Jean-Louis Gassée: I hope Tim Cook had fun goading Samsung to make their Galaxy stupidwatch

“The wristwear genre isn’t new (recall Microsoft’s 2004 Spot). Ask Google to show you pictures of smartwatches, you get 23M results and screen after screen,” Jean-Louis Gassée writes for Monday Note. “The genre seems to be stuck in the novelty state. Newer entries such as Samsung’s Gear have gotten mixed reviews. Others contend a 2010 iPod nano with a wristband makes a much nicer smartwatch.”

“Regardless, by comparison, pre-iPod MP3 players and pre-iPhone smartphones were getting better press – and more customers. Considering the putative iWatch, the excitement about Apple getting into this class of devices appears to be excessive,” Gassée writes. “The litmus test for the potential of a device is the combination of pervasiveness and frequency of use… The iWatch concept makes two assumptions: a) we’ll wear one and, b) we’ll only wear that one. Checking around we see young adults who no longer wear watches — they have a smartphone; and middle-agers use watches as jewelry, possessing more than one. This defeats both pervasiveness and frequency of use requirements.”

Gassée writes, “For a product to start a new worthy species for a company as large as Apple, the currency unit to consider is $10B. Below that level, it’s either an accessory or exists as a member of the ecosystem’s supporting cast… A smartwatch that’s wirelessly linked to my smartphone and shows a subset of the screen in my pocket…I’m not sure this will break out of the novelty category where the devices have been confined thus far. Going back to Tim Cook’s oracular pronouncement on wearables [during the D11 conference this past May] being ‘a very key branch of the tree,’ I wonder: Was he having fun misdirecting his competition?”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Stupidwatch: Why Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is a flop – September 5, 2013
Samsung Galaxy Gear watch looks rushed, misses the mark – September 4, 2013
The Galaxy Gear stupidwatch: Without Apple to copy, Samsung is clueless – September 4, 2013
Apple’s iWatch cleared for takeoff – September 4, 2013
Samsung announces ‘Galaxy Gear’ watch accessory for Galaxy Android devices – September 4, 2013


  1. I haven’t worn a watch since the original iPhone release. Unless Apple truly comes out with an innovative iWatch, I don’t plan on wearing one anytime soon. Unless I gaped a Casio with scientific calculator on the screen in full Retro Red LED battery draining watch!

    1. Same here.

      I can’t remember the last time I wore a watch.

      If you need to check the time you get your iPhone out – well that’s what I do.

      Now if apple re-invented the purpose of a wrist/watch device now I would certainly be into that…

  2. I’ve been using the Pebble watch for a few months now and find it quite helpful. I don’t wear it at home but when I’m traveling or in meetings or giving presentations it is really helpful. The vibration on your wrist is impossible to miss and I can glance at the watch to see who is calling or to read a text message without interrupting the people around me.

  3. But Apple is smarter. You will see lots of people wearing tracking bands like the Nike or Jabra one… Trust me the Apple watch will be as much about monitoring biometric information than a second screen experience.

  4. I once had a woman tell me a wrist watch was sexy. I replied, “Why would I wear a watch when I have this thing in my pocket with atomic clock accuracy called an ‘iPhone’ “. She replied that that was NOT sexy.

    I may have to go with the woman in this one… Or maybe carry both to cover all me bases… Hell, if a woman told me a necklace of bottle caps was sexy, I’d be tempted to wear one….

    That’s what my life has come to….

    1. She didn’t tell you the whole truth. What she really meant was wearing a Rolex is sexy. Wearing a Swatch, not so much. 😉

      Having an iPhone means you’re smart. haha

    2. Actually, I own a fun Hello Kitty bottle cap pendant. Something like that could be worn on a surfer date, but definitely not to a cocktail party. I also own one with a striking Wittgenstein profile, sure to be a conversation-starter in SoHo, some day…

    3. i thought being smart, thoughtful and generous was sexy and everything else is irrelevant.

      One time, not so long ago, in a galaxy that I believe is ours, having a iPhone was considered sexy.

    4. Maybe try or eHarmony and type in “must have tech intelligence and think different.” You need to weed out these bimbos ASAP. Any good woman worth dating appreciates an Apple device and has a few of her own. 🙂

  5. You won’t want one until you see how Apple does one.

    Another way to translate that is if Apple doesn’t do one, you won’t want one. So I’m just going to enjoy my iPhone, MacBook Air 11-inch, iPad with Retina, 27-inch iMac, trio of Apple TVs (and a bunch more stuff) and not worry too much about it until Apple actually announces something.

  6. I’ve been hoping for ages that this whole ‘iWatch’ thing is just disinformation, snippets being leaked out specifically to make competitors go off in totally the wrong direction.
    In a funny sort of way I’ll be very disappointed if Apple announce an iWatch; I really want to see Samsung et al wriggling on the hook that Apple baited and waited for them to bite.

  7. Just because an iWatch may be on your arm and has the time doesn’t identify why someone should wear one. The federal government wants one on each kids wrist to monitor the student during the school day and a senior citizen could use it to monitor their vitals and keep them alive. And they would also know when lunch is ready in the cafeteria too or unlock your car or front door. Different apps for different reasons to be wearing an iWatch.

    Think different! I hope Apple still can.

  8. Good thoughts and assessment! However, never underestimate
    about 2 billion teenagers buying power. If done correctly, would be the latest category of longterm fad and would sell a zillion.

  9. Watching people digging into their pockets to see the time or who’s calling or whatever always reminds me of my old grandfather digging out his pocket watch.

    Just today (again!) I missed a call from my alarm service because I didn’t notice my phone vibrating.

    A properly implemented smart watch’s main function will be subtle and instant notifications that can be ignored or acted upon as needed, regardless of the social situation.

  10. Because of price, size, weight & battery constraints, I’m thinking a much smarter Jawbone or Fitbit type device.

    Minimal interface but tracks your exercise, heat rate, etc. and allows you to send & receive calls and texts, control iTunes, Pandora, all without taking your phone out of your pocket.

  11. I own over 40 watches and while you shouldn’t IMHO wear more than one at a time having that many breaks up the monotony. I like watches so it’s more than likely that I’ll end up with yet another Apple product. If they even bring the thing to market.

    That I like watches is besides the point.

    Look at where the iPhone is from where it began. iPod too for that matter. What could they do when they were first introduced and what are they capable of now.

    So with the probable launch of the iWatch we will be witnessing the start point of something new. Not the total capability or full capacity of a technology but the introduction of yet to be fulfilled potential.

    1. Who are we to judge your collection of watches? We all collect things. I bet most of us here have a collection of several trillion ones and a matching set of zeros. And holding them all are collections of files we no longer use or need.


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