Apple Watch: Hit or Flop: Place your bets Now.

The apple smart watch has started advertising on TV. Apple actually haven’t come out with a new product range for a while, I think they have being casting around to find the next big thing.

Since the passing of their talismanic CEO Steve Jobs there is debate about how innovative this company still is. Techi friends that I have the utmost respect for tell me that I should invest in an apple lap top.

Apparently the reason an apple laptop is so good is very pragmatic. My laptop has started coming over all maudlin and some days works like a dream and then other days decides that it is going to take it slow, not unlike it’s human owner. I am told by a friend of mine who owns a very successful software company that this is the real value of an Apple machine.

Basically they have much better exhorts pipes. I know laptops have exhorts pipes, who knew? Like car engines that have to keep their internal bits and bobs running within a temperature range, if the start to overheat the prossesor burns out and that is bad.

However: I also heard that most American millionaires are circumspect people who have built up there fortune by living very frugal lives. Most own their own business many are teachers in public schools, but typically that spend less than they earn and they invest what money they can in appreciating assets.

To my own class sensitive English ears there is something very crass even admitting that you have done something like read a book entitled “The Millionaire Next door” well trust me, it’s excellent. It turns out that most of America’s millionaires are people working in industries that would be described as “dull, normal”. The book doesn’t discuss technology purchases, but it does discuss car purchasing habits exhaustively. Millionaires apparently habitually buy cars second-hand. Most millionaires drive in expensive “Detroit metal”. Apparently, your average American millionaire would rather let somebody else by a car and incur the depreciation, then sell it to them at a subsidized second-hand cost.

The smart watches an interesting phenomenon in itself. As I understand it, it was around the time that the Amazon Kindle was gaining traction and mass-market appeal that hackers came up with the idea that: e-ink, displays could be used for smart watches. E-Ink doesn’t require any battery power once the image has been created. This meant that E-ink could be used as a way of extending the battery life of tiny computer devices. I know people also returned to the screens from old Nokia mobile phones. That led to a kickstarter a project called the “pebble watch” and until reasonably recently pebble was the only smart watch in town.

I can’t help but wondering if the apple smart watch will be a hit or a flop. The iPhone is nowhere near the most popular smartphone. It’s outnumbered many, many times by android devices. It’s not even the most popular unit. But only a fool would describe the iPhone as a flop. Although its market share is small: They’ve captured most of the high-value customers within that market.

Touch screens were invented in the 1970s. I remember having heated debates with my colleagues about the Amazon Kindle. At the time the iPad was the darling toy. I remember handing my boss my new Kindle and watching him swipe his greasy finger across the screen. A number of people remarked that it seems like quite dated technology. It was as if the arrival of the iPad had marked the death of the button. My Kindle that had a battery that lasted a month, and could be used in equatorial sunlight was seen as inferior because you had to turn the pages by clicking buttons at the side of the device.

Product features make customers more price sensitive. Apparently listing lots and lots of features such as a bike with 18 gears, disc brakes, front shock absorbers can make the customer more price sensitive. If a product has lots of features, people suddenly start thinking what is the lowest price I can pay to get all this functionality?

The classic example of a low feature high price, product is a watch like Rolex. These items hold their value because they are durable status symbols. Smart watches like all high technology are subject to Moore’s Law, by definition they are depreciating assets and will not hold their value. As a result, I personally am put off by the Apple watch and the premium they are asking for it. I wish I knew more millionaires so I could ask their opinion. But I wonder whether smart money is buying this product?

Even from an environmental point of view, it doesn’t do as well as the pebble. I-fixit recently revealed that it is held together with glue and has inbuilt obsolescence. If it breaks it will be very hard to fix.

Mobile phones and tablet computers are converging. People are now searching more online with their handheld devices. It is possible that in order to compensate for the increased size of screen were all carrying around in our breast pockets, having a small touchscreen on your wrist to access textual information quickly will prove helpful.

Google are now even punishing websites that are not “mobile first” and abandoned their flagship technology Google Glass, having decided that nobody wanted that. We’re not willing to strap a computer to our face, so perhaps the logical conclusion is to strap one to our wrist.

I am very tempted by the pebble watch, if I can get it at the right price point. I like to imagine that I’m closer in mindset to your circumspect millionaire (wishful thinking). I like to buy my functionality by the kilo. I’m less interested in what is watches can offer me as status symbols. However, I have asked about and do understand that it’s enormous fun to speak into your watch.

That functionality concurrently be bought on Amazon for about £6. My favored heart rate monitor watch is currently retailing on Amazon at £29. The Apple watchers retailing at £299, so my rough calculation is that: that’s £35 worth of smart watch functionality and £264 worth of status symbol.

Far be it from me to suggest that is too much to pay for status. Certainly it seems to make far more sense to me to buy the Apple watch as a status symbol in place of spending money on an Apple laptop. At least the watch will be with you everywhere you go, in order to gain status from an Apple laptop, you’d have to spend an inordinate amount of time working in coffee shops.

I got it totally wrong in the Kindle VS iPad debate. As it happened Kindle have moved closer to the iPad and introduced touchscreens. Which is interesting because the reason touchscreens remains nascent technology from the 1970s until the early 2000’s, was that everybody was rightly grossed-out by having their text obscured by finger grease. Which, let’s face it is “human juice” that you’ve smeared over your device. This is the primary reason that laptop still have an array of old school pressing click buttons, otherwise known as the keyboard.

A friend of mine told me something amusing the other day. He said at any social engagement always follow the old people. Go where the old people go, do what the old people do. His logic was that old people have been here before. They know the score. If you want to make sure you don’t have the spend the evening on an empty stomach and get a decent drink, join the back of a que with all the old people in it. On tube a saw well to do older lady writing an email on her phone. What model was it: BlackBerry. I thought “yeah, I bet the battery on that thing never fails and she can do everything she wants on that”.

The button is a technology that has been around for 2800 years. At least when you click a button you know you have done your part. You have thrown a switch in the machine. Amusingly that same guy who keeps telling me I need a Apple laptop, also told me he thought the Apple watch would be a hit because, the most commonly used app on a smart watch was the clock. It saves you getting your phone out of your pocket many times a day. The funny thing is he is probably right and that’s mad!