Note to reviewers: Apple Watch isn’t about ‘need,’ it’s about ‘want’

“One of the more common themes one tends to see in Apple Watch reviews is whether or not one truly ‘needs’ the device,” Yoni Heisler writes for BGR. “This has always struck me as odd because it seemingly holds the Apple Watch to a higher standard than almost every other luxury item on the planet.”

“The thing is, luxury items, by definition, aren’t needed at all,” Heisler writes. “They are coveted. They are desired. Their purpose is to entice. Luxury items lure people in and convince them to spend a lot of money even when cheaper alternatives abound. Need isn’t part of the equation.”

“Do auto buyers truly need a luxury BMW with a base price of $80,000? Do people really need to part with over $2,000 to pick up a Sony LED 4K Ultra HD TV? …Apple has never positioned or advertised the Apple Watch as something that one truly needs,” Heisler writes. “Yet, for whatever reason, this is the prism through which most reviewers and naysayers tend to judge the device.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s almost like certain reviewers couldn’t come up with much of anything negative about Apple Watch, so they resorted to inventing one. “Well, you don’t really need it,” they sniff.

As we’ve written many times when encountering this misplaced “need” criteria in Apple Watch reviews:

As for necessity, nothing beyond food, water, and shelter qualifies, so don’t make that a deciding factor. If you’d like something that saves you time throughout the day and makes managing many everyday activities significantly easier, then the Apple Watch is for you.

Newt Gingrich reviews Apple Watch: ‘Very helpful and surprisingly natural’ – June 19, 2015
One month with my Apple Watch: Why I’m loving it – June 17, 2015
Dalrymple reviews Apple Watch: ‘My most personal review ever’ – June 16, 2015
Apple Watch: 45 days later – June 8, 2015
Computerworld’s deep-dive Apple Watch review: ‘After a month of use: Very positive’ – June 8, 2015
Living with Apple Watch: One month in – June 3, 2015
Apple Watch: The early adopter’s take – June 1, 2015
Jean-Louis Gassée: Five weeks with Apple Watch – May 31, 2015
Ben Thompson: Apple Watch is being serially underestimated – May 20, 2015
BGR reviews Apple Watch: ‘A major technological achievement; you won’t want to take it off’ – May 7, 2015
The Telegraph reviews Apple Watch: Object of desire – May 7, 2015
Cult of Mac reviews Apple Watch: ‘Futuristic, fun and fan-flipping-tastic’ – April 28, 2015
PC Magazine reviews Apple Watch: ‘The best smartwatch available’ – April 28, 2015
Apple Watch owners shame so-called professional reviewers – April 27, 2015


    1. MDN and others:

      MDN, while your consistency with your love and support of Apple is laudable, and I like the content on here, where at this again. You’ve erected a strawman.

      It’s actually not the case that communications between people can be viewed as just a want. When it comes to telecommunications, it’s a pretty fundamental aspect of society. The smartphone is our communications tool. It’s much more fundamental to people’s lives than many other tools and other products and services out there.

      When people assert that the Apple Watch is a want and not a need, this is the context in which that needs to be placed in. Steve Jobs was certainly no fool. I remember the interview he did with CNBC when he launched the iPod and iTunes. He said, “Music isn’t speculative.”

      Let’s repeat that.

      “Music isn’t speculative.”

      Jobs had an incredible ability to enter into markets that were huge and effectively NECESSARY to people. Everyone, or many, love music. It’s therapeutic.

      This same thinking applies to mobile phones. Jobs went after things that were effectively necessary parts of people’s lives. Sure, food, clothing, and shelter are our most basic needs. But we have other needs too.

      As much as we think the Apple Watch is a cool shiny piece of kit, we have to also cut the geek bullshit and figure out whether anybody besides a handful of fanboys and geeks want anything to do with it. I’ve discussed many times how I predict it will fail because a computer watch is a failed concept for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that the screen is way too small to do much of anything useful.

      I believe we are witnessing the fundamental difference between the Jobsean Apple and the new Apple under new leadership. Jobs was able to “guess right”, and many times over. I’m seeing what I advance are mistakes. As leadership that has done some interesting things but made some major mistakes. Those are:

      -Acquisition of Beats;
      -Apple Watch;
      -Not launching all Retina all across the board;
      -Many crappy product launches (12″ MacBook, Apple Watch…);
      -iOS 7 thinness over the top…;
      -Failure to get an Apple TV out the door after Jobs had cracked the code.

      I predict that more people will question Tim Cook’s leadership in the next 1-2 years and that more mistakes are going to happen.

      1. I predict that many more people will question your analysis. Steve Jobs is dead. There are no more Steve Jobs left in the world. Someone else has to carry the load and make decisions. Will they be exactly as Jobs might have done? Yes & no. But’s that the life of a company when it’s founder dies and others must carry on. Disney went through bad times and good again after Walt died but Apple’s good times keep rolling onward and upward. It’s doubtful someone else not trained in the Jobs way would have done as good a job as Tim Cook has. Their bottom line and huge product demand speaks volumes and they have not exhausted their good will by a long shot as Microsoft has. Thou doth protest too much.

        You assume much (which makes an “ass” out of “u” & “me”) and couch your opinions as facts. You are are also not privy to some very tough negotiating areas as are happening now with Apple TV.

        I hope whatever you do is also micro-analyzed by some armchair couch-potato numbskulls without a clue making you pull your hair out knowing better too. End of the day, Cook is delivering better than any other CEO on the planet.

        1. correction: there is no end of the day. Cook is delivering better than any other CEO for the time being using the machinery that Jobs built. Very few institutions crumble immediately after their first-generation leaders are gone. But under Cook, innovation — that is, first to market with new ideas — has definitely taken a back seat to consumerism.

    1. Exactly… if you want an Apple Watch you’ll need an iPhone. If you don’t need an Apple Watch you’ll need a brain transplant or an ugly and unsecure, useless, shameless Android wear… don’t forget your useful Google glasses to match.

  1. And the fact that the Apple Watch is not necessary will be part of its downfall. It is geek wear. After the initial interest, it will quickly become passé, and worse–an object of scorn. Watch and see.

  2. I’ve had the watch for two months, and I have to say it is very useful for certain things. I can’t exactly accomplish anything new, just can do things I’ve been able to do with iPhone faster. I find myself missing little features that would make it a much more productive experience, but those will come in time. I love the watch, and am looking forward to how it will evolve over time.

    Feature wish list:

    1. Custom canned responses for text messages. The system responses are good, but aren’t quite worded how I would say them and also would love to have phrases I tend to respond with often rather than what’s there currently.

    2. Delete emails. I don’t archive something unless I will actually need to reference back to it at some point. Therefore I delete 95% of all inbound email. The watch only allows me to archive. This means I look at it on my watch and then just leave it in my inbox. Later I return to my massive inbox to read the same emails again and delete them. I’ve noticed my email actually getting more out of hand using the watch than before, because rather than immediately dealing with email, I put off deleting stuff that gets mixed in with stuff I need to action, and ugh, hate it.

    3. Stop auto-installing apps on me even though I turned auto-install off!

    1. Mike try fooling around with the iPhone Watch app under Messages: Default Replies. You can modify the default replies to sound more like your voice or phrases

  3. Need depends on what you are doing.

    If you are in critical negotiations and you need silent signals from your partners, you will damn well need an Apple Watch.

    1. Apple Pay, notifications, hands free, it’s a baby os………………. “Apple sold more Apple Watches on the device’s first day of preorder sales than its rival companies sold Android-based smartwatches throughout all of 2014, according to market research data.”

  4. Trying to sell me a thing I don’t need as a “of course you don’t need it, but people will think you’re stupid rich if you have one” is very Kardashian.

    aka cheap and trashy.

  5. Oh – fer – jeebas – sake…. it’s marketing kindergarten. People don’t buy what the NEED anyway; they buy what they WANT. Even true necessity gets infested with this principle — food… chocolate mousse — lettuce. Hmmm. What a difficult choice!

  6. MDN take is way off mark.. Just because it is an APPLE watch doesn’t qualify it to be a need. It is a niche product not only in terms of the cost even in terms of its need.

    Basically if anyone has the money to burn they can buy an Apple watch.. It is not a game changing product like the iPod was, or like the iPhone or the iPad, it is just a product like the rest.

    1. Those three products were not universally viewed as game changers when Apple introduced them. They were viewed as overpriced entries into existing markets that had already become commoditized. All of them were dismissed as feature-poor, underpowered, and unnecessary, destined for the graveyard of abandoned toys. Early, enthusiastic reviewers were labeled delusional fanboys.

      What I’d like to hear is why, in the face of all that reasoned skepticism, those three products went on to become game changers and this latest product will not.

  7. Nobody needs to go to the water park in the hot summer and go down the big water slide but it is fun.

    Owning an Apple Watch is fun too but I don’t ‘need’ mine.

  8. Apple Watch owners are kind of like Google Glass-holes. They want everyone to believe the item they spent big bucks on is so useful and has enriched their lives. I think by slapping one on your wrist, you are telling the world Apple owns you, not the other way around. You drank the koolaid, and therefore look foolish. LOL

  9. Well beyond water, etc., most people do need a smartphone these days. As in their personal and professional lives would be considerably more difficult without one.

    But I don’t think anyone needed the iPhone when it first came out, because smartphone penetration was so low.

    So give it time. We do not need Watches now, but in a few years of improvements maybe many people will.

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