Has Apple Watch Already Failed?

Has Apple Watch Already Failed?

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I am a long-time Apple user. I own an iPhone and an iPad, and my Apple TV is happily streaming Netflix as I write this. My point being- Apple’s my jam. Apple events are usually must-watches (pun not intended… okay, slightly intended) for me, and normally I feel a certain sense of awe when Apple demonstrates their new technologies (I practically fell over myself to get an iPad mini).

And yet… I find I’m not really anticipating the launch of the Apple Watch.

And I’m not alone.

Some other Apple loyalists have also talked about their collective apathy for the Apple Watch, even some that are normally as excited for Apple tech as I am. Why is everyone so lackluster about the Apple Watch?

Has Apple finally lost its magic mojo, that incredible blend of design and technology they always manage to achieve?

Has Apple finally lost its magic mojo, that incredible blend of design and technology they always manage to achieve?

I don’t think so. I think the problem lies with something more fundamental: the smartwatch itself.

Smartwatches are a section of tech that simply hasn’t gotten off the ground. There are quite a few smartwatches rolling around the market already- the Pebble, the Gear S, the LG G Watch. The list goes on and on. Most of them are actually pretty decent buys. The Moto 360, in spite of being from Motorola, is actually a pretty amazing piece of tech from both a design and technology standpoint. None of them have taken off, and the wrists of the technologically savvy still remain light and free.

Why they haven’t taken off is a matter of some debate: from bad battery life to not enough value add, just about every reason has been put forth for the lackluster performance of all of the smartwatches that have hit the market. It seems as though there simply isn’t a market space for the smartwatch, despite the interest surrounding it.

Which puts us in this strange contradiction: everyone seems to want a smartwatch, but nobody seems to want to buy one- even when perfectly good options are on the table. Is Apple moving into a space that they won’t be able to move? Is the Apple Watch doomed to fail before it even gets off the ground?

Is Apple moving into a space that they won’t be able to move? Is the Apple Watch doomed to fail before it even gets off the ground?

I must admit that I am afraid that it might be. My normal fervor for Apple isn’t sounding off here- and for an Apple fan as loyal as I am, that gives me pause for concern. If Apple can’t get me (or even Macworld) excited, what hope do they have of convincing the laypeople on the street- who have, by all accounts, not cared too much about the Apple Watch?

But I have faith. In the tech sector, no one is better than Apple at creating a market segment. Smartphones were an idle curiosity before the iPhone arrived and redefined them. Tablets were the same: before the iPad, there was no clear vision of what a tablet should be. Apple arrived and changed all that from the get-go: they had a vision, and they executed it.

Henry Ford’s immortal line about his customers is true: if he had asked them what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse. Steve Jobs also held to that ideal. Because above all else, Apple is not just a tech company: they are a visionary company, looking at things in lights that no one else can.

So despite not being excited for tomorrow’s Spring Forward event, I will watch. Because I think that it’s not Apple Watch that’s failing- it’s the smartwatch sector in general. It’s ill-defined, nebulous, and nothing more than an idle curiosity at the moment.

All of that might sound like warning sectors for going into the smartwatch sector. And it would be (and has been)- for any company that wasn’t Apple. Because Apple’s visionary leadership is perfect for this. Turning nebulous, ill-defined sectors into the next hottest thing? Well… that’s kind of what Apple does best.

So I’ll be watching tomorrow. And I bet I’ll be just as wowed as I ever am.