Apple Watch will do to the watch market what iPhone did to cellphones

“Apple, which unveiled the Apple Watch in September (it’s due out in April and starts at $349), faces a modern audience for whom watches have become increasingly irrelevant,” Michael deAgonia writes for Computerworld. “With wearables already on the market mostly limited to a tech-savvy fitness crowd, it’s natural to ask whether the Apple Watch will be yet another device trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.”

“Some analysts remain skeptical Apple will succeed with its Watch — I had some doubts two years ago — but after spending the past few months using competing products, and after studying Apple’s plans for the device, it’s clear to me that Apple is about to disrupt the market again,” deAgonia writes. “That’s assuming, of course, everything works as advertised.”

“Like other products from the company, the Apple Watch will evoke a visceral tech lust in a generation that had mostly given up on wearables. And it helps that the immediate audience involves Apple customers already within the OS X/iOS ecosystem of apps, products, media, and services,” deAgonia writes. “No doubt there will be some tradeoffs with the first generation. But this a wearable that will continue to gain traction over time as features, battery life and technologies improve. On a larger scale, it’s likely the Apple Watch will do to the watch market what the iPhone did to the smartphone industry.”

Tons more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last month:

With iPhone, Apple changed the fabric of our everyday lives: All around the world today, you see people constantly pulling phones from pockets and staring at them. With Apple Watch, Apple will change behavior worldwide once again. A quick glance at your Watch and you’re off. No more smartphone zombies. Watch and see.

Related articles:
Samsung: Apple Watch doesn’t worry us – February 6, 2015
Swatch preps Apple Watch killer – February 5, 2015
CNN’s David Goldman: ‘The Apple Watch will flop’ – February 4, 2015
The Apple Watch could push techies out of Apple Retail Stores – How about ‘Apple Watch Stores?’ – February 3, 2015

28 Comments

  1. If people who wear large watches, like Invicta, it should be just fine. It’s the one who don’t wear anything, or the ones that wear skinny watches that will be a problem getting used to a fat watch.

    1. I am agree with you.

      A standalone Apple watch would not be for everyone, but some people would love it and they are not the luddites. I am sure Apple will consider that for future versions. They are not concerned with cannibalization.

      For some reason, even on an Apple site, lots of people think “I wouldn’t do that” means “nobody would do that”. Many people on this site dissed the idea of large iPhones and still diss the idea of Apple creating its own Mac processors for that reason.

      But its not a good reason for anything, it just shows a lack of imagination.

  2. As long as iWatch is tethered to an iPhone, I have no use for it since I have no use for a smart phone. Let’s hope future iWatches will have apps that won’t need a phone.

      1. I am Irish, Bo. I also have owned Apple computers since 1981, way before you were born. I just don’t like lugging a big $600 + phone in case I have an emergency. I keep a flip Phone in my car for that use. I have the latest iPad, An early 2013 iMac. Since I spend much of my time at my desk, I don’t really need a cell phone. That in no way divorces me from tech. Any more sophmore answers out there?

    1. Someone who doesn’t use smart phones does not have an interest in tech in their lives anyway. You are not the target audience nor do you have a clue as to why an Apple Watch would mate up perfectly to an iPhone to give you useful functions. Enjoy your Ludditedness!

  3. I haven’t worn a watch in 20 years. I expect that the  Watch will change that. For a number of reasons, not the least of which is its connection to my phone. If I can look at data I consider useful at the moment (stock ticker, weather, instant message) by looking at my wrist instead of fetching it out of my pocket, that’s an improvement. It’s easier and less intrusive in meetings and at dinner. And there’s the fact that the  Watch isn’t FUGLY — an attribute common to most of the wearables I’ve seen so far.

      1. I believe the new hearing-aid from Danish company is already doing that. I mean you can hear the music and messages from an untethered iPhone. Can anyone verify that.

  4. The problem with the headline (and principle) of doing for watches what the iPhone did for the phone is that watches started dying during the growth of cell phones. Rather than replotting the course of an industry, it will instead have to reverse course entirely. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but it will in fact be a much bigger deal than the success of the iPhone. (I hate to say “if”, but I don’t see that many people who quit wearing a watch 20 years jumping at the chance to spend $350 or more just to not have to pull their phone out of their pocket. It will take more for me, but then the iPhone ended up being a lot more than “just an iPod built into my phone”, too. 🙂 )

    1. Apple sold nearly 75M iPhones during the last quarter. Five percent of that would translate to 3.75M Apple Watches. For the full year, Apple should sell well over 200M iPhones. Five percent of that would translate to over 10M Apple Watches. And that is assuming that only one out of twenty people purchasing a new iPhone decide to purchase an Apple Watch.

      Will sales of 10M or so Apple Watches in one year make a big splash in Apple’s annual revenue and profits? No. But Apple might very well sell many more than 10M Apple Watches. In addition, it is important to consider the effect of the Apple Watch on Apple’s overall ecosystem and the manner in which the Apple Watch might build on ongoing enhancements to that ecosystem.

      It appears to me that Apple has done about as well as anyone could do in developing the first generation of a new consumer electronics wearable. I suspect that it will do quite well. And, even if it doesn’t do so well, it was still a valiant effort to chart a new course. True success requires taking risks, and risks sometimes result in failures. But Apple hits more home runs than anyone else in the business. So, I would not advise betting against Apple.

  5. I believe Apple’s watch will be a big deal, but I don’t think about in the context of it replacing existing watches.

    It’s a different market than MP3 players and cell phones, which were already electronic devices before the introduction of the iPod and iPhone.

    Yes, there are some “smart” watches out there. But this device is different because, despite it’s attempt at high end fashion via the gold version, I don’t quite see it replacing the rolex-ish stuff on the market that is almost purely fashion with a very singular purpose.

    Instead, this is a technology device that extends the software universe to another screen. At least, at first, it’ll be for the technology fringe like myself and then will eventually become fashionable. I don’t think it will be both at exactly the same time.

    My question about this new device is when in the minds of the public the technology and fashion excitement will intersect (immediately? in six months? in two years?) . . . . This will have to happen for it to become ubiquitous, and it will have to be everywhere before it alters mankind like multi-touch computing has.

    Sorry, long post. I’m all for the watch — I’m just not certain it will follow quite the same path as iPod and iPhone. It might be just different enough to be unpredictable. What I do know — and you know, too — is that if any company is going to pull off another paradigm shift in technology and fashion it’ll be the folks in Cupertino.

    1. I was more impressed than I thought I would be when they unveiled it.

      I very likely won’t get version 1 or 2, but can’t wait until version 3 comes out. By then the developers and 3rd party companies will have begun to figure it out and start building some really cool stuff (in that, this will likely play out like the iPhone progression once the SDK was released).

      The thing to watch for in 5-10 years will be how the medical devices and pharma industries learn to integrate with it. I can imagine where biostats are recorded and then downloaded to your doctor and analyzed before a visit. Or it prompts an alert for diabetics etc. Drug regimens could be optimized based on monitoring biofeedback (or, whatever, can’t think of the right word there…) Old people will get an app for sending medical alerts. On and on it goes.

      1. If all the Apple Watch does is to tickle a user’s wrist when it’s time to take the medication, it would be worthwhile for a nice little slice of the market. The thing is, it can be useful to many, many “slices” because it’s not a fixed-functionality device like the traditional wristwatch. This is a wearable that can “grow” based on its app ecosystem. As much as devs can imagine and execute is as much as the Apple Watch can become (within the constraints of Apple curation). The Apple Watch is going to eat everything but your wrist alive.

  6. Millions of iPhone owners who chose the new iPhone 6+ will be especially interested in Apple Watch as a special display convenience, right there on the wrist. The larger 6+ has several well known benefits over the regular 6 and better portability than an iPad, but it is a bit unwieldy for some road warriors when it comes to pulling it out of the pocket, holster, or purse all the time.

  7. In response to MDN’s take on this article – that the iPhone created the smartphone zombie…

    Another unintended effect of the iPhone is all of the state laws banning the use of smartphones in cars, at crosswalks, in the cockpit of a commercial jetliner, etc.

    I can only expect that soon it will be illegal to wear a watch while driving also…

  8. Some analysts remain skeptical Apple will succeed with its Watch

    Actually, we’ve had analcysts staking out their claims all over the damned map! Someone has to be right. Right? Here we are again confronted with modern world business being treated as a betting parlor, a casino, a crap shoot. All that shouts to me is: LOSERS… in the most boring sense of the word. 😛

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