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Do we really need a smartwatch?

This isn't actually my hand

 Jonathan Fox May 2015

Imagine the scenario. You’re basking in the glorious English sun, sunglasses on, cold beer in hand. It’s Saturday afternoon, everyone is mildly less aggressive than usual and work is a mere cloud on the horizon.

You are relaxed.

Then suddenly:




Sh*t! That’s your phone.


You’ve left it inside.


It’s probably your Mum letting you know your Grandmas coping well with the new hip.


 If only there was some way of reaching it without getting out of your comfy camp chair. If only there was a way where your phone was physically strapped to you for such circumstances as this.

If only…

OK. So a pretty exaggerated point to start with, but you get the idea. Smart watches could so easily be deemed as another excuse to further ‘lazify’ the human race. And one of the big contenders stepping up on the racetrack sidelines offering a giant lazyboy, is Apple with their new Apple Watch.

But is it lazy? Or is this another great invention from apple that can really have an effect on our day-to-day lives. Remember, these are the guys that came up with the greatest invention so far this millennia; the iPod. That handy little trinket that sits comfortably in your pocket holding every song you’ve ever enjoyed at any time. That handy device that kickstarted the apple revolution and lead them to the global superstars that they are today.

Surely the guys that hold such a high-profile wouldn’t be releasing something just to save you from having to go to the effort of moving our hands to our groin to pick up a call.

Well maybe.

The world is changing. Rapidly. We are in the first minute, of the first day of the full impacts if the internet revolution. Every cool device, gadget and app, that is making your life that bit easier than our Victorian brethren is just the beginning of things to come.

 The internet of things, isn’t just a terribly coined phrase, it’s actually a big deal that will have a huge impact on our culture, lives and future. As a species we are quickly diving head first into a fully connected world where immersed in an automated reality.

Imagine a world where your fridge knows when you’re running out of beer and puts in your next order for you. A world where your house appliances automatically brighten and dimmer depending on which room you are in. A world where you can physically shake the hand of someone on the other side of the world over the web (well kinda, it’s through electrostatic vibration, but still…) Soon you’ll be able to touch the internet… and it’ll touch you back!

So in that regard, a smartwatch isn’t a bad idea at all. In that world, a smartwatch will be an important access point measuring our location, health and habits.

But it’s still a massive challenge. Teenagers generally don’t wear watches anymore for starters, then there’s the issue of battery life, as well as durability and don’t even get me started on the price-tag…

But this is where the genius of the Apple machine picks up a gear in it’s innovative engine. They aren’t following the same model as the iPod, the iMac and the iPad. The rules have changed. They know the long-term benefits of getting into the smartwatch market early, but they’re also well aware that it’s too pricy for most people.

The current thought process of the average consumer should be:

Do I have £300 to spare?

Plus insurance?

Do I have an iPhone5 or higher to link it too (it doesn’t work without one)?

Am I buying the Apple watch for other reasons than just to show off (seriously)?

Will you be able to deal with everyone wanting to touch and play with it?

Do you find wearing a watch comfortable?

Only if they answer yes to these questions are they really likely to consider splashing out.

So how do you sell something that is too expensive to buy? Well apparently, you give it some premium branding, place it as a luxury fashion accessory and sell it to the more affluent end of society. Add some gold and silver editions for good measure just to really emphasize the sheer splendor of this opulent amulet, and get some well placed and influential friends to parade their well tanned wrists through the streets of Silicon Valley.

In one well placed swoop Apple become the highest earning smartwatch provider, feeding the vainglorious appetites of the ‘instafamous’ and ‘instarich’, until the price of parts and labour fall to the point where Apple can release the watch at a price that the average consumer, being teased and taunted through tube and tabloid, can finally afford. This is all gifted to Apple while being stylishly wrapped up in the beautiful bow of being the first tech company to jump the hard-wired fence of the tech space, into the high-brow oasis of the fashion industry.

Boom. If were wearing a Smart Watch now I would asking Siri for shares.

So do we really need a smartwatch?


Not yet.

The apps aren’t up to scratch yet, the tech between operating systems isn’t fluid and the user experience isn’t intuitive.

But we will. Given the pace of developments of the tech world, smart watches will be as common as iPads by about 2017. And they won’t replace smartphones. They’ll simply co-exist. We’ll need them to tap into our homes, to check our health and to reach our online social life.

So in future those Sunny Saturday afternoons when your Mum rings to tell you that your Grandma is coping well with the new hip. You’ll simply have no excuse not to answer.

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