In what seemed like an instant, the iWatch has gone from a
mere concept to a
full-fledged, nearly confirmed
product with a design team of 100 individuals.
The hype for this product is out of this world. While no one
actually knows what an iWatch will look like or how it will
function, bloggers, analysts and graphic designers are eager to
There are two universal assumptions that people are making: A)
the iWatch will replace the iPhone, or B) it will interact with
it in a number of clever and innovative ways.
If investors suspect that it is merely an add-on device, then
they have nothing to get excited about. Historically, add-ons do
not sell very well. While Apple (NASDAQ:
) could certainly change history (not for the first time), it
would be very unlikely that an add-on would greatly increase the
company's bottom line.
The real reason why investors -- along with bloggers, analysts
and everyone else in the world -- are excited is because they
believe that the iWatch will be something more. While the first
iteration may not completely replace the iPhone, they think (or
hope) that it will be the groundbreaking device Apple needs to
keep growing -- one that can sell
47.8 million units
during a given quarter.
If it is, Apple will be faced with a number of obstacles --
and five significant problems.
No One Wants a Dick Tracy Phone
As an iPhone replacement, the iWatch would require users to
talk to their wrists. While this might have seemed like a cool
concept in the 1940s, it is important to remember that Dick Tracy
was conceived several decades before the first cellular devices
At the time, no one could imagine a world where smartphones
allowed users to not only talk and send text-based messages but
also run a number of programs like a computer. In fact, when Dick
Tracy was conceived, consumers didn't even have computers!
The Screen is Too Big. Or Too Small. Or…
Apple said that it made a four-inch iPhone because it was just
the right size. The company launched an entire ad campaign to
prove this point, focusing on how a user can interact with the
touch screen using only one hand.
This was a silly ad, but the message was clear: Apple likes
making small, comfortable devices.
The problem with the iWatch is that there might not be a
"perfect" size -- not for you, not for your friend, not for
anyone. Many expect the watch to be the size of an iPod Nano.
Others expect it to be two or three times larger. In either case,
the device would be smaller than the iPhone, which would greatly
diminish its functionality.
If Apple goes the other route and makes the iWatch larger, it
could be cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear. Apple is very
unlikely to build a device of that nature.
One-Handed E-Mails Are a Big No-No
This is the number-one problem that every manufacturer faces
when developing a wearable computer of any kind: they may only be
usable with one hand.
Apple could feasibly design an iWatch that is easy to remove,
making it more of a mini iPhone than anything else. (Hmm, a small
iPhone users can wear. How interesting.) If it is truly a
"watch," however, users will ultimately interact with it using
For Web surfing, simple apps, Facebook, Twitter and other
apps, this might be okay. However, no one is going to want to
send e-mails or text messages this way on a regular basis. There
may be a few teenagers who brag about their one-handed texting
skills, but most people are faster, more efficient and more
comfortable using two hands.
It Will Kill the App Store
If the iWatch turns out to be an iPhone replacement, it had
better be something revolutionary. Otherwise, it will destroy the
All of the hundreds of thousands of apps currently available
were built for a smartphone-style device, not a pint-sized screen
that is tethered to a user's wrist. Apple might have something
really brilliant planned, but even it does, an iWatch could still
diminish the value of existing apps.
This Might Not Be What Consumers Want
Evidence shows that
smartphones are getting bigger
. Even Apple is expected to
build a larger iPhone
Thus far, consumers have welcomed these larger devices with
open arms. What makes Apple think that its customers will scale
down their expectations and embrace an iWatch?
Again, Apple may be building a device that will change
everything. However, that does not mean consumers will respond.
While Apple has made billions selling iPods, iPads and iPhones,
do not always respond
to innovation. Apple knows this
better than anyone
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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