When I first heard about the Apple Watch—the actual thing, not just the rumors—my initial reaction was along the lines of, “Wow, that’s cool but I don’t know if I need one.” From that moment on, began to wonder if Apple might be making a really cool product that nobody would end up buying.
I mean think about it: the Apple Watch is the first real device that Apple has produced without Steve Jobs really being in the driver’s seat since his death (I don’t count the iPad Mini). It’s also going to be pricey and many of it’s features are mere shadows of what you can do with an iPhone. Plus, existing smart watches haven’t exactly taken over the world (though some, like the Pebble, have certainly cultivated excited and supportive customers)—they just aren’t mainstream at this point (which turns out to be exactly the type of market Apple likes to enter).
But as March 9 approaches (the suspected Apple Watch event), I’m beginning to change my mind. Apple is going to sell A LOT of these smart watches. That’s my official prediction. In no conceivable way will the Apple Watch be considered a flop.
My thinking changed a couple of days ago when I visited Apple’s website to check in on the Watch again. All of a sudden, the idea of an Apple Watch clicked in my head and I wanted it—not because it was an Apple product and I’m a fan (which is certainly the case) but because I felt like it would be useful.
Yes, useful. Necessary. An improvement over my current iPhone-only setup. I now believe the Apple Watch will be more than a nice-to-have; for me, I can already tell it will become a must-have.
It all comes down to the glanceability, for me. There are so many times throughout the day where I take my phone out of my pocket and get sucked in. Even when I don’t want to get sucked in. There’s too much there: communication, news, games and enough notifications to drive a person insane. Quite honestly, I frequently get lost in my phone. I set out to accomplish one small task and I take a wrong turn. By the time I get back to where I was originally headed 45 minutes or more might have passed. It’s great for app developers (thank you Nir Eyal) but horrible for my productivity, relationships, habits, etc.
So what at first felt to me like a crippled version of an iPhone is now looking more and more like a breath of fresh air. Being able to send canned responses from my wrist without delving into the blackhole that is my iPhone will be incredible. To be notified of something without being able to click on it to open a full app experience will be excellent. I won’t get sucked into the digital quite as often; I’ll have more time to experience the world sitting right in front of me.
And yes, I need that. I want that. I want a less is more type of approach. I don’t really want the Apple Watch to do as much as my iPhone. In a way, I think (and I hope) that the Apple Watch experience will actually help separate me from my iPhone… does that make sense?
Everything else is a bit secondary, for me. The design is quite nice—I always appreciate Jony Ive’s attention to detail and sense of style. But that isn’t why I need the Apple Watch. The health info is nice, the personalization is very, very nice and the technical specs are superb—but they are all just icing on the cake, for me (and frankly what I would expect from Apple at this point). Yes, there are Android devices and other smart watches out there that could provide a reduced/regulated flow of information to users, but that is where design and style come into play (as well as ecosystems—if you’re already in the Apple universe… an Apple Watch just makes more sense than a competitor).
I want an Apple Watch because it will keep me connected without being over-connected. It will be less intrusive (and in a way will help me tame my iPhone habits). And I am betting that the same will be true for other people as well.
But it’s kind of like when the iPad originally launched. People wondered why they might want a tablet—until they tried it. Once they started consuming content on it, it felt just right. In that same subtle way I think that once people begin to consume content using the Apple Watch it will feel right because it will be just the right amount of content at the right time. For a deeper experience the iPhone will never be far away.
Of course there will be Apple fans that would buy anything splashed with the text “designed by Apple in Cupertino,” but I’m guessing that the measured flow of information streaming to and from the Apple Watch is what will end up making it a big winner. Just watch.