Business, Money

My Thoughts On The Apple Watch

It is easy, even reasonable, to say that the Apple Watch has no clear purpose;

to say that The Watch is “the answer to a question no one asked” or some such statement.

But does it have to be revolutionary? Can’t it just be evolutionary? Can’t it just be another quality Apple product?

I think the Apple Watch is unlike any of Apple’s “revolutionary” products. Instead, it is like the Mac Pro: different in appearance, design, and price(!) than the competition, but not revolutionary. Maybe it is simply in-stride with the fledgling smart-watch field. And maybe all smart-watches are still just a stumble forward from regular, time-tested watches. (Pun kinda intended.)

Here are the revolutionary products since Steve’s return and how apparent their impact was:

The iMac was introduced in 1998, and we could see why it existed and how disruptive it was. We could see that it was…

  • a whole new vision of a computer.
  • easier to use.
  • easier to carry.
  • easier on the pocketbook (than other Macs of that time).
  • a big step forward for personal computers.
  • carefully, intentionally designed.

The iPod + iTunes was introduced in 2001, and we could immediately see that it was…

  • a entirely new vision of a music player.
  • a revolutionary way to buy music.
  • infinitely more convenient.
  • easier to use.
  • a giant leap forward.
  • carefully, intentionally designed.

The iPhone was announced in 2007, and we could immediately see that this was…

  • a “smart phone” that was truly, very smart
  • a colossal leap forward. It, with the internet, propelled us into the future in which we now live.
  • easy to use.
  • powerful.
  • carefully, intentionally designed.

(At the iPhone’s announcement, I remember journalists messaging just the word “iPhone”. No analysis or explanation needed.)

When the iPad was announced in 2010… well, we all saw that coming. And it was just what we imagined it would be. Not revolutionary, but evolutionary.

And, of course, these giant, surprising leaps forward have always been Apple’s legacy. It is an impossible achievement how often Apple has changed their industry or the world.

But the Watch…

The consensus of those who have used one, and the thinking of a reasonable person, seems to be:

  • It is nice to look at.
  • The materials are luxurious.
  • The design and craftsmanship are what we expect from Apple.
  • Within pop culture, it is already more of a status symbol than a useful product. What does that say?
  • How often will these get stolen?
  • What might keep it from becoming obsolete? Because if that cannot be at least slowed, than the watch simply makes very little sense.
  • Do I want to glance at my wrist that often during a day?
  • How useful will a screen that size be to me?
  • Could this be the future?
  • Or will it remain a niche product? It certainly is priced as such.

Read what I wrote three weeks ago about the Watch.

Three weeks until Apple Watch

In stores on April 24.

The Apple Watch raises a lot of questions. People don’t know what to think about it. Just like the when the iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Macbook Air were introduced. It is important to note that each of those products became the standard for their categories. Should we expect the Apple Watch to do the same? Or, why shouldn’t we expect it to do the same?

Partially because they are not sure what to think about it, some people have asked me what I think about the Watch (does it need to be capitalized?). Here goes:

I am curious about how, and why, it will sell.

It costs $350 to $15,000… which is more than I, and most of the world, pay for watches. Yet, because it is essentially a computer, it will become obsolete in years, and not even the people who can afford it can afford to upgrade it every 1-5 years. Quartz watches–costing much less–can last 15 years. Mechanical watches–in that price range (and beyond!)–can last 100s of years.

Physically, it is simply beautiful. Functionally, it is trying to do a lot. Especially for a watch. I’m not sure I want to interact with my watch that much. Tapping, pressing, twisting, swiping, constantly checking.

I do, however, trust Apple to make ‘insanely great’ products.

Market Capitalization For Some Tech Cos

A few interesting bits:

  • Google is now worth more than Exxon/Mobile. Impressive. Also impressive: Google’s EPS and P/E.
  • Microsoft is close to Exxon in market cap.
  • Facebook is worth more than: Samsung, Verizon, Oracle, Amazon, AT&T, IBM, Intel, etc. That seems crazy to me. Facebook’s P/E is ridiculous, of course.
  • Amazon still doesn’t make money.

March 2015 stocks

I’ve been tracking and discussing these things for awhile. Please check it out:

Apple has great advertisements

… why doesn’t anyone else? All the other big players in tech—and in all industries—spend as much or more than Apple on marketing. Why are the ads from essentially all other companies so cringe-inducing, cliché, unoriginal, uninspired, etc?

Here is Apple’s latest ad:

From The Verge:

Apple’s been no stranger to iconic commercials over the years, and its newest holiday ad looks to follow in those footsteps.

Here are other company’s holiday ads:

Everything in this Microsoft ad is wrong: the voices, the horribleness of the things created on the Surface, the lack of rhyming, the implication that a kickstand is better than the utility of a laptop screen, the beginning, the end.

Both these ads are in the style of Apple ads of 2012: white environment, minimalistic design, no people in the frame, the focus on the product, one camera angle and shot. But both these ads feel cheap and insulting.

Cliché? Uninspired? Got you covered: