There has been a lot of talk about whether or not the release of Apples new watch is in fact a game changer. A lot of that discussion has come off the back that this is actually the newest product that has come off the shelf since Steve Jobs passed away – but that doesn’t make it a game changer. Yes, it's sleek and looks good when compared to some of the other digital and electronic watches that are out in there in the market but the reality is – it is not a game changer.
Several years ago Apple released a version of the Nano range of iPods that would become known as its seventh iteration. In the pictures below you’ll be able to get a taste for what that iPod Nano looks like – it was a box shape but look closely – it had an enormous amount of built in functionality and – I had one. The great thing about the Nano is actually on the back – it was able to click comfortably onto your belt but that’s not the really cool use it had – it was able to take a watch strap. See the Mickey Mouse face in the picture below? Well, that same clock face has shown up again on the new Apple Watch – which means, on a closer look at the newly released product there aren’t huge differences.
Coming back to the back of the iPod Nano: so, I go to ebay more than two years ago an put in “Nano Watch” and low and behold there were a number of factories in China that had actually manufactured a watch strap for the Nano – I had my first Apple iWatch! It could record meetings for me, play my iTunes, had a multitude of watch faces, and had Nike’s fitness App downloaded to it, pictures and more.
So, coming back to the new Apple Watch – is it a game changer? No its not – because this is not actually the first watch Apple has released if you consider the Nano. Also, take a look at what others are saying – and they have a point in so far as the watch has been around for between 400-500 years:
“The wristwatch has survived for 400-500 years,” agreed Hyungsoo Kim of Eone Timepieces, the brand behind The Bradley tactile watch, which was originally designed for blind people. “It’s unlikely that a smart watch, whose technology could be obsolete in a few short moments, will ever become a family heirloom. A well-made wristwatch is made to last for generations. It will only reinforce the fashionable wristwatch market even more.”
Also keep in mind that game changer technology is meant to be a complete market disruptor such was the case of the original iPhone and its catalyst for the rise of smart devices or the desktop personal computer from Ollevetti. But, according to traditional watch makers:
In the short term, the Apple Watch “will affect our market a little bit, maybe, but I don’t think its good enough to overtake our market” said Kim, adding: “Nothing beats a classic.”
And then there is Hong Kong-based designer Michael Young described the product as “a great design” and “an ethereal product that might take over the world” but dismissed fears that it would have an impact on the existing watch market as “a silly call”.
Verdict? The Apple Watch looks cools and it certainly has appeal – but it is no game changer and it is not a market disruptor.
In fact, if you look at the definition of innovation it’s not really in that league – it’s just the evolution of a watch down a separate stream. At the end of the day those who can afford it will still yearn for a Rolex or a Tag – as for me? I still wear my Apple iPod Nano Watch.
For the record, that version of the iPod was given to me free after a fault was found in a previous version. In the end the whole watch cost me no more than the $5 for the strap from a company in Hong Kong (and yes that included the postage).
Finally, it will appeal to people – of that there is no doubt – but I wouldn’t bank the farm on it - and if youre looking for a real game changer? then take a look at Google Glasses - now thats a game changer!
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