The Why of the  Watch

There is a clear pattern to [the  Watch demoes]:

The bad demos are all activities that are better done on your phone. They are also the activities that make the Watch seem the most like a real computer.

The good demos are all activities that extend your phone in a way that simply wasn’t possible before. They are also activities that make the Watch seem less capable as a self-contained unit.

-Ben Thompson, Apple Watch: Asking Why and Saying No”, stratechery

Ben Thompson has one of the best explanations for why I was moderately uncomfortable during the demoes of the  Watch on Tuesday. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I felt the way I did, especially because, like Ben, I really liked the look of the device itself.

Apple really does have a hit on its hands, but that does not negate the fact that they created a device that looks similar to what was already available on the market. Before anyone crucifies me, I did use the word similar” and not the same”. The  Watch is in a category all its own, especially where fashion is concerned, but as Ben puts it, there are reasons to use a phone, a tablet, a computer, a watch. Why build in functionality that just adds complexity, instead of focusing on those things that the device can do that simply wasn’t possible before”?

It seems to me that Apple spent too much time on stage discussing everything that the  Watch could do and not enough discussing what it should do. Hence, the above-quoted text and hence, the question marks that still exist about the reason for the mere existence of the device. I think it will become more clear with time, but my only hope is that the user can customize the overall functionality (what apps are installed, what apps appear on the home screen) as much as the user will be able to customize the watch face.

Posted: September 11, 2014

In 2022, I am participating in two leadership training programs. This should be a social experience, so I am writing about it. Check out the full list of posts in the series here.

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