The Economist Doesn’t Get It: Apple Watch Edition

I don’t pretend to know how the Apple Watch will do, but I’m sure that many of the people predicting its failure don’t know what they are talking about.

Add to the list, 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.

from Launching the Apple Watch: The time machine | The Economist.

Their first point could have been made about the iPhone, and certainly was about the iPod. Neither didn’t anything that something else didn’t do before them.

Their second point though is particularly foolish.

Once upon a time, computers were expensive. People bought one, and used it for everything they could. Sometime between the iPod and the iPhone, computing devices became cheap enough that people bought more than one, and used them for specialized use cases.

And yet, some people, don’t get it. Those people seem to be overrepresented among technology reporters and pundits. They expect new devices must replace earlier devices, like the personal computer replaced the typewriter, etc. Certainly new devices may replace older devices — the iPod replaced walkman, and the iPhone replaced the iPod, but must? That’s pure superstition.

 

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