Will I be getting an Apple Watch?
Those who know me pretty well, know that I am a gadget addict. Every couple of months I start to get the shakes and the twitches from not having a new gadget to play with. Amber says I have a predictable pattern of anticipation for the new gadget, the hunt and search for it, the acquisition and excitement, and finally the disillusionment of the failed promise of the new gadget.
And so with the Apple Watch announcement yesterday, I’m wondering if that cycle is starting and ending in one step as I think I’ve jumped directly to disillusionment. I’m always fascinated when technology brings something new to the human experience, how good tech can make life a little more interesting and a bit easier. The Apple Watch so far fails at that. I didn’t see anything different or unique enough that can’t be done by existing technology. My Pebble Watch handles notifications just fine. But it’s not just that. Apple has always been a premium brand, setting itself at the upper end of the mass market, however it feels like Apple is pandering to the luxury end of the market unnecessarily. Sure the iPhone is a “premium” product, but not so premium that it was out of the reach of most people. And this seems purposely out of reach for many. Much of what the Apple Watch could do, doesn’t need the luxury feel.
The funny thing is that I was one of the first people to use the square iPod nano as a watch. I even got a steel band for it. It would have been easy at that point to put in a bluetooth radio, a better processor and battery and extend the capability. Instead, Apple took it off the market and replaced it with a worse product so that they could carve out a unique watch category. By starting the price off at $349US and practically putting the price of a product with a steel band in the $1000US range, I feel like they’ve lost site of who their fans are.
Something seems to have changed at Apple with this, and I can’t help but wonder what Steve Jobs would have done. The macbook was a higher end product, but it was never put out of the reach of the mass market. He just demanded a premium for a better user experience. For a better product.
The watch seems to be luxury for the sake of luxury. I expect this from a company like Rolex. This is their brand persona – they position their products to a very high end consumer. But that’s not the Apple consumer today. I expect that many a potential customer will give pause before shelling out for one. As will I.