D Day is approaching for Apple with serious questions being raised about the potential success of Apple’s new smartwatch strategy, several leading technology and business observers are claiming the new device will be a “flop”.
Several leading commentators have said that the new Apple Smartwatch which is due to be released tomorrow will be a flop.
From Forbes, to Fast Company the sceptics are coming out of the woodwork to pass an opinion.
In a Fast Company article titled “You guys realize the Apple Watch is going to be a flop, right?” the publication goes on to outline why the new device will not be as popular as an Apple iPhone.
“This (the smartwatch) feels more like it was designed by committee.” the article said.
“Apple may have built out the watch to satisfy the urges of a designer who has become more obsessed with Bentleys and Rolexes than making attractive, functional technology that will actually make life better for the 99 percent,” wrote Mark Wilson, echoing sentiment heard ’round the Web.
Hell, even Apple doesn’t like the Apple Watch.
Last September after the company’s splashy unveiling event, a former Apple designer who asked not to be named told The New York Times he thought the Watch looked boring.
“It’s very hard to make big things small,” he told The Times. “This feels more like it was designed by committee.”
Peter Cohan, a financial analyst with Forbes, wrote an article last month noting that Wall Street has dramatically scaled back expectations for the Apple Watch. The solution, he claims, is innovation. And the company hasn’t been innovating, he states bluntly.
“Apple under Tim Cook has yet to prove that it can innovate.”
And that’s just the problem here. The Apple Watch isn’t a game changer: It looks like the competition and suffers the same flaws as the competition. Ultimately, is that enough to make it a success? Remember that Macworld essay, “Who cares if it’s a flop”?
“The Apple Watch will have to do a lot more than notifications, tell the time, and monitor our fitness if it is to change our lives and justify its [$349] price tag,” wrote Haslam.
The Wall Street Journal’s Daisuke Wakabayashi reporting on the issues that Apple was likely to face claimed that Apple executives were left “struggling to define the purpose of the smartwatch and wrestling with why a consumer would need or want such a device.”
CNNMoney’s David Goldman had a similar opinion, explaining that “nearly 70 percent of Apple’s revenue comes from the iPhone, iPad sales are slumping, and Apple needs a new product to reduce its reliance on one core product.”
“It won’t find that with the Apple Watch,” Goldman said.
The problem for all those jumping on the smartwatch bandwagon is that Smartwatches and the underlying technology are in their infancy. LG and Samsung are already on third generation smartwatches in under 12 months and at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona several brands showed a version of a smartwatch.
The only problem very few retailers were prepared to range the new models or take a risk on carrying inventory that may not sell.
Digital Trends wrote, while the Apple Watch may sell more units than any other smartwatch on the market (which frankly isn’t saying much), it will be hard pressed to transform and legitimatize the space as they company once did with the iPhone and iPad. Even the technology diehards are reluctant to rush out and pick one up.
In a defensive editorial on MacWorld UK, (titled “Why it doesn’t matter if Apple Watch is a flop – it will still change the world”) the site’s top editor Karen Haslam admitted she had no plans to buy one.
“Right now, I’m just not that sure I really need an Apple Watch. I just can’t see what it can do for me.”
One of the biggest challenges is doing something interesting, and as Wakabayashi reported, the more interesting health and fitness sensors simply aren’t good enough. Apple tested sensors to measure blood pressure, the amount of oxygen in the blood, and conductivity of skin, useful for heart-rate monitoring, people familiar with Apple’s plans told the Journal.
Even the diehard are reluctant to rush out and pick one up.
“But these features didn’t perform consistently on some people, including those with hairy arms or dry skin,” Wakabayashi wrote. I’ve heard the same sentiment echoed from many others in the wearable industry.
Battery life is the other huge challenge facing wearables, and far from solving the issue, Apple seems to be struggling with it – as is the rest of industry, of course. The company has said nothing about battery life to date, but predictions cite numbers as low as 3 hours of active use. Those figures come from Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac.com, and have been widely reported.
The well-respected John Gruber of Daring Fireball characterized the math to get to those numbers as “wilfully obtuse,” yet admitted that this area remains a tough nut. “Battery life may well be a serious problem for Apple Watch. It’s no surprise that it was and will remain one of the hardest engineering problems on the project,” he wrote.
Where does this leave Apple?
The Apple Watch we will soon have is “pedestrian,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Ouch.
Frankly, the innovative work in the world of technology is going on elsewhere, noted a recent editorial on Engadget.
“Its latest project, the Apple Watch, sure looks like a smartwatch, and it might be very successful, but is it doing anything totally unique? Is it really exciting? No,” wrote senior editor Aaron Souppouris in a column titled “When did Apple become the boring one?”