Like clockwork, the release of any new Apple product elicits almost reflexive groans from analysts and pundits who are quick to predict failure for whatever Apple’s latest venture happens to be. And so it goes with the Apple Watch, a device that no one outside of the tech press has even used, much less seen in person.
While tempering Apple Watch sales expectations is certainly fair game, some of the wildly pessimistic takes on the Apple Watch we’ve seen have been downright preposterous.
First up to bat we have The Economist:
Yet in spite of Mr Cook’s bouncing optimism, Apple seems unlikely to turn its watch into the next big must-have gadget. Certainly, the watch will not match the success of previous products, such as the iPod or iPhone. This is true for two main reasons. First, Apple’s newest creation replicates many of the functions that the smartphone already makes so seamless, such as checking e-mail, receiving calendar alerts and communicating with friends. People are unlikely to want to shell out a sum between $350 (for the most basic model) and $17,000 (for the fanciest version) for something with so few extra functions. Second, the Apple Watch is dependent on a nearby smartphone, which means that users will just be adding another device to their growing menageries instead of replacing one. This is not unlike selling someone a wristwatch that requires a pocket watch to work.
Over the weekend, Reuters also chimed in:
Apple Inc’s new smartwatch may be a tough sell, with 69 percent of Americans indicating they are not interested in buying the gadget, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
One-quarter of respondents said they were interested in purchasing the Apple Watch, but 69 percent said they had no desire, and 6 percent said they were unsure.
The Apple Watch is still over a month away from release and a quarter of the respondents in Reuters’ poll are already interested in purchasing the device. This doesn’t make the Apple Watch a guaranteed hit, but it seemingly doesn’t make it a tough sell either.
What’s more, the Reuters poll found that 13% of respondents would consider buying an iPhone just to be able to use the Apple Watch. All in all, the poll, if anything, indicates that the Apple Watch will do just fine in the marketplace.
A piece in TechRadar, meanwhile, lamented Apple’s pricing structure for the watch.
Apple has fallen into its usual trap: creating a product that has all the bells and whistles with a price to match. Mind you, I think that’s a bad thing – I don’t have $300+ to spend on a watch. I’ll turn to Fitbit to reach my fitness goals and pull out my phone when I need to tell the time or, you know, answer a phone call. If I do decide I want a smartwatch, there are far more affordable ones I’ll buy instead.
There’s no getting around the fact that the Apple Watch isn’t cheap, but come on, Apple products are never cheap. Macs are expensive. The first iPods were expensive. Apple’s entire business model is centered around selling premium products at premium prices. The Apple Watch is no different.
Lastly, Timothy Egan of The New York Times already hates the Apple Watch, a product he’s never even used.
I hate the new Apple Watch. Hate what it will do to conversation, to the pace of the day, to my friends, to myself. I hate that it will enable the things that already make life so incremental, now-based and hyper-connected. That, and make things far worse.
Writing for Macworld, The Macalope helps put Egan’s piece in perspective:
Here’s the thing the Times’ editorial page should have thought about before publishing this piece: Maybe if you read something by someone who’s actually touched an Apple Watch, you’d realize that part of the idea behind it is to reduce the friction caused by the smartphone, to make those interactions take less time so you can get back to your needy dinner friends or mountaintop epiphanies or whatever.
Ultimately, however, Egan would do well to go deeper with the self-analysis than with the finger pointing. The fault, dear Timothy, lies not in our products, but in ourselves.
Before the levels of Apple Watch doom and gloom reaches full throttle, we’d all be better off if we just relaxed and, oh, I don’t know, actually wait to see how the device performs in the real world.