Apple re-announced the Apple Watch today.
Like the last time it announced the Apple Watch, it left people with mixed feelings. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why people will want to buy an Apple Watch.
This, of course, is not unique for Apple. When it introduced the iPad, people had their doubts about the product.
But, the Apple Watch feels different.
What makes the Apple Watch different versus Apple’s most recent products is that Apple failed to explain what problem the watch solves.
When Apple rolled out the iPod, it was killing the MP3 player market, which was scattershot at the time.
With the iPhone, it was revolutionizing the mobile phone industry, making BlackBerry’s phones look antiquated.
With the iPad, Apple killed the crappy netbook market, and create an arguably better version of the personal computer.
When announcing the iPhone and the iPad, Apple spent some time in the preamble talking about the problem it was solving.
With the Apple Watch, we got no such preamble. We got no reason for the Apple Watch to exist.
Perhaps the reason we never got an explanation is that Apple itself doesn’t think the market for watches is broken.
In a recent FT story, Apple’s lead designer Jony Ive talked about this challenge.
“It was different with the phone — all of us working on the first iPhone were driven by an absolute disdain for the mobile phones we were using at the time,” said Ive. “That’s not the case here. We’re a group of people who love our watches. So we’re working on something, yet have a high regard for what currently exists.”
If the Apple Watch fails, we could end up looking back at this quote as the simple explanation. Apple offered up a solution for something it didn’t consider problematic.