Would Steve Jobs have released this watch?
The more I read about the Apple Watch (announced this week and available on April 24th) the less convinced I am that former Apple maestro Steve Jobs would have released this product to the market. The issue is not design. The new watches are quite attractive, although I found myself disappointed that Apple chose to maintain such fidelity to a pre-existing form factor. The problem that I think would have kept Mr. Jobs from releasing this watch is the battery life. There are differing reports about the length of time a charge on these watches last. However, there are rumors in the industry that functionality was removed from the watch in order to extend the battery life. Think about that. Apple had the capability to build a much more advanced device, but didn’t because of battery life. Does that sound like something Steve Jobs would have agreed to? I suspect that the pressure built on Apple to release a product so they rushed to market with a device that offered the best balance of features and battery life available given present battery technology. It is testimony to the brilliant products the industrial design team at Apple have created in the past that this sounds so disappointing. It is easy to forget that the iPhone was essentially a new form-factor when it was first released. Yes, it could fit in our hand like a phone and make calls like a phone, but it was radically different in design and interface from everything that had come before. This watch simply isn’t new or different enough. Millions of people will buy this watch for the same reasons that people clamored to pay for the privilege of being a Google Glass Explorer – having the latest Apple or Google tech gives bragging rights in certain circles. But (counter Samsung) Apple did not become the world’s most valuable brand by appealing to fanboys only. I should note that I have been egregiously wrong about technology in the past. Many, many, many times. Many times. But I followed the Apple Watch unveiling with an overwhelming sense of “meh.” Meh.