Will the Apple Watch Succeed?

- - Adam Kidan
Adam Kidan Apple Watch

Some of the designs for the Apple Watch.

Smartwatches are hardly a new idea.  They’ve been around (in various forms) since the mid-1980s, and several companies, including Microsoft’s SPOT watch, made a significant push into the smartwatch market some 10 years ago.  But so far, none of these devices have stuck.  Recently, Apple released their Apple Watch, which is discrete, functional and even looks good.  But can Apple change customer behavior and make this smartwatch sell?

Whenever they’re making a purchase decision, consumers tend to consider tradeoffs between what they’re giving and what they’re getting.  Quite simply, if the “get” is greater than the “give”, then they’ll choose to take that service.  So far, no smartwatch on the market has found the proper balance between get and give, but the Apple Watch just might tip the scales.

Apple has long been known for its accessibility and signature minimalist, slick aesthetics.  Its products are simple, but also beautiful to a lot of people.  While aesthetics are important when you’re buying the right office computer, they’re even more important when you’re buying something that you visibly wear or carry around on your body, such as a watch.  This is probably why earlier smartwatches have failed; they might do a lot of cool stuff, but they look super ugly.  It’s never easy to create a “one-style-fits-all” solution that addresses a variety of fashion needs.  However, through making different watches to suit various tastes (such as sporty, classic or modern), Apple neutralized this problem.

Since the release of the iPod, Apple has developed a strong reputation of redefining technology categories, and then proceeding to dominate those markets.  For example, MP3 players had existed long before the iPod, and critics at first thought that Apple was crazy to introduce an MP3 player that was larger and much more expensive than other products on the market.  But Apple was successful because it addressed the real needs of customers, since customers were now able to access their full music collection everywhere they went, while also allowing them to easily access new music to add to their collection.  And now, Apple’s watch allows its wearer to carry connectivity with them at all times.  You’ll be able to take off your Apple Watch wherever you want, but the technology represents a further step towards becoming seamlessly connected to the world.

Watches have been around for a while now, so it’s clear that consumers are already comfortable putting an accessory on their wrists.  With the Apple Watch’s promise of a digital crown to respond to movement, sensors to monitor fitness activity, a connection to Apple’s new payment system and six customizable options, the device is offering users quite a bit.  Fashionable electronics, such as the Apple Watch, the goal is to combine design with the ideal user experience and seamlessly fit into peoples’ lives.  This is traditionally where Apple has excelled, but such a concept can be applied to just about any new smart device being developed.