15 September 2014

Baekdal: “Apple Watch is Nice, But Hardly a Trend”

Apple Watch

This is nothing like what we saw with the iPhone. When Apple launched the iPhone, that market and the trends for smartphones were booming. And what Apple did was brilliant. They took this growing trend to the next level, redefined the category, and they did this at exactly the right moment where people wanted it most.

That is a very different dynamics than what we see in the watch industry today. Watches, to most people are boring. And to young people, it’s a device their parents use because they don’t know how to use a smartphone.

Apple did not change any of that. The Apple Watch is just like all other smartphone watches. And people, in general, have not seen a need for them.

Thomas Baekdal

I’ve been travelling to London for a couple of days last week, so I didn't keep up with ’s announcements – except for a short peek at the pictures of Watches that made me laugh (I mean, a Mickey Mouse face, really?!). Of course, there’s no shortage of people praising the design and the product, even though it will not ship for another six months and Apple keeps quiet about one key aspect, battery life. Until then, there are still some articles written with a cool head and a sound perspective. Just check out the first picture in the one above and try to guess what’s wrong with it.

Ben Thompson, more optimistic, still shows valid concerns:

There is a clear pattern to these examples:

  • The bad demos are all activities that are better done on your phone. They are also the activities that make the Watch seem the most like a real computer
  • The good demos are all activities that extend your phone in a way that simply wasn’t possible before. They are also activities that make the Watch seem less capable as a self-contained unit

This is why I’m worried that the lack of explanation about the Watch’s purpose wasn’t just a keynote oversight, but something that reflects a fundamental question about the product itself that Apple itself has yet to answer: is Watch an iPhone accessory, or is it valuable in its own right?

Ben Thompson

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