The Apple Watch: Dressing the Naked Wrist

Ben Bajarin / March 9th, 2015

Last July, I wrote this post called “The Naked Wrist”. What we have been thinking through for some time related to smartwatches is whether there is a category at all? Do they solve an unmet need for consumers? I framed this with the observation that most consumers today do not wear a watch regularly. Even though research shows that, depending on the country, watch ownership can be as much as 70%, most don’t wear them all the time and more often than not, wrists are naked rather than elegantly dressed. Apple is hoping to change that.

When I wrote my smartwatch report (free report), my goal was to lay a foundation I could build upon. After seeing the full Apple Watch reveal, I think there are a few take-aways.

Productivity

I understand productivity is not a very attractive term. However, I’d like to frame a part of what intrigues me about the Apple Watch in this way. I’ve always believed whether at work, play, learning, or something else, technology, at its best, is an enabler. Going even further, technology really shines when it enables something new.

Now we, the mass market consumer, may not look at things like getting healthy as productive, but it is. The health elements of the Apple Watch and many other wearables is a productive promise at its core. The ability to streamline communications in the form of notifications, or even text messages or email, is a productivity story. Matt Panzarino picked up on this narrative in an article where he discussed how the Apple Watch will help us save time. I’m intrigued by this idea that the Apple Watch could essentially challenge the idea of when we need to take our iPhone out of our pocket, purse, or bag. This is why I have added to the phrase “the best screen is the one you have with you” to “the best screen may be the one you can see at all times”.

The Apple Watch, from what we have seen, adds functionality to the iPhone which did not exist before. It does this by way of health, communication, media, even something as simple as using the Apple Watch as a remote viewer for the iPhone camera, all an extension of the iPhone’s functionality. As developers figure this out, things are going to start to get very interesting relating to the Apple Watch.

Too many people are writing off the Apple Watch on the premise they don’t see a need. We must recognize not everyone may see a need, but also that many people will. Especially as consumers grasp the idea the Apple Watch, together with the iPhone, opens up doors to new experiences not possible before. This includes communication.

The Love Tap

When it comes to new experiences, the Apple Watch opens up new interaction models to communication. Many write off some of these features as a gimmick, but I’m keeping an open mind. Many here in the US use to think adding a camera to your phone was a gimmick. However, visual communication is an essential part of our digital lives today. In the same way I am optimistic that communicating via small messages drawings, or even having a “love tap” with a loved one, has the potential to add an entirely new interaction model.

At the core of most computers (desk, lap, tablet, smartphone) is communication. It is a fundamental driver of technology and often the network effects behind technology adoption. This is why I believe the communication elements of the Apple Watch could be a primary driver of the product into Apple’s ecosystem in a large way.

Success for Apple

While I do believe sales of the Apple Watch will be healthy, I maintain the Apple Watch will be a slow adoption cycle for consumers. Meaning, I think it will take a few years for it to truly go mainstream. Keep in mind, the iPhone didn’t truly go mainstream until the iPhone 4. However, thinking broadly about the smartwatch as a category, I’m beginning to formulate the view that success for Apple is not relative to the success for the category. Success for Apple is relative only from the viewpoint of their ecosystem. Think about this. If, over the arc of time, we find the Apple Watch sells 5-6 million units each quarter, many may say it was a failure. Yet this number is exactly what Apple sells in Macs each quarter and no one considers the Mac a failure. Success is relative to Apple and every product is an endpoint in their ecosystem. Some are huge in volume, like iPhone, and others are not. Success for Apple is defined by their ecosystem and those endpoints which drive the ecosystem now come in many shapes and sizes.

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio
  • DrewBear2

    It’ll be interesting to see what app developers create with the Taptic technology for the visually impaired.

    Since we will need to rely on sporadic announcements from Apple on unit sales (1 million on first weekend, xx million in first quarter, etc), cries of “failure!” will likely persist for some time. Of course if the “Accessories” category for the June quarter earnings report suddenly spikes…

  • klahanas

    From what I can tell, it does nothing my Moto360 doesn’t do. It’s major drawback is that it only works with a late model iPhone, whereas the Moto360 works with any Android, and is reportedly going to be iOS compatible soon as well. (Provided there are no politics of “approval”, of course)

    In either case…whatever…

    • What you say is probably mostly true. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that the Apple Watch will not be very successful, like the Moto 360.

      If however, the Apple Watch does succeed, then we must revisit our theories and our logic and see where we were wrong. And I would caution against arriving at the simplistic “well Apple has a super strong brand” conclusion.

      We also have to keep in mind that a huge number of pundits who often cheer Apple, also argued that they couldn’t see what the Apple Watch was for, and that Apple had done a poor job communicating it (which I don’t think was improved upon much).

      For me, the Apple Watch is a one-in-a-lifetime experience to test, learn or unlearn marketing theories. Whether it succeeds or whether it flops, its going to be very, very interesting.

      • Bertie

        Exactly right.

      • klahanas

        -People will often buy a new album from their favorite band, even if it’s not up to par…
        -People will continue to root for their favorite team, even on an off-year.
        -People will continue to vote for their political party, even if gone awry.

        Branding has evolved from not only defining a companies products, to also defining a companies users. It’s a statement the user makes. It used to be cars and clothes and jewelry, now it’s gizmo’s.

        The Apple Watch will be successful in the market. It can’t miss.

        • That’s an interesting hypothesis. Maybe Apple will provide us with data on how many Android users came to buy the Apple Watch. Or maybe some third party will provide purchase intent data. Maybe there will be similar data for Android Wear devices. Then I think we will able to assess the validity of your theory.

          • klahanas

            Well, considering that it’s generally known that the Watch won’t work with Android, that’s anybody’s guess. Will it be a driver for the switch from Android to iOS? Who knows. If it is, then it’s a resounding success.

            Red pill or blue pill. Sometimes binary choices stink. Wouldn’t it be better (for the general buyer) if it worked with any phone?

          • Nevermark

            Wouldn’t it be better if Google didn’t read people’s gmail before they did?

            Your question is naive. You ignore the implications of a less focused Apple.

          • klahanas

            I agree, that’s why I don’t use Gmail. At least they don’t charge money, and they tell you. Next.

            I prefer a less focused Apple than a hyperfocused Apple that requires me to abide by their OCD. I prefer to abide by my own OCD.

      • Kenny

        i think the Apple Watch will do just find at replacing the IPod business,

        i Love the Watch primarily the strap but i am not a big fan of the UI, i expected it to be much more simpler than that, i still prefer the Android Wear UI but we should not doubt apple market and brand power and their ability to sell a product.

        Besided
        what make you say the Moto 360 was unsuccessful ?

        • Ok. Maybe it’s premature to say that the Moto360 isn’t doing well. There is the Canalys data stating 720,000 Android Wear devices shipped in 2014 but haven’t enough data.

          I suppose success/failure should be measured relative to the Apple Watch. We can revisit this after a few months.

          • Kenny

            I think it is reasonable to wait at least two generations before arriving at the conclusion as to whether a device or a product category has been successful or not, because base on this kind of standard will make even the first iPhone a failure.

            I do not see the SmartWach as a High Volume product, for me it’s just a very nice looking accessory to pair with your phone.

          • capnbob67

            Not really… selling a hundred thousand or so, relatively cheap watches into a very well developed market with well over a billion potential users is nothing like selling several million expensive first gen devices in a new category from a non-traditional vendor into a very immature market. One is failure, the other is success.

          • If the smartwatch is destined to never be a high-volume product, but only a nice accessory, then yes, Moto 360 could be considered a success even with only about a million units in annual sales.

            That would be sad.

    • obarthelemy

      the iWatch runs a marathon in Africa on the wrist of a top model.
      Also, the iWatch is available in conspicuous consumption models, the Moto360 isn’t.

      I think the Moto 360 is a tool that looks nice, while the iWatch is a fashion accessory that does things. I’m actually surprised at the amount of looks choices J. Ive is letting customers have this time around (last week, having a choice of material for a phone was a bad thing; this week, it is OK for the iWatch), and that kind of emphasizes where the focus is.

      • klahanas

        Great answer!
        I can only conclude that this game is for the traditional fashion houses to win or lose. From a tech perspective it’s all relatively new and not yet fully baked, all the way around.

        • capnbob67

          It’s so cute when you guys have a mutual love-in… ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • klahanas

            Take it easy there Skipper, I’m arguing with Gilligan on the
            other line… ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • aardman

          Someday, there will be a signature AppleWatch line ‘designed by Chanel’. And Versace, Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, and so on.

          The traditional fashion houses have already lost this game because there is no way in heaven or hell that they can build an infrastructure and ecosystem that matches Apple’s. And no, none of them will risk their aspirational brand reputation by associating their brands with Android.

          • klahanas

            I can easily see Android Wear filling that need. They don’t even need to claim it. Better yet, they will just re-brand it as their own as Amazon did.

          • aardman

            Given that frontline tech companies are already hard put making a profit on their Android devices, you really think a fashion house with hardly any tech DNA will somehow be able to succeed in a foray into fashion-tech armed with Android technology and going toe to toe with Apple?

          • klahanas

            They don’t have to, Google will do it for them.

      • aardman

        My guess is you will be even more surprised as Apple’s luxury/wearables strategy unfolds. I believe the long term goal, at least if things go as they hoped, is more models (devices that is, not celebrity endorsers, but that too) , more build materials, more retail outlets, and just plain more choices in general.

  • obarthelemy

    My 2 biggest issues with it
    1- it requires an iPhone. Very nice lock-in for Apple (and a clever way for them to execute on their main strategic pillar), not so much for customers.
    2- we already know for sure the next couple of iterations (of all smartwatches, not just that one) will be much better, not so much performance but battery life, size and radios. Buying a smartwhatch this year really makes no sense unless you can’t live with one -yet did up to now –

    • capnbob67

      1) it’s great for (Apple) customers. As ever, you don’t count in this debate since you were never a buyer.
      2) you gotta start sometime. Waiting for the next big thing is a fools errand in tech. If this thing does a job worth doing now then buy it. It does many jobs for iPhone users but you’ll never experience it.
      As ever your advice is trollingly meaningless.

      • klahanas

        And what prevents him from becoming a buyer? Is he not a part of the market overall and expressing his (IMO valid) opinion?

        • Mark Jones

          Of course, he is part of a “market” and has the right to voice an opinion. But he and you value features and attributes that Apple (and most of its customers) clearly doesn’t, thus, he will not become an Apple buyer short of one side or the other changing.

          It’s useful to know that there is a market of people who value features and attributes that Apple doesn’t so I’m glad he and you post here to remind us of that, but there’s not much to discuss as we’ve hashed it out time and again, and will continue to disagree because we value different things.

          As for his opinion, to say that “buying a smart watch this year really makes no sense” is quite an arrogant thing to say. He simply chooses to put down others who are in a different situation or have other values that would make it very sensical to buy right now. If he had added “for me”, that would’ve made all the difference, but he chooses not to.

          • klahanas

            Always the gentleman!
            Well then, I’m certain that you would also insist that all proponents add “for me” as well… ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Mark Jones

            Most* proponents don’t assert that it only makes sense for everyone to only buy Apple devices. Many have tried to persuade obarthelemy and you to buy Apple devices, but we have no issue that other different options exist in the marketplace to accommodate your differing needs. We do take issue when people insist the Apple option should be removed by saying Apple must change to be like the other options, or Apple neither provides its customers benefits nor meets their needs.

            *As we all know, there are also trolls at the other extreme.

          • klahanas

            I can’t speak for other’s, but I don’t think the Apple option should be removed. I bought in, heavily, and retreated. What I do desire and criticize, is that Apple be accommodating and, yes, open to those that desire it. Ownership matters.

          • Space Gorilla

            “but I don’t think the Apple option should be removed”

            Yes, you do. You often say Apple should change X, Y, Z to accommodate your needs, and you use ‘magical thinking’ to explain that these changes wouldn’t impact my Apple experience at all, which is complete and utter nonsense. In essence, you are asking for the Apple option to be removed.

          • klahanas

            Should we then remove the command line from the Mac too? How about iCal? Maps? Where do you draw the line.

            If Apple is as good as is claimed, the devices should be able to do it. For the user, if they don’t like a feature, then just don’t use it. Better yet, make a model that does do it all, and let people choose from your offerings.

          • Space Gorilla

            Yes, yes, Apple should just magically do everything you want with no impact at all on the integrated model and user experience that I value. Sounds good.

          • klahanas

            Buy the simple model. It’s called choice.

          • Space Gorilla

            So now Apple has to create and support a simple model? No wait, that’s not right, a model that “does do it all”, so that’s a more complex model. Now Apple is building multiple products with different features to accommodate choice, and stocking those, ramping up manufacturing to handle the expansion of the product lines, expanding its marketing, renovating retail stores, dealing with all the support for new models and features, and much more. But I thought there was zero impact re: your magical solution?

          • klahanas

            Yeah, what do I care what Apple has to go through. That’s their problem. I should adapt to make their life easier?

            Hey, if MS can support the universe of hardware, I’m sure Apple can do better.

          • Space Gorilla

            Ah, so now you admit that the impact is not zero.

          • klahanas

            On you it’s zero, on Apple it’s huge.

          • Space Gorilla

            I realize you wish this were true, but it is not. An impact on Apple’s operations, on the integrated model that I’m buying into, necessarily impacts me. It cannot be otherwise. You’re simply ignoring this truth because it doesn’t fit with your ideology.

          • klahanas

            Until you tell me why having a more full featured model, leaving current one’s alone, impacts you directly, you’re only making a proclamation.

          • Space Gorilla

            You admit that the impact on Apple would be huge. Apple does not have infinite resources. Advances in the user experience Apple delivers would necessarily be impacted negatively. For example, we might not have ResearchKit today. Would the new MacBook even be possible under your model? Perhaps not. This impact is so obvious, it is baffling how you can’t see it. I suspect you simply refuse to see it.

          • klahanas

            So if they cut out even more it would be even better for you personally?

            I’ll go easy on you and just call that lame. Poor Apple and their limited resources. Bet you’d be in line for a car though. That won’t impact your computing experience at all, resources being what they are, will it?

          • Space Gorilla

            “So if they cut out even more it would be even better for you personally?”

            It depends. I buy Apple because they make choices I agree with. An important part of what Apple does is their focus. It’s not as simple as cutting features = better. How you simplify is probably more important than what you simplify.

            I doubt I’d buy an Apple car, it would depend on many factors. But you’re right that how Apple uses their finite resources is a concern. It’s also a question of how many of the best people there are available to work on a thing. Quality will suffer if Apple tries to do too much, and we’re seeing some of that right now. We’ve seen it before as well, this is not a new problem for Apple, they have periods of transition as they grow that are bumpy.

            So now you want Apple to commit resources, people, and time to accommodate your needs, which again, you admit will have a huge impact on Apple (by the way, I believe that’s the first time you’ve admitted that this would have any impact, on Apple or its users). And then you try to also say this will have zero impact on me as an Apple customer? This is wishful thinking, magical thinking, quite immature.

            You should just drop this line of ‘reasoning’, you’re making yourself look very, very silly. C’est la vie, I doubt you’ll take advice from anyone.

          • NonyAsip

            This simply means that you’re not an Apple customer. Period. Accept it. Now don’t try to be an Apple customer just because you’ve money in your wallet to purchase Apple stuff, that doesn’t make you an Apple customer because yours and Apple’s ideology are at clash. Totally opposite. I don’t know why you always want to crash a party when you’re not invited in it. You seem incorrigible.

            Now please please don’t purchase anything from now on by Apple otherwise same old story ‘d be repeated again we’ve reading for so long that zillion iPods iPhones iPads MacBooks lying around my house but I use Microsoft Surface wears Moto 360 inserts an SD card(containing all my music library) in Samsung Note etc etc.
            You don’t understand free market or what choice is.
            You seem like an old grumpy lady who just want to complain and complain and for that needs someone to listen.

          • klahanas

            I also don’t care about BMW’s profits, or Samsung’s, or Motorola’s, or GE’s, or Nissan’s, or VW’s, etc., etc. And I’m a customer of all of them. Cheer on!

          • NonyAsip

            This is not the answer to the point I raised in my post. Try again mate. ๐Ÿ˜‰
            OK let me make very simple( just like Apple’s user experience) for you. You’d just have to say yes or no. But do take your time, think hard(that might be really hard for you) before choosing any option.

            Are you an Apple customer ideologically?
            Means should you purchase Apple’s stuff knowing their way of doing things?

            Think hard enough before answering and settle this eternal debate once for all.

          • klahanas

            But that is the context to which I commented, and to which you rebutted me.

            Let me also make it simple for you, Apple is not above criticism or above reproach as some would like it to seem. There are downsides and there are upsides. There are plenty of people praising the upsides, should the downsides not be given attention?

            As much as you and others would prefer I not be critical of Apple, there’s a whole world outside the “walled garden”, consider my comments as a public service announcement. If you’re happy with your stuff, nothing I say should matter to you as it doesn’t impact you. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • NonyAsip

            Again you’re dodging the real issue.
            No one is saying that Apple is perfect or worst. And personally I don’t live in black or white world. It’s more than fifty shades of grey.
            It’s quite late here. I’ll try to educate you tomorrow but deep inside there is some thinking that it’d be a futile exercise. For an objective and rational debate emotions should be put aside but you can’t help it.
            Better read my question again and try to answer.
            Ta ta.

          • NonyAsip

            So Klahanas do you really think that you’re an Apple customer ideologically?
            And if you’re not than why would Apple cater your needs or fantasies or wishes. Give me some rational reason.
            By the way if I’d fantasise Ferrari to make a low cost fire engine truck and on some sports car blog I routinely write that how bad is Ferrari because they’re not making a fire engine truck. Just imagine how stupid I’d look. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • klahanas

            Of course not. BMW doesn’t ask me if I’m “ideologically pure” either. How arrogant! C’mon “Think Different!”

          • NonyAsip

            Good finally you came out of closet.
            So you don’t believe in Apple’s idealogy. The way the operate the way they make things.
            Now according to my observation most people make a balance sheet of pros and cons of certain product before making a decision to buy that product. If the pros outweighs cons mostly they purchase them or if not then they don’t.
            On the flip side the seller also finds a target market to sell his product to them. The seller think about target market’s needs wishes etc and come up with something. If the target market accepts his product than most probably hedge successful. That’s all common sense which is not that much common.
            Now I’ll come down to you. You don’t like or believe in Apple’s ideology and Apple doesn’t target you(or your community) as well. It’s like a divorce made in heaven. One cannot be more fortunate. So clearly yours and Apple’s paths don’t intersect.
            Now please explain it to me than why all these wishes and fantasies about Apple that what should they be doing or why should they cater your needs.
            Please explain.

          • klahanas

            None of what you said makes them immune to criticism. The audacity of expecting me to adapt to their way of thinking alone is open to criticism.
            Censorship is subject to criticism, non serviceability is open to criticism, removal of features is subject to criticism. Their value proposition is open to debate and criticism, as well as praise. There are “deal breakers”, some pretty severe.

          • Space Gorilla

            It occurs to me that you are simply not capable of understanding Apple’s success. Trying to explain it to you is a bit like attempting to teach calculus to a young child. It just won’t compute. It is astonishing that you would say Apple’s value proposition is open to debate, as if that value isn’t real or valid in some way. Add to that your comment that Apple is selling snake oil, again you reveal your anger and your agenda.

            Your personal holy war against Apple has pretty much squandered any credibility you may have had. I can’t speak for others, but I can’t take you seriously, you’re off in La La Troll Land far too often. Most comments you make these days are a parody, you’re not adding anything useful to the discussion, you’re just adding to the decades old shrill cry of “Apple bad!”

          • klahanas

            If trolling were my intent, I can do far better than that.

            “It is astonishing that you would say Apple’s value proposition is open to debate”-Space Gorilla
            It’s astonishing to me that you think it’s not even open to debate. Any human construct is. The one’s that aren’t are matters of math and science, which are “proof” driven, and even they don’t explain everything.
            In regards to “Snake Oil”, all companies use it, I just don’t believe them as readily. Unless you really believe the iPad is “magical”, the iPhone 4 was “held wrong”, and everything is “insanely great”!
            Let me guess, you approve of the single port on the new MacBook, that it has a lame Core M, for what? $1300, $1400?…of course you must, Apple knows best and is not subject to scrutiny.
            FWIW, it seems (pending actually seeing) that the Yoga3 Pro is better in all hardware respects, except maybe battery life, and that still sucks!
            Puhlease!

          • Space Gorilla

            Sigh. You’re just so predictable.

          • klahanas

            I “might” have seen this MacBook less negatively if it were the singular minimal model in the line and the other models had more hardware latitude. That is, they were still upgradable. However, it fits Apples patterns in making things do less.
            Advantages of the new machine are obvious, size, weight, and battery life. Like the Rutan’s plane, it’s a “flying gas tank”. Still, only one port?! Even though they chose to make the thinness tradeoff, the machine has two sides! I think that making dongles a necessity is terrible design. Charging you for what they took away, is nickel and diming. That would be different if this machine were $800, but that’s not the case.
            Still, regarding this obsession with slimming does at least make more sense that the slimming of the iMac, which made absolutely no sense to me. The MacBook slimming does have a functional and aesthetic purpose, the slim iMac has neither. You’re still looking at the same cross section, and you sacrificed serviceability. I see that as good for Apple, bad for me as a potential buyer.
            I have a Core M computer. ‘s a 15” and I use it as a tabletop chalkboard. As a CPU, Core M sucks! Performance somewhere between i3 and i5, without that much battery life improvement. And that’s for the fast one.

          • Space Gorilla

            Not surprising, you are unable to articulate a cogent argument for the opposing view. You’re stuck in a box that you can’t get out of, you can only see the world as it is, and not as it will be. You’re the mainframe guy arguing against PCs.

          • klahanas

            Who’s the mainframe guy, that’s dependent on the cloud, because their device is storage limited? And, about vision, visionaries follow their own and resent other’s being imposed on them.

          • Space Gorilla

            You’re delusional, there’s no overlord controlling what I can and cannot do with my Apple devices. I can find edge cases to ‘prove’ this particular delusion for any device maker (or pretty much any company) in the world, just as you do over and over and over to cling to your own personal delusion re: Apple. You’re welcome to it. The future is coming whether you like it or not. Your participation is not required.

          • klahanas

            The future may be good, or bad. Most likely some mixture of both. Based on what I’ve been shown, the very act of requiring permission to sell through a singular store is not giving me optimism.

            I’m delusional? This! Coming from a Gorilla from Space? What’s in those bananas anyway? ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Space Gorilla

            “the very act of requiring permission to sell through a singular store is not giving me optimism”

            You continue to obsess over the wrong details.

          • NonyAsip

            If Klahanas were to design a notebook he’d still be putting floppy drives in it.
            Choice and flexibility. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • NonyAsip

            I don’t know how and when will you understand.
            Since when Apple Inc. has became a Republic where every subject of state can criticise incumbent government.
            Let me give an example. I can criticise Gucci for not making shoes under $100 under freedom of expression banner but how ridiculous I’d sound asking Gucci for doing that.
            Basically you’re a hypocrite to the core. You keep chanting choice choice choice all the time but if the some choice is made by other side of the barter(let’s say Apple) you start criticising them. Why don’t you accept one simple fact that they don’t cater you needs. You don’t belong to their target customers. Why the hell you want them to be changed? What about their(Apple’s) choice or this magical word only belongs to you.

          • klahanas

            Since when has their value proposition become immune from criticism? I don’t know whether you’re a submissive or whatever else. All brands are subject to criticism and questioning.

          • NonyAsip

            ”It’s a shame Apple doesn’t have a modular product. That’s all.”
            -Klahanas

            Is this criticism?
            If someone doesn’t cater your needs it’s bad. It’s shameful for that company.

          • klahanas

            Yes it is. A modular product weakens their position. Not having it is at the expense of their user that would enjoy the latitude they’ve traditionally enjoyed. At minimum I hold it to the same regard as planned obsolescence. And that’s my least criticism.

          • Mark Jones

            It does impact me if you insist on changing how Apple operates. To add your feature or to make your model has a cost to Apple; a cost that impacts the experience of their products.

            But hey, you’re welcome to keep asking.

          • Nevermark

            Apple already does better than MS by not supporting the universe of hardware.

            You seem strangely uninformed of the principle that trying to please everyone is rarely a recipe for success, and Apple is a classic example of how more focus contributes to success after success, and happy customers.

          • klahanas

            Except Apple does not support the universe of hardware. Not only are their late model devices non-upgradable, their OS updates disable features of previously upgradable devices with standard parts. Read up on TRIM with third party SSD’s.

          • Mark Jones

            You have a choice. Don’t buy Apple’s “limited” model and buy someone else’s model that caters to your needs. Just like you don’t care what Apple has to go through, Apple doesn’t care what you, a fringe population, has to go through. It’s focused on the mainstream population.

          • klahanas

            As it should be, their “limitations” are fair game. Just as their snake oil selling is.

          • Mark Jones

            No reasonable person claims Apple can do it all. Those who know Apple know that it operates like a small company with a limited number of synergistic products. Why? Because they recognize there are only so many top-quality engineers and managers.

            Instead, to produce the best experience for the most number of people, Apple makes the decisions that limit the number of features supported, and the number of models supported.

          • klahanas

            I don’t expect them to do it all, I expect them to match their competition in ability and to exceed them in experience, so as to justify their price. I mostly don’t expect them to be a mandatory IT department. A voluntary one, yes.

          • Mark Jones

            Well, you just said “make a model that does do it all”…

            Apple can’t do that. For example, a model that includes more features/options would most likely be bigger and heavier. But weight and volume are important requirements, so it wouldn’t meet those, so it didn’t do it all.

          • klahanas

            Fair enough. Their other bigger, heavier, unserviceable models don’t do it all either. Competitive machine od that class do more.

        • capnbob67

          He’s not part of the market for an apple watch because he, like you, doesn’t have an iPhone and famously has no intention of ever buying one.
          A troll is a troll… Even when supported by trolls.

          • klahanas

            And how would it hurt you if it worked with his Android as well?

          • Space Gorilla

            Come on, you’re smarter than that. Doing what you suggest would change the end product and capabilities dramatically, it would change the user experience, and change the value delivered. It’s a fantasy to think otherwise.

          • klahanas

            It would be an App on Android. You don’t get Apple Pay. You could get Google Wallet. If you want Apple Pay, and the “full experience” go buy an iPhone. One might be willing to get one, if not for this requirement.

          • Space Gorilla

            What a simplistic answer.

          • klahanas

            It is that simple.
            Motorola sells phones, why didn’t they make the Moto360 only compatible with their phones? Stupidity? I support such “stupidity”.

          • Space Gorilla

            You really don’t understand this?

          • klahanas

            As a buyer, no I don’t. I don’t care about their interests.

          • Space Gorilla

            You should. It impacts your user experience. I think you do understand this at some level, but given your ideology you have to convince yourself it doesn’t matter.

          • capnbob67

            About as much as every Apple device and discussion hurts you. Make of that what you will…

    • Sam

      Mr Ob….

      I’ve read all your comments for years across many websites…

      Your two biggest issues are:

      1
      I hate Apple and will never buy an Apple Product

      2
      I hate Apple and discourage everyone I know from buying an Apple product.

      Bonus 3rd issue:
      I have, and have never had, any understanding of Apple’s business model, and despise that they are successful.

      Bonus 4th issue:
      I love my Google/Android free but privacy invading overlords.

      PS
      You can’t hate the NSA and love Google, when they are doing the same thing.

      Your rights in France are respect by neither.

      Good luck

    • Regarding 1: I think there was a recent leak of a Apple Store rep. training manual that detailed how to seek out what phone a potential Apple Watch buyer was using, and if they were using Android, then how to convert them to iPhone. It seems like Apple is super aware of your “issue”. In fact, for Apple, it seems more like an intentional “feature”.

      http://9to5mac.com/2015/03/03/apple-watchs-retail-sales-pitch-revealed-3-key-features-switch-to-iphone-focus-on-bands/

      Regarding 2: Yeah, we early adopters are all suckers. Not just this time, but always.

      • obarthelemy

        1- is definitely intended.
        2- isn’t that hard and fast. First, non-tech products don’t have the issue. Second, most tech products aren’t facing the same pipeline utterly full of better-suited components, though the learning curve is shared by most. I’m usually an early adopter, but not that time around.

        • Interesting. I myself am not usually an early adopter, but this time around, I probably will be.

    • peter

      1- if an Apple watch five years from now still only works with an iPhone then that is undoubtedly deliberate. Right now, Apple is not capable of building a watch that can operate stand alone. Tying it in with the iPhone is just example of how early in the life of a new technology application the integrated solutions win out over more modular approaches.
      2- I think you are saying that you are not an innovator/early adopter when it comes to smart watches. That’s fine, innovators do end up buying lot’s of stuff that is not quite ready for prime time. However, postponing purchases because the technology curve is steep and next year’s model is undoubtedly much better (yeah, a two-day battery life), will probably keep you out of the market for close to a decade.

  • Mauryan

    Now every time Apple updates the software for the iPhone the watch software has to be updated or vice versa. At some point, one of them simply cannot take on anymore updates. So one has to buy new iPhone and/or a watch to go with it all over again. If part of the phone’s functionality is going to be taken up by the watch, then people may not feel like replacing the iPhone as often as they normally would. The wear rate comes down. The sales of the iPhone might drop or that of the watch may not take off as much. It definitely is a fancy device. Apple has enough money to burn. I do not see the need to buy an expensive watch that is vulnerable to break because it is on the wrist and an iPhone that does not get discounted because of the watch. It is a cool device and geeks might like to flash it around. After that in my opinion watch may not take off as much as iPhone did.

    • Mark Jones

      In the long run, I think we all agree the Apple Watch will one day be standalone. But for now, I’d look at it this way — given that most of Apple’s customers only buy an iPhone every other year, Apple just gave them something to buy in the off year. Now they can alternate between iPhone and Apple Watch, both of which are generally priced about the same (excluding the limited Edition). And parents now have another device to pass down to their teens (while buying a new $149 band!).

      Plus it makes iPhone less of a phone commodity as it’s the only phone that works with Apple Watch. It creates even more loyalty to Apple’s ecosystem by customers (and developers). Finally, Apple gets to sell to its iPhone owners in an adjacent market that has significantly fewer established competitors.

      • aardman

        I’m not sure about the immediacy of this stand-alone AppleWatch. I get the impression, just from chatter on tech sites, that the battery technology that would allow this to happen in any meaningful way is still very much over the horizon. I don’t claim to be an expert but an iPhone’s internal cavity is mostly used up by the battery. Are we about to reach battery tech levels that will allow Apple to transfer the computing power of the iPhone to a package the size of the AppleWatch and have it run on a battery that would fit the AppleWatch’s case?

        • Mark Jones

          That’s why I said “in the long run.” I’d think it’s at least two years, but more likely four years away. But who knows, great strides have been made in the past few years in reducing/managing the power consumption of CPUs, wi-fi, cellular, and GPS chips.

          But it doesn’t matter to Apple since they’d enticing you to buy a new Watch in every year you don’t buy a new iPhone.

          • aardman

            I hope you’re right about that 2 to 4 year time frame because I feel like I’ve been reading about the battery breakthrough that’s just two years away for about ten years now.

          • Mark Jones

            The battery breakthrough hasn’t happened, but there have been strides made in making chips that consume less power to perform the same job (oftentimes, with the help of smarter software). For example, 2nd gen chips for 3G, 4G, and LTE are much more efficient, or Apple’s CPU design paired with its software. Or just software (i.e., Safari).

  • Great article!

    Maybe I’m being influenced too strongly by you, but I think you are one of the very few who have managed to take their techie hats off, and to look at what Apple is offering from a distance.

    Many pundits talk about emotions. Few dig into what emotions actually mean.

  • Jared Porter

    Not enough analysts talk about the ramifications of AppleWatch’s unique taptics communicator. This will cause Apple to sell Watches in pairs (to lovers), and in multiples (to teens). This is the most discrete, personal form of remote communication/notification yet.

    I’m glad Ben (and the “other two” Bens) seem to always see the future where most others can’t.

    • Janos Sitar

      This is what I’m most interested in. I love the idea of being tapped by the apple watch as a means of conveying walking directions. The implications this has for other applications is huge if you think about just how this will help blind and deaf users. .

    • airmanchairman

      Yes! And may I add Active Groups (like climbers, orienteers, paintballers and the like) for whom hands-free interaction would significantly enhance the already mobile-empowered enjoyment of their group activity.

      Accessory makers will be salivating at the prospect of extensions to their existing implementations for remote photography, for instance (selfies and videos come quickly to mind, but there are many others).

      Creative types who hit the ground running will find ever-wackier ways of pushing the envelope that bit further to gain notoriety and fame: DJ’s wandering around a crowded dance floor while spinning the beats, and who knows what else…

  • iKrontologist

    Apparently Steve Jobs loved naked wrists more than he liked wearing any jewelry or watches specifically. You only need look at pictures of him and you see why he said iPhone will replace your watch and understand exactly what he was talking about. Tim Cook’s Watch (not Apple’s if Steve would have had anything to say about it) is his childhood dream…… not Steve’s or Apple’s. Looking at his FAIL record on launching new models and products, you only need to understand these things:

    #1 Steve hated gaudy pretentious jewelry, watches and BIG SCREENS for good reason. The jewelry is for stupid rich folk, who love to have Tim Cook knocking at their Back Door for huge profit handouts. Which they promptly simply stuff in offshore LONG TERM SECURITY…. earning a pitifully low interest rate, that they will inevitably be forced to pay back deferred taxes on when they go to use it in up to 25yrs! …….as to big screens Steve Jobs was the ultimate long term visionary. Which means he really knew EVERYTHING goes around in CIRCLES….. and like a boomerang comes back in style or use again, once they the industry figures out how to do it!

    So tiny screens on big phones went to tiny screens on tiny phones. Which then grew bigger on bigger phones now. But Samsung must have used their Techwin Division to build a time machine and got the “Secret Sauce” in making Big Screens small again by making them Tri-foldable on smartphones. Because that’s where the Next Big Thing is coming from. The rumors point to a 3.5″ to 4″ screen on front of either a Flip Style smartphone opening to a 6.5″ Tablet or a Tri-fold (they were already testing last year) smartphone more like a Tri Fold Wallet, where all screens remain protected with 1 small screen that unfolds into a tablet built in for greater utility. This will no doubt be what everyone eventually goes to as smartphones once again become Steve Job’s favorite size of 3.5″!

    #2 That Steve Jobs was more of a visionary than Tim Cook is just so obvious. He said FLASH is dying and therefore Apple wouldn’t even bother to support it when competitors had still been sucked into believing it wasn’t really dying…. yet. It’s as good as DEAD now. But perhaps what Steve Jobs was really ahead of the entire World on (including Tim Cook) is his ONE MODEL….. for ONE PEOPLE…. at a price w/ carrier subsidies, that ANY ONE could afford and feel like they were in an Elite Group of People!

    That’s where Tim Cook and Joni Ive’s Twenty Million Choices will really run into trouble on Apple Watch. It will essentially and soon regrettably lead to a CASTE SYSTEM of Have Nots at the bottom, leveling up to iPhone 5c lower class bottom 1 rung up from have nots and then on up to the $200 to $700 more for the mid range, same old thing in shinier wrapping paper Apple watches. With the Gold Edition bringing up the rear in real marketability for what? For a Watch that will only be in style till a new smaller or bigger, depending on new to die for…. features. Apple Watch is a Classic with out a FUTURE!

    Well except hanging around in a drawer full of old… dying… or DEAD… former Must Have iTrinkets. Again…. having 100’s of choices is not what Steve would have done and he most likely would have KILLED the Watch before it made out of their R&D labs!

    #3 This is the real KILLER…. for Apple watch; No Real Compelling Reason to even buy one, when you know the next generation will also have the “Stand Alone Calling” feature in a smartphone you wear on your wrist. If not…. it’s the beginning of the end for Apple Watch already. Why? Simple…. 30 to 40% more iPhones are sold on subsidized contracts than Android’s 84% market share. So to shine a light on what I’m saying, who can’t see past the Dark Recesses of Apple’s Gardened Walled Elitism into the LIGHT…. how many Apple Watches will really be sold to 70% to 80% of their buyers who bought their phones on subsidised contracts by carriers? With out stand alone calling at least, not to mention the ability to browse the web and bid on ebay on the go, far away from any Wifi Hot Spot or your own wireless 3G or LTE iPhone, will still have you all digging for your gold iphone in your pockets!

    So to get all giddy like a schoolgirl bringing Apple for the Teacher….. and then only to find out it had worms eating it up from the inside, Apple Watch will FAIL…. without that Carrier Subsidy padding Apple’s Wallet, while carrier’s foot the bill on contracts. For the $10 a month Techpinions charges, you could be getting a real telephone number and smartphone syncing combined with a competitor’s real smartwatch phone!

    Talk about problems Apple watch team have had, with delays from Nest raiding/poaching their top engineers to very real battery problems Apple has been simply too cheap to invest in from the start. Making Samsung’s Polymer High Density, Flexible, Longer Life, Cooler Running, Non-Exploding Batteries in Wristbands….. coming later this year in a new Pranav Mistry “Designeer” Smartwatch Phone the REAL NEXT BIG (smaller in size) THING! ……all while Tim Cook’s…. too many choices… Watch Only gets skunked to the back of the innovation bus!!!

  • aardman

    About productivity. Most people’s eyes probably glazed over during Kevin Lynch’s daily use demo of the AppleWatch. For me, that was the most revealing and intriguing part. It gave us a glimpse of how the AppleWatch can change our day to day lives. All the little conveniences that the AppleWatch bestows on the user might seem trivial but they add up. When using a smart phone instead of a smart watch relegates you to the slow lane, be it at the cashier, the airport gate, the concert hall ticket collector, the rental pick up, the hotel check-in, etc., then demand for the AppleWatch will rise exponentially.

    I’d say AppleWatch take up will be more like iPod than iPhone.

    • klahanas

      One thing we know for sure, it can’t exceed the iPhone in sales. Unless, of course, people buy on for each arm, each day of the week, morning, noon, and night, etc.

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