The Apple Watch, unveiled by CEO Tim Cook today, looks to be a very nicely designed Jony Ive creation. However, as Forward3D Chief Executive Officer Martin McNulty says in a Bloomberg TV interview, Apple Watch is a really poor product and not a device but a mere accessory.
“I don’t know what problem this is solving because it only works if you’ve got an iPhone in your pocket, “ McNulty says. “Imagine if the wrist watch had been launched and you had to have a fob watch in your pocket for it to work.”
According to McNulty, unlike the iPhone 6, the Apple Watch will only sell to a small niche subset of the consumer market that will view it as a fashion accessory. McNulty believes that Apple’s best hope is to flog its dud device to 25-34 year old males in Asia who can’t resist gaudy techno knick-knacks.
Apple obviously agrees with McNulty on his point that the Apple Watch is aiming at the fashion market. The world’s richest company is blowing some of its vast wealth on an 18-page advertising spread in the September issue of Vogue Magazine.
“That to me feels very un-Apple,” McNulty says. “There are loads of luxury watches out there that we could name.”
McNulty is spot on the mark here. Unlike the iPhone which brought a user-friendly smartphone to the world and the iPad, which demonstrated what a sub-notebook computer should be, the Apple Watch arrives at a time when most young people no longer wear wrist watches and those that do wear them as fashion accessories.
However, unlike the gender agnostic iPhone 6, it’s a fair bet that Apple is unlikely to persuade fashion conscious women to leave their gold Cartier or Rolex in the jewellery box and strap on an Apple Watch.
It is easy to imagine that Steve Jobs would have canned this product in its infancy. As McNulty says, everybody and their grandma wanted an iPhone 6 because it gave them something they could use but who needs another watch?
It is perhaps telling that Tim Cook preceded his 90-minute presentation with a film about how Apple was kicking goals in China, opening stores by the dozen with hundreds of enthusiastic Chinese twenty and thirty somethings waving at the camera. This is probably one of the few markets where the Apple Watch has a chance.
Come 24 April, I have no doubt that there will be the usual queues outside Apple stores around the world, with the usual tech geeks lining up to get their hands on Apple’s latest gadget. However, for the Apple Watch that’s where it will end.