Is Apple wasting its time with the iWatch?

Based on what we've seen so far from other prominent manufacturers, a smartwatch may not be worth the company's time.

By Minyanville.com Oct 9, 2013 1:45PM
Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Phil Schiller speaks about the new iPhone 5C on September 10, 2013 in Cupertino, Calif. (© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)There's no doubt tech companies believe wearable devices are a big part of the future of personal computing.

Just ask Google (GOOG), who's spent untold research and development dollars on Glass, or Intel (INTC) with its big investment in rival Recon Instruments, the Canadian outfit that brought the world's first Heads-Up Display to market.
 
Motorola just patented a gaze-tracking and mood-detecting armband, and Nikon (NINOY) is rumored to be mulling a head-mounted camera.
 
Then, of course, there’s the smartwatch. The clever gizmo that plainclothes detective Dick Tracy first showed off in the newspaper comics section nearly 70 years ago has now become a reality. Aside from Kickstarter success story Pebble, Sony's (SNE) SmartWatch also made its debut (with a second-generation version coming down the pike), and Samsung's (SSNLF) Galaxy Gear watch is currently in critics' hands.
 
But all along, it’s been Apple's (AAPL) wrist-worn offering for which everyone is waiting with bated breath -- or at least, since the company filed a patent for a touchscreen wristband. Unfortunately, based on what we’ve seen thus far from other prominent manufacturers -- coupled with tepid sales projections -- we’re left wondering if the iWatch is even worth Apple’s time.
 
As previously mentioned, the reviews for the Galaxy Gear watch are in. And they’re not good.
 
This $300 companion piece for the newly announced Galaxy Note 3 and Note 10.1 tablet -- available on Sprint (S) and AT&T (T) networks -- is getting ripped for being all style, little substance. "The next big thing is not here,” said ABC News. Wired gave it a four out of 10.
 
Perhaps the harshest comments about the Galaxy Gear watch came from The New York Times, which called it “a human-interface train wreck. All of it. The software design, user guide, English translations, and design consistency...Nobody will buy this watch, and nobody should."
 
It’s not a giant leap to predict that Gear’s critical reception may not bode well for Apple. Unless Cupertino has something dramatically different up its sleeve with respect to functionality and features, the iWatch is likely to get skewered just the same.
 
One particular sticking point from reviewers about Samsung’s wearable product came from its limited compatibility with only Samsung-branded devices, and, given Apple’s proprietary nature, the iWatch is going to be very iOS-specific.
 
But the nail in the coffin (or, in this case, crib) for the iWatch could be recent data gathered about its consumer demand. A team of researchers, led by senior analyst Gene Munster at investment firm Piper Jaffray, polled 799 U.S. customers about their likelihood of buying an iWatch with a $350 price tag.
 
About 12 percent of respondents showed interest. However, assuming most of them wouldn’t actually follow through with a purchase when it became available, Munster arrived with a more conservative estimate that put iWatches on the wrists of a mere 2-4% of consumers worldwide. As a revenue booster, Apple would be looking at just a 1% increase in its bottom line.

After more than a few ho-hum entries in its recent product lines, the iWatch simply doesn’t seem to be the game changer Apple needs in development right now.  

More from Minyanville

15Comments
Oct 9, 2013 7:27PM
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If I was Apple I would be more concerned about updating my phone from the annually recycled from 2007 device that it actually is. Each version of the iphone adds nothing significant, just puts more cash offshore.

 

Go away Apple, far away.

Oct 9, 2013 7:23PM
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I have heard a $350 figure in regard to the iWatch. Someone is smoking dope!! What on earth will a cheesy techno-watch from Apple do for me for my $350??

 

While we all recall the Dick Tracy watch from the 1950's, that ship has long ago sailed. Today you can buy an excellent watch that synchs to the atomic clock daily, charges from exposure to light and does about anything else a watch can do, all for about $75.

 

Are there enough Apple worshipper out there to support this watch idea? If so, there are some really gullible people in the world.

Oct 9, 2013 7:20PM
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Smart watches are a waste of time.  All these smart devices coming out every couple of weeks is getting old, i dont understand how the market isnt satchering with moderate upgrades not even yearly.
Oct 9, 2013 2:37PM
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It would have to do something the phone can't. Since it will be on your wrist I'm thinking something medical.
Oct 9, 2013 7:36PM
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Apple has had a Smart Watch for years, the Small Touch Screen Nano can be bought with a watchband,

I prefer to waer my Tiffany Watch more, looks very nice and simple and I keep my phone put alway

Oct 9, 2013 4:11PM
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It's enough new toys already Apple doesn't to throw more pollution into the oceans when people are done with one and want another!

 

Yes the oceans are where the plastic on most tech toys eventually end up.

 

They should revel in their success but enough is enough!

Oct 16, 2013 6:16PM
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Why would I spend $400 on a watch that does less than my phone can do?
Oct 16, 2013 7:15PM
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I played with the Samsung watch at Best Buy, at no time with it in my hands did I see any reason to purchase the device. It might just be me. If apple makes an "iWatch" what could they possibly do differently?
Oct 9, 2013 4:36PM
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Maybe so.

 

I hate to be an early adopter. So I'm waiting for the second version.

 

iLuv2Watch...

Oct 9, 2013 7:20PM
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If Apple had rolled out an Apple version of the "google" gl****duct, they would have been panned (Nah, Crucified is more descriptive) for it.  Lets face it, whatever Apple does, the media will emphatically say it sucks ........ all the way back to the Ipod (probably further back than that.  The media now loves the Jobs' story though, and the best ending for them to solidify Jobs' genius is for this Company to fail without him.  They are cheerleading their Jobs story, not reporting anything .  As we all know, the media reports the news, chooses what and how to report, spins the news, and uses their position as purveyor of the news to push their agenda.  Push this piece of reporting through your Playdough fun factory and what comes out the other end .... more media crap!

IMHO - Buy opportunity for Apple
Oct 9, 2013 11:04PM
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Samsung made it first crapple is thinking about copying it. So crapple is stealing ideas not Samsung.
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