The noise has abated and the dust has settled. Everything you want to know about Apple’s iPhone 6 lines is available online, and, as usual, the world is dividing itself in half over Apple Watch. Some love it. Some hate it.
The haters are the typical crowd who also hated the iPod, iPhone, and iPad (think Henry Blodget and John Dvorak, among others with very poor track records at prognosticating Apple’s failures and successes). You can be sure that if Blodget and Dvorak don’t like it, the Watch will sell in big numbers.
The lovers are also a typical crowd who simply appreciate well designed products that work well together, look great, and provide additional and more convenient functionality. But make no mistake about it. Apple Watch is just like every Apple market disrupting product since Steve Jobs’ second coming. It’s a polarizing device that won’t sell in the same numbers as competitors, but Apple will reap most of the product segment profits.
First, the iPhone 6 line.
There are some surprises, but not many. Bigger, faster, lighter, better performance everywhere, and the camera options are to die for. On the negative side, what’s with the protruding camera? Where’s the highly anticipated sapphire screen? What’s with those line tattoos on the back? Where’s the 32GB model? Where’s the iPhone 6c (last year’s iPhone 5s)?
Second, the Apple Watch.
This is a luxury item and Apple has the design and infrastructure to support it. Multiple watch models, multiple designs for each model (love the black and gold), multiple watchband designs (easily removed, so look for a huge third party watchband market), and probably an infinite number of screen layouts (especially as third party developers get in the act). Yes, it’s a beautiful, highly customizable design, a visually desirable watch, but there are some negatives.
It’s too thick. It’s rectangular only. What’s the battery life? Watches that start at $349 are expected to last for 10 to 20 years. Does anyone believe they’ll still be wearing the same Apple Watch in five years? Planned obsolescence rules, folks.
There is little doubt that iPhone 6 will become Apple’s best selling iPhone ever. There’s plenty of pent-up demand, and usability with iOS 8 takes the phone to another level of seamless integration and usefulness.
What about Apple Watch?
Beautiful and well designed, yes, but does anyone really, truly, deeply need a luxury smartwatch with limited functionality? The difference between iPhone and Watch is that we need a phone, and all the capabilities that come with it are icing on the cake. We don’t need a watch. It’s a combination of utility and luxury and Apple Watch seems to be lean on the side of luxury, with more utility than a standard watch, but less luxury than a luxury watch.
Alright, that said, it was easy to spot plenty of usage in Apple’s online Watch videos. When you are driving, walking, or on public transportation (or even sitting down at home or restaurant), a watch is an easier device to use than an iPhone which is stuck in a pocket or purse. Think Maps and directions, Messages, Mail, Notifications, sports scores, and everything else we check on our iPhones daily– but don’t have to dig into back pocket or purse to use. That convenience is worth something.
The typical Apple haters will hate Apple’s latest iAnything even if it was blessed by Jesus himself. The typical Apple fan folks will line up to try and buy, too, but will the great unwashed masses bother? Not all, but some will. We just need to remember that Apple Watch will not succeed in the same numbers as the iPhone already has.
But now we know what next year’s Samsung Gear and other smartphones will look like.