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January 20, 2016



Why is this Apple's revenge? The smart watch was not introduced by Apple. In fact Apple was quite late compared to Samsung and Motorola. So why is this Apple's revenge?
The key is the battery. If someone can come up with a battery that is small cheap and very powerful, then the smart watches will gain traction.
Also the smart watches need to be cheaper in order for people to buy them since all their features are already present in all smart phones. And because the smart phone will always come first (due to larger screen size), then the watch will always be the redundant device and not the smart phone. So because the smart watches are redundant, they need to be a lot cheaper.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi cornelius

Come on. Nobody, NOBODY thought smart watches were anything worth pursuing until rumors of the iWatch emerged. Then when the 'smart people' noticed Apple must soon be doing its iWatch, thats when all the fools rushed into it. If Apple had never bothered with this, we'd never had any smart watch hysteria. The mobile phone watch idea is more than a decade older than Apple Watch, and had ZERO hysteria until the iWatch rumors began. All the fault of iHysteria. All of it. Sorry... :-)

(and yes, I might be smiling just a bit)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Oh, sorry cornelius, yes..

You did have a good point too. So yes, the battery? So you think the concept of smart watch is good, but the technical implementation is limiting it. I hear you. This is the exact same argument made in our industry (mobile) often for example with location-based services, arguing the idea is not bad, its just that the precision was not good enough. And then one generation after the next they add to the precision, and always promise the next version will finally crack it - and it never does. The IDEA is bad.

So same with smart watch. No, its not the battery. That is only a small PART of the problem. The real issue is the smartphone. Every smart watch owner also has a smartphone. The smartphone can do everything the watch can do, and most of it better - far bigger screen, the camera, inputs etc and there is NOTHING the watch can do, that the smartphone cannot also do. Hence, its a forever-losing proposition to the smartwatch. As a mass market product. Like I said, some will buy the iToys to their wrists and even find some utility out of them. Thats not a sustainable market to continue the enormous costs of a competitive and evolving modern digital computing gadget like a tablet, smartphone or laptop. It will die out as utterly silly useless, except for the few Fitbit type of specialist devices.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tyrian Dunaédine

@Tomi Ahonen

Do you consider the Pebble as a smartwatch?

Nils Strauss

moin moin,

its not dead, its too early.
and not well thought through.

At some point you will have "smart" glasses that go full augmented something.

Either standalone or streamed from smartphones. why not have a watch as a gimic too? with future display tech. a complete transparent armlet display. with good design.

colors and utility to what ever you like.
it is wearable fashion. and can have a clock on it if you need one. for 1 second.


Dipankar Mitra

Hey Tomi, I think Polar makes way better fitness trackers than Fitbit. Do change it to "buy a Polar" in a few paragraphs ;-)


What about this:

"and the sad future of the Kindle as a stand-alone ebook reader gadget"

Do you actually believe that everybody likes to read their books on an eye-straining smartphone display or rather that better displays would make such devices obsolete.

As a heavy eBook reader I certainly couldn't do so without a device that's tolerable for hours to look at. A smartphone display is not.

Granted, this will remain a niche market but even niches need to be served and these readers are pretty mature and I do not expect any revolutionary future developments that can drive costs up.

The sustainability of smartwatches is another matter. They also will remain a niche market but they are far from mature and need lots of investment for very little return.

Still, Kudos to Apple for truly capitalizing on the iSheep mentality here. It was a relatively safe bet to release this thing considering how many people without a will of their own would just reflexively buy this thing, just because it's made by Apple.

As a software development platform it's a waste of time though. The prospects are even worse than for Windows Phone and those are already dismal.


Um, I actually know quite a few people with Apple Watches, including a few who I'd never have expected. Also, undoubtedly some people who weren't expecting them got them as gifts this past Christmas and will try them and like them. Some of my other colleagues (avid runners, etc.) are holding out for more fitness features and a GPS, which I'm sure future versions will have. It doesn't need to do everything a FitBit does, just enough things so that it is a "single" wearable.

Just because you don't like something, or it doesn't immediately rocket to the top doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile. My guess is that it will easily replace the revenue from the decline in iPod sales (now that virtually no one uses separate music players).


If the Apple Watch were such a flop, why would Apple be expanding sales of an $1100-$1500 version tomorrow (6 months after the variant was launched and 9 months into the Apple Watch launch)?

My guess is that Apple Watch sales are doing just fine. If Apple eventually sells 15-20 million per year (remember, Watch 2 will be aimed at those who don't already have an Apple Watch), that could be a nice market. That's only about 6-8% of the total iPhone market, so is very doable. They could even make a play to expand the market by leaving the old model around for $299 or even $249, which would still be more expensive than the competition but cheap enough for impulse buys and holiday gifts.

Per "wertigon" Ekström


iPhone drives watch sales, not the other way around. And yes, since it's Apple it will take a while before the hype dies off. But it will die off, that's almost 100% certain.

Meanwhile it's a nice side profit for Apple.


@Wayne Brady:

"Which will sell more units this year? Nokia smartphones or Apple Watches?"

Does it matter?
As a product the Apple Watch may be somewhat profitable.

As a product CATEGORY, smartwatches are a tiny niche and the risk of R&D costs being higher than the actual profits is high. The only reason why Apple was able to seel some where other don't is solely attributable to the iSheep factor. You need such deluded people to sell a product nobody needs. The only people I know who bought such a thing were some posers who solely bought it to show off their 'status' to like-minded morons.

Any regular person I talked with about smartwatches consider the whole idea ridiculous.


Three comments.

a) No matter what direction smartwatches take (specialized devices or general-purpose terminals, standalone or dependent upon a phone, etc) the battery is major part, not a minor part (here I disagree with Tomi), but not the decisive part either (here I disagree with Cornelius).

Mathematically, the battery is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition.

Let me point out that as a watch, whatever is presented now is a regression. Traditional watches had to be manually rewound every couple of days, or perhaps every day, but it took only a minute. The Apple Watch does not even last a day, and takes hours to recharge. This cannot fly.

b) Apple has been often criticized for its slant towards skeuomorphism. I wonder whether it is a (guilty) victim of it -- designing that device as a wristwatch, to compete with traditional luxury watches, manipulated with the small side buttons like watches, etc -- but which is almost useless in standalone mode (requires an iPhone for anything "interesting"), and whose battery does not last years, unlike modern watches.

Perhaps if Apple had really ignored the wristwatch form factor and done something truly innovative, its device might be more relevant.

c) Is it really appropriate to qualify people of iSheep and iDorks?


BTW the FBI was able to recover Hillary's deleted emails. She is a clueless Luddite, of course. Naturally Obama's DOJ will find some technicality to let it slide (unlike with General Petraeus, who they are STILL going after), but perhaps she was telling the truth when she said she wiped it with a cloth.


@Wayne Brady:

The entire smartwatch story and this idiotic Apple focus of the industry had done more harm than good over the years. It's purely idiotic that everybody seems to believe in iMagic or whatever you will call it.

I guess with the smartwatches it went like 'let's try if it works'. Well, it didn't.
Only Apple, pandering to the idiotic customers, who have forgotten to think on their own, has some tiny success here. Well, even that idiotic faction cannot be milked indefinitely.

"It is likely that Apole made more money in the first 9 months of the Apple Watch than Xiaomi has ever made total."

If you talk gross revenue, maybe that's true. But now factor in the R&D costs in both hardware and software (Apple needed to design a new product, new software and whatnot, the R&D costs for a stock Android phone should be close to zero these days) and things may look different. That's how these Chinese manufacturers can sell so cheap. They got a product whose specs are well known, whose parts are mass produced and only need to be assembled and whose software is to the largest degree developed by someone else free of cost.
Apple has none of these advantages because they are in the 'premium' segment where stagnation is equalled with moving backwards. That foes even more for a new niche product like the Apple Watch.

But we'll see how this continues. It should be clear that the customer base that truly would settle for a two year replacement cycle here is tiny. In the end this watch business will remain a footnote in history. The problem with this footnote is that so far it's Tim Cook's only genuine product launch - and if it gets remembered for that, it'd be bad.


The world is changing and so does the wearables. It is not important whether we like it or not. With due respect to all the posts made above, I personally feel that we should look it as a technology that can upgrade our life. The sensational telegraph machines, land line phones are outdated now and we can not imagine our life with the old equipements.

There are ample varieties available in smart watches including quality and prices. Our concern should be to get the best smart watch at the right price.


It would be wise to spend a week using a device before doing this kind of analysis for it, not just read reviews over the internet.

Per "wertigon" Ekström


Of course the hype will die down. It always does. :)

The hype over IBM died down a loooooong time ago. Doesn't mean IBM is dead now does it?


We have jobs for our desktop.
We have a jobs for my iPhones.
I don't have a Apple Watch but my wife does and she replaced her Fitbit with it and she loves it for the Small Jobs it does. She no longer searches for her iPhone in her purse or desk or couch. She gets notified
We could all that the iPhone and watch do on the desktop, so..... why not just... never mind.


AND, it does all the jobs the Fitbit did for her and more and easier and it has crap battery life. Life's a compromise. So are devices.


(I meant to post the Hillary comment in the Cruz thread).

Anyway, Apple Watch supposedly had a big holiday quarter, and the next Watch isn't due out until Fall. So this sounds like it will be marketed as a gift. Meanwhile, the Hermes is now generally available (at least online). If Apple sells 20 million of these a year I think they'd be thrilled. The development costs here on out are probably not that much. The SoC will likely always be a few generations behind the iPhone (no need for all the power), and once Apple switches the iPhone to OLED they'll gain supply chain efficiency on the Watch display, as well.

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