Is Apple iWatch Destined To Be The Next Big Tech Failure?

By | April 16, 2014
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

The iPhone 6 might be the most-talked -about upcoming device from Apple, but rumors are rife that the company has plans to launch a smartwatch pretty soon too. We here analyze why launching such a wearable gadget, which would be known as iWatch, won’t be a profitable idea for the company.

 

At the very outset, let’s be very clear about one thing. Apple has not yet officially confirmed that it is indeed working on a cutting-edge smartwatch. However, if the reports from generally authentic sources like The New York Times are to be believed, a wearable watch – dubbed as the iWatch – is likely to hit the markets sometime towards the end of this year. With Google Glass generating rather ho-hum response among techies, all eyes are on the rumored iWatch – with many feeling that it won’t be a big hit among targeted users. Here are a few reasons why Apple iWatch, if it sees the light of day, might flop:

  1. The product is likely to appeal to fitness fanatics only – Which makes the iWatch a rather niche product (in fact, most Apple products are – but that’s from a price perspective). Users would probably get all types of high-end stopwatch and countdown timer functions on the wearable device. It might even be possible to ‘talk’ to the iWatch. The rumors, however, do not single out even one feature about the device that general users would find to be really useful.

  2. For iPhone-users, the iWatch would be practically redundant – Would the iWatch be able to perform any function that the latest iPhone can’t? Highly unlikely (note-taking, time-keeping, GPS navigation, texts and emails – the iPhone does everything). On the other hand, the iWatch won’t be able to take photos, stream videos, and probably won’t come with a mini-keypad either. Most iPhone app development experts agree that, in the end, the iWatch would be viewed as just another ‘cool-n-gimmicky’ device.

  3. Where would be the profit? – Let’s just say that Tim Cook and his technical designing team does a really good job of making the iWatch. Even then, it is hardly likely that the device would help the company to earn hefty margins. The price of the iWatch would probably be somewhere in the range of $175 to $199 – and, on average, (in a best-case scenario), it can add to Apple’s Earnings-per-share (EPS) figure by a shade over 1%. Not really worth the time and effort, it seems!

  4. Wristwatches have somewhat gone out of fashion – Maybe not the glitzy Rolex-es or the ladies’ watches which double up as fashion accessories – but in general, a large percentage of contemporary young people can’t be bothered about putting on a wristwatch everyday. Once again, this can be attributed to the fact that, a glance at one’s smartphone offers more information than a wristwatch can ever do. If Apple iWatch does not have any standout features, it’s ‘coolness’ won’t be enough to convince people to buy it.

  5. Having a built-in media player won’t help – There are indications that the iWatch might have quite a lot of features in common with the iPod. The problem though, is, Apple iPod, an instant hit when released by Steve Jobs, is in a state of decline at present – as per market sales figures. Strapping on watch features on what would be, in effect, a customizable iPod Nano will not make prospective buyers crave for it.

  6. The short battery life will stunt its popularity further – Even the otherwise well-reviewed iPhone 5 has a common complaint against it – it’s battery life is short (as is the case with practically every smartphone). It would be rather too naive to think that Apple would come out with an all-new technology for the iWatch, which would make its battery juices last for a week or so. At a time when individuals are wary of installing new iPhone apps because of the extra strain they might put on the batteries – is it really likely that they would clamour for a smartwatch which, once again, has a disappointing battery backup?

  7. No first-mover advantage – The arrival of the Apple iPhone is regarded as a breakthrough in the domain of smartphone development. To a lesser extent, Apple enjoyed a first-mover’s advantage for its iPod too – since Sony Walkman was no longer a strong competitor at the time. Conditions are likely to be way more competitive for the iWatch though – with the main fight coming from Pebble’s Kickstarter, an already established smartwatch for Android as well as iOS device users. Making a mark as a new-age fitness accessory won’t be easy either – thanks to the strong market presence of FitBit and FuelBand (from Nike). Interestingly, Tim Cook, the Apple CEO, is on the Nike Board of Directors too – and a case of professional conflict of interest might also arise.

  8. Will the iWatch have to be paired with smartphone handsets? – If yes, that would further inconvenience users. If such pairing is indeed necessary, the iWatch won’t be able to hold its ground as a standalone smartwatch. What’s more, getting connectivity permissions with the various mobile carriers might be a rather costly proposition as well.

  9. The touchscreen of the device won’t make much impact – For the simple reason that a wristwatch is a small, wearable device – with the dial (screen) size being much smaller than that of an average iPhone or, of course, an iMac. Apple might surprise us all by incorporating a slew of high-utility features in the iWatch, but tapping on the various icons to activate them is likely to be rather tricky. Mobile app developers would also find it extremely challenging to come up with applications precisely optimized for a smartwatch. While wearing, you can’t protect the watch dial with a case – and that increases risks of accidental scratches (unless, of course, sapphire glass used on it!).

  10. No 4G LTE support – Even if the iWatch allows internet access (even that’s not certain at this point), the strength and quality of such connectivity will not be anything to go ga-ga about. In particular, 4G LTE features would almost surely not be present on the device. For accessing the web on the go, iPhone would still be the most-relied upon device – and iWatch will not have the web-based features to even compete in this regard.

 

One of the positive rumors about the iWatch doing the rounds in Apple forums and discussion panels is that – the device might offer direct connectivity with mobile networks. In general though, it comes across as more of a product targeted to only the Apple fanboys/girls across the globe, and would probably be nothing more than a hobby item. If Apple indeed goes ahead with the release of the iWatch, and the product bombs, Tim Cook might start feeling the heat like never before!

 

Hussain Fakhruddin
Follow me

Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
Hussain Fakhruddin
Follow me
 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *