In about an hour or so, depending on when this goes live, Apple will be on stage in California at its “Spring forward” event, and more than likely the Apple Watch will have made its presence known on that stage, too. The event is all about the smart wearable from the Cupertino-based company, and even if the subject matter is small, the event is a pretty big one for the company. They’ve got a large task ahead of them: Tim Cook and company has to sell the Watch as the iPhone of smartwatches.
I’ve already asked you whether or not you’re going to pick the Watch over Pebble’s newest smartwatch, the Pebble Time, but this time around let’s just focus on Apple and the task they’ve set themselves up to complete today. The event kicks off at 10:00AM Pacific, or 1:00PM Eastern, and the moment it does the job for Apple is clear: Sell the Watch to all the people who might be on the fence. Because let’s face it, there are already people out there who have decided they are going to buy the Watch, no matter how much it costs or what it can do (or can’t do).
But for everyone else, even the people who might be talking themselves out of the Watch at this moment, Apple has to sell this wearable and the price tag it’s going to be associated with. It’s pretty telling that no one out there thinks these devices are going to be cheap. It helps that they start at $349, but when the top names in the industry look at the Watch (the stainless steel model) and speculate it’ll cost around $700 to start, well, the art of selling comes to the fore.
Last night I was talking about the Watch again with a friend, and he noted that the price tag doesn’t seem so crazy if you think about the fact it’s a “Gen 1” device, and that typically comes with a higher price tag. This is a watch for the early adopters, the ones that want to be on the “bleeding edge,” so to speak. And he’s probably right, and that’s probably where a lot of people are coming from when they look at the Watch and those rumored price tags.
The trouble I have with that, is the fact that the Watch doesn’t really bring to the table anything that hasn’t already been done. Meaning, the Watch may be a Gen 1 device from Apple, it isn’t a Gen 1 device when it comes to smartwatches as a whole. Yes, there are plenty of things that Apple is doing right with the Watch (like notifications not arriving on the wearable when it isn’t on a wrist),and the wearable does have some cool features (sending your heartbeat or drawing a doodle is pretty cool), but these are small things. These aren’t breakthrough features that are going to propel the Watch into the stardom of the wearable market.
But that hasn’t stopped the Watch from being propelled there anyway, even before it goes on sale. I know that Apple’s name and brand garners that kind of attention, and they certainly deserve it, but I want Apple to actually show me why the Watch is worth so much money. I want Apple to show me today why I’d pay hundreds of dollars more than I would for a Pebble, or an Android Wear-based wearable. (Of course, Android Wear not working on iOS is a pretty big loss of points.)
Basically, Apple has to sell the Watch as the iPhone of smartwatches, and I’m actually more curious to see if they can do that than anything else at this point. Apple events usually have some kind of surprise or another, so let’s hope that’s the one this time around.