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BW Businessworld

The Flip-Flop Over Apple Watch

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Long before the Apple Watch even launched, the tech media in the US were frothing at the mouth over how it was the one wonderful gadget that would galvanize the whole wearables industry. It was a bit of a shock when Time Magazine gave it a gadget of the year status when it hadn't yet been launched. Apple is the undisputed master of design in the tech world, with everyone scrambling to copy its products. But just as you'd give credit where it's due, you would withhold it where it's not.
When the talk of a possible upcoming smartwatch from Apple began surfacing, it was exciting. Apple has been a category starter with the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. No one can quite make a MacBook despite trying. So, what would it do with a brand new category to play with?
But the Apple Watch (at first called the iWatch by the general public) took ages. First it stayed a rumour for almost a year and then when it finally did get formally announced, it took another age to actually be launched. By then, the world of fashion was already making much of it and there were full page displays of snazzy outfits graced with the centerpiece - an Apple Watch.
When Tim Cook took to the stage to show it off, I was acutely disappointed. There didn't seem to be anything but the obvious. I also couldn't help thinking of so many more really innovative and beautiful looking smartwatches and wrist wear being showcased or launched. The Motorola 360, in fact, was and still is a far more innovative piece of gadgetry. It sparked off a spate of other fantastic looking round watches from others like LG, Asus and more. So what was supposed to be so revolutionary about the Apple Watch and why would it be the one to kickstart the wearables industry? The only thing I can think of is that it's just because it's Apple and the fanatic confidence its fans and the Western media have in the company would indeed open up the wearables industry.
But surprise surprise, suddenly the same media is using the word "flop" in a spate of articles. Most unusual for anything to do with Apple. Aside from a few features unique to it, the Apple Watch doesn't do anything spectacularly well that others don't. Android watches already have most of those - changing watch faces, fitness tracking, heartbeat sensing, handling messages and calls, glancing at news.
On top of that, the Apple Watch seems neither as intuitive to use as Apple's other products nor is particularly beautiful - a square on our wrist. Yet, it is exorbitant and has all these exclusive versions that only the extremely rich can even dream of.
And now, after the initial euphoria, it seems the Apple Watch isn't selling very well at all. Apple isn't about to say anything about that as it hasn't been very long since the device has been on the market - and it hasn't even made its way to some markets. But the analytics firm Slice Intelligence has released some figures that show sales are significantly down since the initial rush.
While one should wait until other sources reveal further numbers, the general trend seems to be downward all right and it's a situation that should give one pause while we rethink whether everything Apple touches turns automatically to gold.

Tags assigned to this article:
apple watch apple gadgets technology mala bhargava