2:57PM September 18 2014
Apple are the masters of product launches, we all know that. Every few years they redefine or even create a new category. But last week, something weird happened to me when they launched the Apple Watch. I really didn’t see the point of it. Now, I’m about as big an Apple fanboy as you can get. But, there was something about the Apple Watch that left me cold. So I went back and looked at other Apple product launches to see if I could identify an anomaly, and I did. And yes, there is a big charisma vacuum that used to be occupied by Steve Jobs, but it’s not just that. When you look back at how Apple has launched big products in the past, they always gave you a strong, compelling reason for the thing to exist. Whether that’s solving a problem we’ve all just put up with or dramatically enhancing our experience, or both. Here’s a whistle stop tour:
iPod – Why put up with your crappy discman when you can have 1,000 songs in your pocket?
iPhone – The smartest and easiest to use phone in the world. No fiddly buttons, just power at your fingertips.
iPad – Better than a phone or a laptop for browsing and looking at content.
Apple Watch – The most personal device we’ve ever invented.
Er, the most personal device we’ve ever invented? What does that mean? Then you get the usual Jony Ive narrated gadget porn video. But listening to him talk about the watch’s accuracy like they’ve split the bloody atom is hilarious. We cracked accurate time-keeping a long time ago Jony. But for me, the fatal flaw is that Apple have fallen in love with their own genius. It’s all about the tech and how clever they are but I have no idea why I’d want one. And there are probably some brilliant reasons why I should want one; the health sensors seem pretty cool and I can see how having something that can actually monitor my wellbeing would be handy. But other than that, it doesn’t do anything better than my phone. And I actually need my phone with me for the thing to work. And as for the watch bit of it, well I love watches and have a few. They’re a personal statement of taste. The Apple Watch isn’t striking or beautiful enough to compete with a traditional watch as a statement.
So, it’s not better than a phone for apps and it’s not better than a watch at being a watch.
For me, Apple haven’t communicated the reason this device should live in my world. They haven’t told me what problem it solves or how it’s dramatically better than something else, which they’ve always done before. I don’t know if this is a flaw in the product or the launch. And I’m pretty sure they’ll sell shedloads, at the beginning, and when I get my mitts on one my very next decision will be which kidney to sell to afford it. But, right now, I don’t want one because I don’t know what it’s for.
Image Source – Wikimedia – bit.ly/1tnn62J