The iWatch conundrum

If Apple makes it, would it sell? And if the market isn't there, would Apple bother?

By , Computerworld |  Hardware

"If Apple did release a watch, it would take quite a bit for me to be interested," Marks said. "It would have to have all day battery life; FitBit technology; GPS; Bluetooth support for headphones; ample storage for music; a logical and efficient way to respond to messages without using voice and without requiring me to pull out my phone; interchangeable bands; and must cost no more than $150. Any more than that and I'll spend my money more wisely on a real watch."

Disruptive products

When Apple enters a market -- or attempts to create a wholly new market -- it does so having solved a fundamental problem in a way that has eluded competitors. For instance, the original iPod was designed to quickly scroll through large lists of music using a slick, momentum-sensing click wheel. Competitors who followed missed the point completely: they imitated the click wheel look without actually implementing the navigational concept behind it. The copy-cat mentality based on a missed point ultimately led to the failure of competing products.

Another good example: the iTunes Music Store introduced a quick and effective way to purchase and transfer music to an iPod, not only providing a straightforward and legal way to acquire songs, but creating a chicken-and-egg situation for competitors who wanted to compete with Apple in music but lacked all of the components of an end-to-end ecosystem. iTunes and the iPod were great by themselves; they were even better when working together, which helped spur the success of Apple's initiatives in the music industry.

That said, would an iWatch that augments the iPhone with a proliferation of sensors and communicates via wireless protocols be enough to make a great, mass-market product?

Marks, like me, is dubious: "There's no point. What's so special about receiving message alerts and tweets on a watch if you're going to have to pull out your phone anyway in order to respond to them? Is just knowing that they're there really worth the expense of another screen?"

Bajarin had similar thoughts. "I'm just not sure what problem it really solves. Yes, it is convenient, and would be cool, but those are all things that appeal to the early adopters. I think its important to think through the level of disposable income the mass market has (it isn't much) and right now they are gobbling up iPhones and iPads."


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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