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After months of speculation and rumor, on the ninth of March Apple held an official launch event for the Apple Watch.  And with the announcement of the product the speculation can turn from ‘what will it be like?’ to ‘will it be successful?’

Speculative opinions are dime-a-dozen, and there are many views about how well this product will do.  However, I have yet to be convinced that it will be wildly successful.  Nor am I alone in believing this.  As a product, it seems like it is suffering from a number of problems that will limit its success.

The biggest problem these watches will be facing are the absurdly high prices.  At first it would seem easy to write this detail off.  After all, most of Apple’s products are high end and come with an equally exorbitant price point.  But there are a few factors that minimize this with other Apple products.  Regarding the iPhone, one should remember that for many people the phone is subsidized by telecommunications companies in a way that customers do not feel the brunt of the cost.  As for the iPad, one should consider that for many people it is a laptop (or in some cases desktop) replacement and in that niche it is certainly economical.

The Apple Watch, on the other hand, does not seem to be.  The bottom tier price point of $350 is about the average customer pays for an iPhone, with no one about to help subsidize the cost.   But even if one considers the Watch’s price tag acceptable, the price they are charging for replacement bands certainly seems extravagant.  Of course, the free market will rectify that particular problem.  But the point remains even if

But the poor price point compounds another problem.  Apple has a reputation for innovative products.  The iPhone really did do much to change what people thought about their phones, bringing them into their own as multimedia devices.  It is debatable as to whether the iPad was equally impactful, but there is certainly a common conception that it was.  In a respect, Apple may soon find themselves at odds with their own reputation, and the customer expectation of the Apple Watch may be unreasonably high.

Which begs the questions, are customers really getting their money’s worth?  For the most part, the Apple Watch seems like little more than a glorified, albeit much more stylish, fitness band.  Without going into a laundry list of features, the short of it is that the watch can do many things that your phone could do, while as well having the additional features that come with most fitness bands.  During Apple’s presentation, many apps common to the iPhone were demonstrated via the Apple Watch.  But for the time being we do not know whether any Apple Watch exclusive apps will redeem the product, or even give it additional value.  Again, the market will ultimately decide that fate.

So it would appear that what the Watch boils down to is how much the convenience of dismissing a phone call without reaching into your pocket is worth to you.  If it is worth $350+, then perhaps the Apple Watch is for you.  And while I recognize that many people these days do budget their time in seconds, it seems truly difficult to justify such a cost for what seems like such a minuscule benefit.  All this leaves us with another question; why did Apple price the watch as it did, particularly in light of its somewhat limited capabilities?

The best answer would appear that they are trying to be competitive in a different market.  Notably, the watch market.  Apple, either unimpressed or unconcerned by the efforts of Pebble, Samsung, Motorola etc, have set their cross-hairs towards larger targets.  The biggest evidence of this is the seemingly ludicrously priced Gold edition of the Apple Watch.  It seems obvious that this was not meant to contend with the lowly Samsung Gear Fit, or for that matter anything else that exists in that market.  The only reasonable competitor would be a higher end Rolex.

But this too is a gambit that might not pay off.  When was the last time you saw someone look at a very fine watch and complain that Moore’s law has since made it irrelevant?

So what are your thoughts on Apple’s latest product?  Float or sink?  Will you be purchasing one.?

Matthew Campanella

A firm believer that technology is making the world a better place who hopes to share the revelation with other. Professional tramp, amateur writer. Huge nerd, occasional gamer.

  • Typical

    I think a lot of people are looking at this all wrong. $350 for a watch is at the bottom end of luxury watches, and Apple does try to pass their products off as luxury items. Compared to my $1000 Movado that’s a pain in the ass to read, this watch is a steal. I had a Fitbit, it’s a piece of junk that didn’t tell time, lost sync all the time, and the band tore because of poor design. I’ve been waiting for the apple watch or MS band to be released, because rather than buy a new fitbit for $100, why not spend a bit more and not have to pull my phone out every time I want to check the time, check a text or email, see my stocks, etc when I can just look down? Heck, I can put my phone in a less accessible pocket now and not have to worry about where I’m now going to put my keys, pocket knife, sometimes pistol or extra magazine without scratching my $1000 iphone.

    Considering how much more these can do, apple is probably more interested in cutting into Citizen, Seiko, and Bulova’s market than Fitbit or Timex’s

  • Short answer? Don’t know, don’t care.

  • Bloodnok

    The apple watch will be a wild success, because it is a watch from Apple. It’s not about how useful it is – it’s about being seen with it on.
    Sadly this also means it’s going to be a wild success as a mugging target too.

    Prices on the first iteration won’t be an issue – compare it to a traditional fashion watch to see why. The question is how quickly will it be obsolete, will it hold it’s value second hand, and how many of those first gen customers will be back for the inevitable second generation model. The watch marketplace traditionally doesn’t move that fast – they aren’t demanding repeat custom on such regular cycles…

  • Typical

    Well if you have the money for this, then you probably shouldn’t be in high crime areas either. There’s always a few real geniuses that won’t keep themselves safe, but this will get a bit of coverage for the first couple stolen, then people will realize apple probably just locks out stolen ones and you won’t hear about it anymore. Just like the urban legend thieves targeted white headphone wearers for their iPods.

  • The first one might sell well, depending if people buy into it being a luxury item and not just a fad “wearable” piece of tech that will go out of fad in around 5 years. I hope this fails massively and forces apple to either ditch the watch or bring it down a rock bottom price.

    All the idiots and apple cultists will just snap this shit up, which will bring to market the Apple Watch 2.