Matt Gemell shared his thoughts on the Apple Watch.
It’s important to understand what Watch is, and why it’s interesting. Apple isn’t pursuing the tech consumer crowd with this product, and that’s unprecedented for the company.
Before iPhone, there were two kinds of mobile phones: regular ones, and so-called smartphones. The latter were business tools, with plastic mini-keyboards, and advertising campaigns that focused on Exchange integration and other such soul-numbing corporate concerns.
Now, the iPhone defines the smartphone category. There are iPhones and the many similar, imitator devices, and there are also still the “dumbphones”, quickly passing from the consumer’s consciousness. Apple owns the category, in popular consciousness. Just like iPods define what a portable digital music player is.
iPhones, iPads and iPods (and Macs) have one thing in common: they’re for the consumer who’s looking for a piece of technology. People who primarily want a device, and then select that device based on reputation, fitness for purpose, price, and perhaps aesthetics and build quality. In all cases, though, they begin with the fundamental concept of a gadget. iPhones and the rest all belong to the tech sector.
There are already smartwatches available, and they’re all also gadgets. They live in the tech sector too, and they’ve been designed and marketed as such, to the same old crowd of consumers. They are geek toys, without exception.
Apple doesn’t care about that market, because it’s a tiny segment of an industry they already dominate. What Apple cares about is the wristwatch market.
Wristwatches are for everyone, geek or not, and premium watches are for the discerning, style-conscious consumer looking to advertise that they have a certain lifestyle. These buyers begin with the concept of a watch, not a gadget on the wrist.
Many people listen to music. Only some people were interested in a portable music player and fewer people used MP3s. The iPod brought portable digital music into the mainstream.
Many people had a mobile phone. Only some people were interested in a smartphone. The iPhone brought smartphones into the mainstream.
Many people had a personal computer or laptop. Only some people were interested in the idea of a tablet. The iPad changed that and for many people the iPad replaced their PCs.
Many people wear a watch. Only some are interested in a smartwatch. Will the Apple Watch revolutionise how the space on the wrist is utilised?