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The Apple Watch Appeal

The Apple Watch Appeal

June 15, 2015

Anthony Caruana, MacWorld Australia:

The research found that, from a survey of 5174 during the first four months of 2015 leading up to the release of the Apple Watch on 24 April, an estimated 520,000 Australians aged over 14 (2.7 percent) said they intended to buy a smartwatch in the next year.

Back in 2007, in a survey of just over 7000 people, Roy Morgan’s research on technology adoption found a similar proportion intended to buy an iPhone (620,000, or 3.6 percent) during the first four months after the iPhone 3G was released in Australia. Within a year of that research, Apple’s sales closely matched the intentions revealed in the research.

The similarities between the Apple Watch launch and all the other modern Apple category introductions are almost eerily breathtaking. However, if there is one product launch that I think it most closely represents, it’s the iPod, not the iPhone.

While the iPod and iPhone both garnered polarizing reactions at launch, the iPhone had the unique characteristic of being one of the very few revolutionary products — as an individual product itself — in the long history of consumer technology. It really was leaps ahead of anything, and people were in awe of it when it was announced and unveiled in 2007. The main snag back then was that its price point gave a way for naysayers to mock it. $650 on contract made it an extremely expensive and elite proposition. Fast forward to today, and we know just how earth-shatteringly successful the iPhone truly is. It is the single most prevalent, sought-after, and successful consumer product in history.

The iPod, on the other hand, was looked down on by most during its inception. While it was the first device to allow you to carry a thousand songs in your pocket, it had a startling price tag as well, and apart from portably playing the amount of songs it stored, it actually had fewer features than other MP3 players on the market. It took Apple a few years to make something that was truly for everyone, with a design for everyone, and a price tag for everyone. Before the nanos and Shuffles of the world came to be, the iPod was a device dedicated solely to people who really loved music (or the people who really loved Apple).

The Apple Watch has had a polarizing reaction, too. Many don’t feel they need one, which is true. They didn’t need an iPod either, but once they got one, they couldn’t put it down. That’s because the iPod, once given a chance with a skeptical user, but with specs and a price point that made sense for them to try it, instantly became a device that enhanced their life without really changing it. This is the Apple Watch. For now, it’s just a device for people that really love watches or smartwatches, or people who are bona fide Apple enthusiasts invested deeply in the company’s rich ecosystem. Anyone else won’t want to, and probably shouldn’t, buy an Apple Watch. At least not yet.

The Apple Watch is not for everybody, but five years down the road, nobody will be able to put them down.