Apple, I think for the first time, has announced a product that ranges from the low hundreds of pounds to around £8,000 with as far as I can tell no difference other than the materials used.
We’re accustomed to the company releasing several options with more features as you pay more. In this case there doesn’t seem to be any practical benefit to paying more, which is a huge departure for a company that has perfected the balance between form and function.
Technology is the world of short term obsolescence. That great device you bought last year is soon superseded by one that does something else – or does what the old one did better. I wonder how the manicured footballer with his £8K watch is going to feel when Watch 2.0 comes along.
Apple has always managed to keep style and substance in harmony. At the eye-watering top end in this case it feels like style has become the sugar daddy. Rolex, Breitling and others must be heaving a sigh of relief.
Apple haven’t cracked this. The watch will sell well, of course, but more so I would guess at the bottom end. There’s no “ah, yes, but look what mine can do” factor. On the contrary, there’s a “why did you pay so much” factor that will probably keep the buyers focused on the lower cost options.
This feels a bit like design by committee rather than the product of one ruthless vision. The new interface, which is far from intuitive, the triumph of form over function and even the upper case font for the brand are all niggling signs that suggest a product that isn’t quite keeping time.
Want to spot management unease? Watch a slightly wooden CEO insist that the whole team stand up and “take praise” (aka ‘collective responsibility’) for what has just been announced.