Apple iWatch? A really bad idea

Peter Nowak on the latest rumour about Apple


The latest silly Apple rumour has the company interested in selling a watch. Or, an iWatch, as it would probably go.

According to the New York Times, “investors would most likely embrace an iWatch, with some already saying that wearable computing could replace the smartphone over the next decade.”

It seems the Times, and perhaps the investors it references, have forgotten one simple fact: it’s a freakin’ watch.

Seriously, does anyone under 50 wear a watch anymore? And of those few souls who do, are any of them doing it for any other reason but to make a fashion statement (that statement, by the way, is “I’m a dinosaur.”)? Surely nobody wears a watch to actually tell time.

Analysts’ justifications for Apple – or anyone – to make a smart watch are collectively some of the dumbest ideas ever put forward:

  • “The technology, including bendable glass, is ready for prime time.” Sure it is. You could also build a base on Mars, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
  • “Such a watch could be used for phone calls, text messages, navigation and other smartphone-like functions.” Yup, but people won’t do that for the same reasons they avoid taking photos with their tablets (because it makes you look like a giant dork).
  • “Wearable computers will be popular in the future.” Most likely, but just because 1950s science-fiction said it’ll happen on the wrist doesn’t mean that’s where they’ll end up.
  • “Smart watches could be cheaper than a phone and therefore Apple’s best way into emerging markets.” Yeah, but so could… I dunno… a cheaper phone.

Honestly, where do they come up with this stuff?

Everyone seems to be forgetting one simple fact: Does anyone want to do any of that stuff on a postage-stamp-sized screen that sits on their wrist? And does anyone remember that actually wearing a watch isn’t all that comfortable? And while we’re at it, mightn’t we also remember that all of these functions are already performed quite ably by our smartphones, which have acres of screen size in comparison? And aren’t people already complaining about all the gadgets they have to carry?

Unless there’s a giant Dick Tracey revival some time in the next few years, I’m betting that any smart watch will result in one thing: iFailure.

Filed under:

Apple iWatch? A really bad idea

  1. Anyone who thinks fumbling in their purse or going into their pocket to get the time is better than a watch is foolish. Watches may have only one function, but they are well placed to perform it.

    • So you think Apple’s watch is designed to have the sole function of telling the time?

      • Not at all. But I dispute the author’s notion that they have no use beyond fashion, simply because they are better for telling time than a handheld device.

  2. Isn’t ‘bendable glass’ aka plastic?

    If you take the attitude we all have to die sometime, Jobs died at opportune time and his legendary role in early development of computer and internet products will be remembered for long time. People expect Apple to release game changing products every 18 months or so now and Apple fans are getting anxious for new products.
    wiki – In economics, a Veblen good is a member of a group of commodities for which people’s preference for buying them increases as their price increases (as greater price confers greater status) instead of decreasing according to the law of demand …. Some types of luxury goods, such as high-end wines, designer handbags, and luxury cars, are Veblen goods, in that decreasing their prices decreases people’s preference for buying them because they are no longer perceived as exclusive or high-status products. Similarly, a price increase may increase that high status and perception of exclusivity, thereby making the good even more preferable. Often such goods are no better or are even worse than their lower priced counterparts. However, this ‘anomaly’ is mitigated when one understands that the demand curve does not necessarily have only one peak.

    • “Isn’t ‘bendable glass’ aka plastic?”


  3. It’s a wonder companies like Fossil haven’t gone completely under, according to this writer. Funny, though, that while I briefly worked for Fossil retail, most people buying watches, in various newly trendy styles, were in their younger 20’s. Yes, they are the epitome of “dinosaur.”

  4. Maybe Peter doesn’t spend much time around people. Nearly everyone I work with and run into on a daily basis wears a watch. Any excuse for an anti-business rant from Nowak I guess.

    • Totally agree!!

  5. Peter’s correct. Pure bling. After ~40 can’t read digital, after 50 can barely make out analog. Non-intuitive alarm settings. Nobody really wants to know the time anyway – just need to know if you’re going to be late.

    • How can you not read digital??? lol wow

  6. This writer is insane. A lot of people wear watches. I wear a watch. A Tissot divers watch. I’ve always loved watches and I’m not “old”.

    An Apple watch could be very cool.

    I would love to see a BlackBerry watch. Or perhaps BlackBerry could make BB10 interact with Tissot watches. I would love that.

  7. The WristComputerPhone is going to be paired ultimately with glasses, which is where the “computer” screen is going to be projected.

    Why do eyeglasses and sunglasses cost so much? Because Luxoticca has a near monopoly and massive margins?

    The eyeglass and sunglass market is ripe for disruption.

    The WristComputerPhone paired with enhanced sunglasses or enhanced prescription eyeglasses will replace a big chunk of the smartphone market.

  8. I remember a few years ago when the iPad came out and we ALL critiqued it as being nothing but a large iPhone. Now look. When it comes to technological innovation, I would much rather place my trust in the world’s most successful company than some sardonic Macleans writer. I’m 23 and I wear a watch everyday (it’s classy) so yeah. I would moreover love to hear of your alternatives to this iWatch, too!

  9. Well, I’m just under the author’s 50 yr mark and have always worn a watch. Increasingly I get stopped and asked the time by strangers who are too cool for watches. M

    Much easier to glance at my wrist than dig out my phone.