The Digital Life: Apple Watch Fever

by Jon Follett

Episode Summary

At Apple's big unveiling on Monday, we got a better look at the Apple Watch, what the company hopes will be its next category-busting tech product. At the event, Apple also announced HBO NOW, fulfilling the dreams of cord-cutters everywhere; ResearchKit, the open source health study software; and the next generation of its CarPlay system, rolling out with 40 new autos next year. In this episode of The Digital Life, we consider whether Apple has jumped the shark with its new Watch, the implications of CarPlay for the rolling tech boxes that used to be just transportation, and the promise of ResearchKit for the medical research community.


Here are a few quotes from this week's discussion.

Jon on the unclear use case for the Apple Watch:
I think the problem that I have with the Apple Watch or at least my initial difficulty with it stems from the fact that I don’t see a clear use case where it’s either replacing something I have with something better and amazing or just the design that’s making me salivate and making it a must have.

With all of Apple’s prior products and I mean all of them, there is always those two things in combination that gave me the impetus to buy. When the iPod first came on the scene, the incredible ability to put your entire music collection into your pocket, for me as a fan of music, that was a big deal. It really took that Walkman if you’re a Gen-Xer growing up in the 80s, you had your yellow Walkman by your side. It replaced that with something so incredible that you could only dream about it, having access to your entire music collection. Fine, that’s the iPod.

The iPad on the other hand starts replacing things like your television, your laptop if you’re in an entertainment mode. It replaces your sketchpad. It replaces a lot of things. It also just has this must-have feeling to it and it created an entire product category. You could say the iPhone sort of combines all of those things into one.

I’m still trying to figure out what the Apple Watch like where that would fit in my life. I’m certainly a lover of watches as jewelry and as objects d’art. I can really appreciate a fine watch when I see it and wear it occasionally at an important event or something. It looks flashy, but beyond that, I’m probably not as much a quantified selfer as some of the other folks in the studio. I’m really struggling because I want to want it, but I can’t want it. If you know what I mean.

Dirk on the decline of Apple as an innovative product powerhouse:
I’m sure from a financial perspective, they’re still going to keep selling products hand over fist, but what we’re seeing is the real erosion of their position as the leader. Five to ten years ago whenever I would be in a meeting with a potential client, not everyone, but most of them ostensibly, they’d say, “We want to be like Apple. We want our stuff to be like Apple stuff.”

Those days are going fast and there’s no sign of them coming back. At the same time, we’re seeing really interesting new things from Amazon, from Google, from some other companies. The things that are more likely to draw attention aren’t coming from Apple. They’re coming from other places which is concerning.

I expect the next big thing to come from, frankly, Amazon or Google. I think those are the two big ones, but ironically with the watch … Jon, you and I saw over the weekend there’s a new startup doing a digital watch called Runcible and that thing is really cool. If I want a digital watch, I’m getting that thing. That’s what I’m excited about. They’ve completely outflanked Apple by better understanding the market, better understanding this moment in time. It’s just all very troubling. I don’t know.

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Topics: Podcast