A few months ago I wrote a report about the wearables market. At the time I was sceptical about the future of the smart watch. That was before the Apple Watch announcement. I didn’t think I’d find it very interesting. Now I’ve seen it, I’ve changed my mind – I think they’ve redefined the market by turning the concept of the smart watch on its head.
The prospect of Apple owning the wrist galvanised many other manufacturers into pre-empting them, of which the most notable contenders were Pebble, Motorola, Asus and Samsung. All want to seize the wrist, in what might be described as a case of carpus diem. Many in the industry want to believe in these products, predicting massive sales volumes and revenue. Few have bothered to ask customers what they want. Two who did were Kantor and Apple Insider. Kantor’s panel suggested up to 60% of iPhone owners would buy one, Apple Insider found “as many as 4%” of iPhone users would be early adopters, translating that finding into an estimate of sales between 5 and 10 million units in the first twelve months”. So what’s the truth?
When the Apple Watch announcement came, it only generated a muted whimper of excitement. It wasn’t what most commentators had expected. That was hardly surprising given the level of hysteria which had been whipped up prior to its unveiling. Whilst a lot of subsequent reviews have complained about its lack of functionality I found that I warmed to it, or at least its potential. It’s not just clever packaging of technology, which is what exemplifies the Asus, Motorola and Samsung watches – it’s a redefinition of the purpose of the wrist. I think it may be more of a game-changer than has been reported, but not necessarily in a positive way for the rest of the smart watch industry.