Iused to work at Apple and as anyone who knows me will attest, I am a fanboy. I’m typing this on a MacBook Air while I listen to music that is streaming from my iMac in the other room, to my speakers in this room that are plugged into an Apple Airport Express. This was after I spent the night watching a TV show I streamed from Stan on my iPad to my Apple TV.
My other beloved Apple device is my iPhone 6 Plus which woke up my girlfriend at 4am on 10 March. She loves me (I’m referring to my girlfriend, not my iPhone), which is awesome, but she doesn’t completely understand why I set an alarm for stupid o’clock on a Tuesday morning to watch the live stream of an Apple product release in San Francisco.
Fear not, you aren’t reading the words of one of those sorts who camp out on George St when a new iPad comes out. Those people are weird. Me, I’m totally normal. Kind of.
Which brings me to the subject of the iWatch (officially known as the Apple Watch). Everyone in internet land has been putting in their two cents but since I’m in print, my opinion is worth five cents. Will normal human beings strap a glorified notification panel to their wrist? I am under no illusions that plenty of people will, but I, for one, right here, right now, would like to proclaim I will not be among them.
A lot of people who criticise Apple do so without an understanding of the company and the people that it is comprised of. They have different belief systems to those from the Samsungs and Microsofts of the world.
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
That’s basically the mantra organisation works by. The worldwide head of product marketing once told me, “we prefer to do only a few things really well, than many things kind of well.” It’s a good system to operate by so I employ in my current business.
In contrast, just for example, Samsung in its Galaxy smartphone last year put in the ability for the front facing camera to track your eyeballs so it would automatically scroll the page you were reading. It was an unusual feature, which didn’t work well at all, which also happened to be a little creepy. The non-Apple tech companies have a terrible habit of letting the technology tail wag the dog: releasing features for the sake of having more features without any concern as to whether they add any value to the lives of their customers.
Innovation is something new that adds value. So I was intrigued by Apple’s decision to enter the wearables market. Can we call the iWatch an innovation?
Personally, I can’t see myself tracking my activity with an iWatch. I guess though, that’s because I’d need to be active first. OK. Let’s try another one…
I can’t see myself sending Jules (above-mentioned girlfriend) my heartbeat via an iWatch. I can’t see myself reviewing photos on a miniature screen that’s strapped to my wrist. I can’t see myself making phone calls Dick Tracy style (cool, but hardly practical). I can’t see myself responding to messages and replying to emails on it. I can’t see myself sending doodles to my friends on it and I can’t see myself charging it every few hours.
Are these features that will add value to people’s lives? Obviously someone in Cupertino thinks they are, but to me the iWatch feels like a ‘me-too’ effort by Apple – a product that no one really needs to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
Now, when the iPad came out, many doubted its commercial appeal, but quite frankly I found it hard to believe there were people lacking enough imagination to see that iPads would turn out to be useful, if not just occasionally handy. But the iWatch? I’m not sold. To me it looks like something Tim Cook would remove from his wrist the moment he’s back in his office away from the camera lenses of the world’s media.
Saying all of that, Apple has a habit of making me want to open my wallet and people have a habit of wanting to prove me wrong. They don’t always get their chance, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this time around they just might.