A rebuttal to Nilay's iPod nano/smart watch article
First, a disclaimer: Nilay is of course entirely entitled to his opinion and I thought his article was well-written and thought out. However, I disagree with it.
I believe a smart watch by Apple would not start a 'revolution'. In fact, I think it would be a complete flop, probably Apple's biggest in the last 15 years. Why: Because no one would use it. Yes, I understand the allure of a smart watch. I get that it's cool and fun and semi-useful. But not nearly enough for people to buy it. Techies would buy it to be cool and ironic and maybe even to get a little use out of it, but outside of that, who would buy it? Does anyone think business men and women would trade in their Rolexes for smart watches? I doubt it. What about teens and college students? I doubt they'd be willing to shell out 100 or 150 bucks they could otherwise use for weed and beer for another way to check text messages that they'd instantly respond to on their phones anyways. Soccer Moms? Nope. Old People? Nope. What would the target market be? I don't see one.
Another issue I see with the Apple smart watch Nilay so desperately wants is its usefulness, or apparent lack thereof. What need would it fulfill? When Apple announced the iPad in 2010, it said it filled the third space between phone and laptop, a gap that has proven open in the lives of many people but was seen as nonexistent by many at the time. Is there really a fourth gap a smart watch could fill? Would being able to look at texts and emails on a device you couldn't reply to them on be of any use to anyone? Is bringing your phone out of your pocket/purse really such a hassle? I wasn't aware that it was. Besides, a watch would just be yet another thing people would have to charge every single day. I see no use for such a thing, and Apple hasn't historically been a company to have products just for the sake of it.
The third and probably biggest issue I have with the idea of an Apple smart watch is that it's just so un-Apple. Apple has always been about simplifying your life and making things easier and less complicated, but a smart watch would complicate the equation far more than it would simplify it. A category of smart watch isn't seen as necessary by anyone, so why would Apple make it? I don't think many people would hail it as revolutionary or exciting or innovative, honestly I think it would seem more like a money grab than anything else. Making stuff just for the hell of it seems to be the gig of companies like Sony, or more recently Samsung, and it hasn't exactly worked out for them: anyone remember the S Pebble? A spread-thin product line is an inefficient one, and that's something Tim Cook knows above all people. An extra, not-so-simple Apple product would only exacerbate suggestions that they've lost their creative flair, and it would seem like a desperate grasp at straws by a company flagging in innovation, not a revolutionary new idea that changes the world.. again.