more for infrequent servicing that you can’t do yourself. MB and higher for me are almost the Vertu versions of cars.

        2. Generally agreed, but one important point: the target market is definitely not everybody who currently wears watches, it’s much larger than that and includes people like me, who have given up wearing a watch.

        3. With regards to notifications, you forget the fact that notifications are addictive and maybe watch notifications are even more so.

          And any product maker would want their product to be addictive.

        4. Excellent points, but I think you’re not seeing the Watch for the iPhone replacement or relief that I suspect is its real raison d’être. I don’t believe they’re trying to out Rolex Rolex, but to replace it with something considerably more useful, even though you believe they love their fancy watches, which I suspect would make this project quite painful for them.
          It’s a bit confusing though, because Jony is reported to have said Switzerland is, um, stuffed, so that suggests some animosity.

      2. Quite beside the point, but I would vehemently object to using Frank Lloyd Wright, whose poorly designed buildings invariably start leaking and falling apart after about only fifty years, as the diametrical opposite of a McMansion. 🙂

          1. I got a good chuckle awaiting the first person to brag they’re wearing a Jony Ives…

          2. On the other hand, I would assert that Jony Ives is a far better designer than FLW. I would get an even bigger chuckle if someone proudly tells me that they’re living in a Frank Lloyd Wright. Okay, enough now of my pissing on dead people’s graves. Apologies to anyone who were offended.

          3. That would be a challenge, maybe more than cars, assuming of course they are actually working on a car.

          4. Yeah. Who wants a house that’s 70 ft. wide and 1 ft. deep with only one door anyway? 😉

            But, for the benefit of my friend Space Gorilla, I sure hope Apple not waste their resources on anything else other than removing more stuff and features.

        1. Imagine trying to load in a show in a FLW designed theatre. No loading dock, no loading doors. Everything comes in through the lobby and the house.


      3. I suspect there is a good chance it will also be Smithsonian worthy, celebity be damned. Heirloom is totally irrelevant. Gold buyers are dicks, but why not take their money? Notice they said almost nothing about the gold version but Ive described the details on the aluminum and stainless?

    3. “Google has became very good in UX”
      Every time I use Google Maps / Streetview / Google Earth, the user interface has changed and I can’t even get the view to point where I want it.
      Google hasn’t got the first clue about UX

      1. I don’t know , google maps on the phone seems consistent as far as i remember, maybe some changes but nothing big or complicated. But they did mess a lot with the UI on the web.

        Altough Google maps does have a lot more functionality than Apple Maps, so it’s harder to create a good UI for that.

  5. I read earlier that Apple definitely won’t build a car, because…

    – Existing car makers can’t make decent margins.
    – There is currently no significant demand for electric cars
    – Apple knows nothing about designing or building cars
    – Apple hasn’t got the manufacturing capacity or relationships required to build cars
    – Tesla has too big a lead for Apple to catch up.

    Basically the same reasons why Apple is unlikely to produce a watch, and was unlikely to produce a tablet computer, a phone or a music player.

    I can see how people can be this stupid. I can’t see how they never learn.

    Will Apple produce a car? Only if they find a solution to problems that other people are failing to address.

      1. Murray’s minicars are terrific production and design pieces. Right down Apple’s alley, eh Horace. Eh?

    1. Once Apple buys BMW – and a controlling interest would cost only $40 Billion – or $65 Billion for the whole company – Apple will have the manufacturing to create cars.

      1. You’re saying that like BMW is a good fit. While they have manufacturing, distribution and a less complicated market, they have a huge ICE legacy obligation. If Aplle did hook up with BMW, it could be like the Cingular deal, where they supply the distribution and some sales, but maybe manufacture as well. I can’t see Apple buying it and getting caught up in its old world liabilities, unless they go hybrid and the ICE only supplies power to charge the batteries. In that case, I believe a turbine would be a simpler solution.
        Unless Apple has discovered their battery tech is actually better than say Tesla’s or they’re using fuel cells, I don’t believe there is any way hybrid (only to charge the batteries, not like the Prius) can be avoided in the near future. You get to use liquid fuel, fuel efficiency increases by an order of magnitude, the distribution network is there and you don’t have to wait hours while your device is unavailable.
        Unless Apple is gambling on changing the way the world uses personal transport, say for example, little autonomous carts running around cities where you hop on/off and city managements are prepared to overturn the American way, they’re likély to just overturn glaring deficiencies in existing motor cars.
        Unless you were just being flippant……

  6. Using your own arguments aginst you, John, just as pundits are prematurely judging that the Smartwatch of Apple will tank, you are also prematurely speculating that it will become a success or amount to anything-extrapolating from Apple’s previous success.

    Fact is, only “time” will tell. (Pun intended.) =)

  7. Spot-on. I continue to be amazed at the collective stupidity and prejudice of people well paid to be analysts, oracles and pundits, and how spectacularly wrong they are in their assessment of the present and future. That they are being well paid to offer their corporate clients and the public clarity, insight and directional leadership, and that their supposedly all-knowing insights are to be given higher regard than yours is absolutely terrifying.

    And mind you, I am not saying this because I use Apple products and am an Apple stockholder. I am saying this not just about Apple, but about other companies under the microscope of the punditocracy. That this class of exalted tech high priests are allowed such a following by the media and bestowed such deference makes me question our genealogical relationship with sheep and lemmings. Because when we take the ridiculously stupid clam chowder cited by so well by Mr. Kirk in his wonderful article, we should take a hard look inward. I have met the enema, and it is us. (And no, that wasn’t a typo.)

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