Let me prefix this article with the fact I have no allegiance to any brand. I have a Samsung phone, I own a MacBook Pro, I have an iPad, I own a PC and I own a PS4. I use whatever works for me and what I like: I like.
I am a pretty big watch nerd. While I do not currently own a watch, I have my eyes set on a few watch beauties (non digital). I like reading about watches, I like looking at them and occasionally trying them on. When Apple first announced the Apple Watch I was immediately skeptical, but also intrigued.
Could Apple successfully launch a new product in an area already dominated by its competition and succeed, just like it did with the iPhone and iPad? This was my first thought.
Apple entering new niches only to become the market leader in them is something they have proven they are good at. Look no further than the iPod which catapulted Apple into the stratosphere, even though digital music players existed and so too did portable disc players, etc.
The Apple Watch will succeed in one way or another, there is no doubt that it will sell. But does the Apple Watch have the staying power to continue to sell well for the rest of the year? Probably not.
The biggest driving factor behind the interest in the Apple Watch is people want it to succeed. The cult following this Cupertino company has is both great and scary, it is this cult following that will be rushing out to Apple stores this weekend to pre-order what they think is a history making device.
Given how Apple have had their fair share of successes people will be watching with baited breath, comparing its 24 hour sales and figures to devices that came before it. Like a box office movie, the first few days will be the crucial determining factor that will answer the question: will the Apple Watch succeed?
What happens if the Apple Watch fails?
For Apple’s bottom line it probably does not mean much. We are talking about a company that has more cash than the US government (although that is not saying much). A company with such a large cash buffer a colossal failure of the Apple Watch would be a drop in the ocean for Apple.
But you can’t deny the effects on other areas of the company, its image especially would be felt for a long while after. The Apple Watch has been in development for years, Jonny Ive has had the image of the Apple Watch in his head since 2011. Almost four years of design work went into the watch, deciding what materials to make it from, its features and how it would all come together. We are talking about a product that had to have its own machinery made for to produce (something Apple is no stranger to).
Early reviews and impressions of the watch are not garnering the same excitement and revolutionary spurring statements previous products have in the past. Horrible battery life, bad performance and bugs galore are currently plaguing the watch (and it has not even launched yet). Perhaps a few of these things can be addressed on a software level, but first impressions matter.
What if the average consumer does not want a watch? Indicative clues of rival offerings from Samsung and Pebble prove there is a market for smart watches, but at the price point that Apple are positioning themselves in, I feel as though they are not bringing much to the table that Samsung have not done already.
What does success look like?
To measure the success of the Apple Watch we need to ask ourselves: what does success look like? Is it large sales figures, production issues because Apple can’t keep up with the demand, a further soaring stock price or its competition starts copying its features and designs?
One thing is for sure, Apple do not need the money. However, a success for the company is a success for stock holders and executives awaiting their tasty bonuses.
The company are undoubtedly already working on an Apple Watch 2, whether we see it released will depend on the success of the Apple Watch I.
There is more riding on this than recouping years of research and development, Apple’s reputation is on the line here. A company that is known for spruiking the mantra, “think different” could perhaps be thinking too differently with the Apple Watch.
This is the first big and new product Apple have launched since Steve Jobs’ death, it will prove to an extent whether the company can succeed without jobs or become the new Microsoft.
Remember during the 90’s when Apple was the underdog and Microsoft were this big seemingly unstoppable company that had successfully managed to dominate both the enterprise and home space simultaneously?
Look at Microsoft now. They’re not the top dog anymore and once you’ve reached the top, you can only continue to climb so far before you become so big you lose pieces of what made you successful in the first place. Apple are in a dangerous place right now, they have everything to lose and respect (and profits) in a new niche to gain.
We can all speculate and claim to know what will happen with the Apple Watch, but the truth is we do not know what is going to happen until it happens. The iPhone was decried by critics to be a failure before it launched, same goes for the iPad.
Everyone was wrong about the iPhone and iPad, maybe everyone is wrong about the Apple Watch too?