Sorry, the Apple Watch Is No Game Changer

By Jason Fell | Small Business

The iPod. The iPhone. The iPad.

These were game-changing gadgets from Apple.

The Apple Watch? Not so much.

The Apple Watch is the first new device from the tech giant since the iPad in 2010. So of course there is a lot of interest in this much-anticipated smartwatch. Some people have been waiting for this watch, looking for it to validate the larger smartwatch industry. 

But I wouldn't expect to see sales of the Apple Watch rival the other big products from Apple.

Related: The 'i' Goes Silent: Why Apple Didn't Name Its Smartwatch 'iWatch'

Before I get into why, Apple certainly got a lot of things right with the Apple Watch. It has all the bells and whistles most everyone was hoping for. Lots of health-tracking features. The color, touch-enabled display. You name it.

Fashion-wise, Apple nailed the concept of launching a line of devices. Smartwatches live at the confluence of tech and fashion. If people are going to want to wear your smartwatch, it better be as stylish as it is functional. And you'd better have options for different tastes. 

Apple did this, offering a selection of designs and sizes, including versions in 18-karat yellow and rose gold. (Even still, you look at that display and, for some people, it probably screams "tech nerd!")

But there are two main reasons I don't see the Apple Watch rising to the same league as Apple's other products. The first is simple: Apple is late to the smartwatch game. We have the Pebble, the Samsung Gear, the Moto 360, the Meta Watch, the LG G Watch. I'm not saying these watches are better than the Apple Watch. But with everything else that's already out there, I see the Apple Watch and think, meh, OK. There it is.

Related: With the Apple Watch, It's Time for Smartwatches to Get Serious

Yes, people will buy it. Apple fanboys and girls who have been waiting for "their" version of a smartwatch will shell out the $350 to pick one up. 

But even people who aren't Apple die-hards bought iPods and iPads because those products were revolutionary. Which leads to my second point: The Apple Watch isn't a standalone device. Nor should it be. In general, smartwatches compliment smartphones. Many people will say, I have a phone, so why do I need a watch to deliver notifications?

And because of that, it won't be easy communicating the value proposition to the masses. At least not like it was for the iPod. Or the iPhone. Or even the iPad.

Those products allow us to consume and engage with technology in smart ways that make sense to lots and lots of people. Smartwatches appeal to a more niche crowd.

With the launch of the iPhone 6 models, I assume Apple is betting its biggest revenue will come from people upgrading their puny iPhone 4s and 5s for the larger iPhone 6 displays. But again, Apple is late to the party. Phones have had larger displays for, well... you get what I'm saying.

Related: Go Big or Go Home: Apple Officially Unveils iPhone 6 With Larger Displays

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