I guess I’ll start this article by reiterating that I currently have no intention of owning a smartwatch, and I don’t consider the smartwatch side of the industry to be particularly popular right now. With that in mind, I’m not throwing out the very real possibility that the release of the Apple Watch on April 24 might change at least one of those things.
When I saw that the initial price of the Apple Watch was $349 and can expand into the thousands (upon thousands) of dollars, I huffed. I thought it was ridiculous. I still think it’s a ridiculous price, but I’ve come to realize that just because I don’t think something is worth that kind of money doesn’t mean that other people feel necessarily feel the same way. Given that we’re talking about Apple of all companies here, it would be an absurd assumption to think that the Apple Watch won’t work, especially before the device is even released.
Apple has hardly ever been the first to release a certain type of product. They weren’t the first to release a computer, laptop, mp3 player, smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch; however, any mention of a Mac, Macbook, iPod, iPhone, or iPad is sure to spark some form of familiarity. All of these products may not have been the first, but each have grown to become iconic to say the least. Each product has also come with what many might consider a high price tag, sometimes absurdly so, and these devices are still extremely popular today. So who is to say that the Apple Watch won’t have the same effect?
I’m split right down the middle when it comes to predicting exactly how well Apple Watch will do. On the one hand, you can look at Apple’s track record and see that they usually manage to generate a lot of sales on their products. Some people cite that this is because Apple products have quality hardware and quality software; some will cite that it’s simply due to the fact that the Apple name/logo is attached to the device. Whatever it is, Apple is no stranger to succeeding with products that might not be a new concept to the industry, but is new for the company.
On the other hand, the Apple Watch doesn’t seem any more necessary than any other smartwatch on the market. At the end of the day, Apple’s smartwatch is still just an accessory that one would carry along with their smartphone in order to make the most out of the experience. With a claim that the Apple Watch's charge will only reach 18 hours, it’s a device that will need nightly charging along with a smartphone. Yes, you have Siri, Apple Pay, the ability to respond to messages and phone calls (all through voice activation, as the Apple Watch apparently doesn’t support any type of keyboard), not to mention the ability to customize the Apple Watch’s bands and a plethora of accessories already ready to go for the new gadget, but at the end of the day it’s still just a small extension of the smartphone – which can do just about everything your smartwatch can do (and more) - that you have in your pocket.
There aren’t a lot of people who “need” (I use the term loosely) this product, so I think the sales of the Apple Watch will depend entirely on how many people want it – and with a starting price of $349, people who want it bad enough. I’ve heard the argument that a tablet purchase is equally as frivolous, but I have strong opinions that the tablet is able to do a lot more than the smartwatch is. You also don’t lose functions of a tablet when you don’t have a smartphone with you. But I digress.
At the end of the day, when asked whether you predict the Apple Watch will succeed or flop, you have two options to go with. You can either run off of the fact that Apple has a good track record of making a lot of people think highly of a product, even if it’s a concept that has already been released in one form or another, or you can look at the state of the smartwatch currently and assume that people will see the Apple Watch as “just another smartwatch”. If I had to put money on one, I’d assume that Apple’s smartwatch will probably garner more attention than any other smartwatch that has already been released. While I do happen to fall into the category of people who think that Apple makes a quality product, I also strongly believe that Apple as a brand has become a cultural phenomenon at this point. While I have no intention of purchasing the Apple Watch myself (if I ever do spring for a smartwatch, I believe a Pebble will suffice) I do expect to see this particular smartwatch succeed beyond expectation.