In case you missed them amidst the deluge of Apple Watch overviews, there have been some very good articles this week about how Apple’s new wearable fits into our lives.
First, Ben Thompson compared the Apple Watch announcement to those of the iPod, iPhone and iPad:
Now it’s very fair to note that the biggest difference between the introduction of the iPod, iPhone and iPad as compared to the Apple Watch is that Steve Jobs is no longer with us. Perhaps the long introduction was simply his personal style. But the problem is that the Smart Watch needs that explanation: what exactly is the point?
It’s a fair question, and one that Apple didn’t really address. There’s no “1,000 songs in your pocket” for the Apple Watch. I remember when Steve Jobs gushed over the wonderful web-browsing experience on the iPad. It wasn’t hard to sell the device as a laptop replacement for casual computer users. But what about the Apple Watch? Who is the audience, and why should it appeal to them?
Federico Viticci also mused about Apple’s slightly different approach:
It’s easy to explain and demo technology – not so much with taste and lifestyle. Desire – the key driver of fashionable goods and affordable luxury – is tough to sell through webpages. Have you noticed how the Apple Watch website lacks full tech specs? Have you seen the photography that Apple is using instead?
He later concluded:
With the Watch, Apple will need to find a balance between self expression and utility, desire and purpose.
I think Federico really hit the nail on the head. Who is the Apple Watch for? It’s for people interested in fashionable goods and affordable luxury. It’s for people who pick out stickers for their Macbooks. It’s for people who buy Beats headphones. (Although, while people don’t necessarily buy Beats for the sound quality, I think they will buy an Apple Watch for its user experience.)
Those aren’t the only people it’s for, though. Let’s imagine for a moment that Apple made a “What will your verse be?” ad about the watch. What would we see? Undoubtedly, we’d see people in all kinds of professions doing really cool, useful stuff with it. Musicians, photographers, doctors, athletes…all sorts of people are going to use this thing in ways that Apple never even dreamed of. And Apple knows that.
So really, I don’t think Tim Cook needed to tell us what the point of the Apple Watch is. It doesn’t matter. We’re going to figure out what the point is, and we’re going to tell Apple…and hopefully, Apple is going to use that information to make it even better.