Apple Enters Smartwatch Category But Won’t Change Demand

Watches like those created by Swiss PL are pieces of art that won't give up wrist space to just anything.
Watches like those created by Swiss PL are pieces of art that won’t give up wrist space to just anything.

With Apple’s announcements yesterday it seems the brand is taking another full step into the direction of being an average consumer electronics device company. Compared to Steve Jobs’ previous absence due to his ouster in 1985 this time they are at least remaining profitable and floating above water with the competition. For now.

Apple will now be offering two sizes of iPhone the “Plus” of which might as well be called the iPad Micro (with phone capabilities) and an Apple Watch (no more “i”) to try to shake up the smartwatch category. Unfortunately none of these announcements illustrate that Apple has retained any of the disruptive spirit that Jobs brought to the company.

Unlike Apple’s entrance into the digital music player category the watch (I won’t capitalize it without an “i” prefix) simply offers Apple fans an Apple version of what other companies already offer. Yes, before the iPod there were many digital music players and Apple did shake up the field. However, with the iPod, Apple had already released iTunes and followed with the iTunes Store which introduced an entire new business model that helped stabilize the music industry which was in shambles trying to deal with music piracy.

Smartwatches certainly have a market and Apple is smart to make sure that they are in the space along with the others. Apple will also sell a lot of watches. But unlike iPod, iPhone, and iPad, the market for smartwatches is much much smaller. Tech geeks, fitness enthusiasts, and others with niche uses will want one, but after that the watch won’t convert non-enthusiasts.

The chances most discerning professionals will give up a really high quality timepiece for a Dick Tracy throwback concept is highly unlikely. As watch wearing has declined overall those who are enthusiasts of the artful design of brands like Swiss PL and classic quality of a Swiss watch will not see the Apple Watch or any other as viable daily-wear.

Considering Google’s continued work on Glass and the push for smartwatches, I do believe wearable technology is going to be a huge market.

However, it’s not going to end up on our wrists.


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