Apple Watch Rundown (Part 1 of 3 on the Apple Watch)

This will be a 3 part series on the Apple Watch. The first part will serve as an intro and provide some context to what follows...for those of you already salivating at the prospect of procuring an Apple Watch it may not be useful, but there may be a wrinkle you didn't expect or you took for granted. As Alfredo Linguini proclaimed, "so, let's do this thing!"

What You Need to Know

The Apple Watch will be available in the late March to April time frame. Since the watch’s announcement back in September, every pundit in the tech and fashion world has offered their opinion and many have speculated on its success. Below is a brief summary of thoughts from the meh, the lovers, and other.

The Meh

Fred Wilson, Venture Capitalist (click here for his controversial post, see #5) - to be fair the media has done what it typically does and dramatized it. Wilson said it wouldn't be a home-run like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. He never used the term "flop." I am actually inclined to agree with him, but perhaps for another reason depending on what he means exactly by personal mesh. This will be the whole subject of the third part of this series.

Why they're meh:

  • Shortcomings are glaring, hard to ignore, and the product hasn't even been released yet, but it's not unique to Apple Watch. It's a problem that plagues most of the wearables category. 
    • Battery life - for details see this great take on why it's not a big deal from macworld. Here is a summary according to rumors:
      • 2.5 - 4 hours for active use
      • 19 hours for combined use - this should be the baseline as the watch has a built-in feature that "knows" when you're looking at the watch, so it turns the display on. Then, it goes to sleep or standby when you're not using it. 
      • 3 days for standby  
      • 4 days in sleep mode
    • Since the watch will be in sleep or standby most of the time, it's a blank black screen may look odd on a person's wrist
    • Pairing - to get the most out of the watch it needs to be paired to an iPhone
  • Bug aversion - willing to wait for the 2nd generation, so the bugs can be worked out.
  • Something bigger is coming later.
  • Some people are simply anti-Apple. 

The Lovers

Chris Slate, Techradar (click here for his post) - he offers 5 reasons, some I detail below

Trip Chowdhry, Global Equities Research (click here for a nice summary of his thoughts from MarketWatch ) - his main point is to not bet against a product that can cause or influence a behavioral shift.

Why they love

  • It's Apple! Their brand power cannot ignored. According to Interbrand, Apple's brand is worth more than any other company and they were number one in 2013 too (click here for the full list for 2014). Just how much is it worth? Approx $119 billion.
    • Google is #2 at $107 billion. However, I think when you hear Google, you think search, not hardware. Maybe this is one reason why the Motorola experiment ended early? Android is strong, but Google's brand gets diluted since Samsung, HTC, or whoever else is actually making the hardware and they put their spin on it. Samsung has a strong brand too (#7 in 2014), but the fragmentation seems hard to overcome.   
  • The iOS ecosystem is already preferred by developers in terms of priority and investment
  • Features and experience
    •  Apple's selling hard on personalization, its design and easy to use interface (digital crown plus state of the art touch screen).
    • The options and personalization are unprecedented even for Apple. Check out this post for all of the options (2 sizes, 3 editions, 6 strap types, 6 different finishes, and several color options for couple of the strap types)
  • Behavior shift - don't have to pull out your phone and making health conscious living easier
  • The potential plus spearing attention and acceptance to the wearable category


With all this hullabaloo over the Apple Watch one has to wonder if the watch industry stalwarts are concerned. Here is one good take on it:

  • Teresa Novellino, Upstart Business Journal Entrepreneurs & Enterprises Editor (click here for her post). Her main reasons for watchmakers not being concerned:

    1. The Apple Watch will get people, particularly the whippersnappers, thinking about watches again (this will be the subject of part 2)
    2. The watch industry has survived worse
    3. Swiss watch exports are up despite smartphones
    4. High end watches (at least for Rolex, Tag Heuer, etc.) are status symbols
    5. Because of #4 watches can be an investment

The next post will focus on #1 from Novellino with more detail on what the watchmakers said and if they should be concerned or perhaps even worried. Yesterday Swatch announced their intention to release their own smartwatch (see here), so we know there is some level of concern. Can't wait to see what their response is. 



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