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Apple Watch makes its debut, the market is sceptical
New Models

Apple Watch makes its debut, the market is sceptical

Thursday, 18 September 2014
By Félicie Roulet
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Félicie Roulet

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3 min read

On September 9th, Apple revealed its new range of products, which includes the Apple Watch. They are, says Chief Executive Tim Cook, the “next chapter in Apple’s story”. Here is a round-up of what the press has to say.

It’s been a long wait since 2012, but Apple finally unveiled its smartwatch at a media event in Cupertino, California. The technology giant has launched its fair share of revolutions, from computers to music and mobile phones, yet for the past few years the firm seems to have been lacking the real innovation for which it is known. Now it is trying to win back its shine with a sleek and sexy, ultra-modern object designed for every wrist. The c/net website publishes a handy summary of what the Apple Watch actually does, i.e. plays music, works as a fitness tracker by measuring calorie consumption and heart rate, sends and receives messages and calls, and is a “handheld portal” to other apps on the iPhone with which it is connected.

An interesting innovation compared with other smartwatches, such as the ones developed by Sony, LG, Samsung or Pebble, is the Apple Pay service that can be used to buy goods in stores (only in the US for the time being). In a word, the Apple Watch is a wristborne computer which, thanks to its technology and customisation options, becomes an extension of its wearer’s personality and needs. Yet despite these claims, the enthusiasm that followed Chief Executive Tim Cook’s presentation didn’t quite live up to expectations, and left some openly sceptical.

Is like saying the market for a fine Bordeaux is affected by the advent of a new flavour of Vitamin Water.
Competition for Swiss watches

Business magazine Bilan asks whether the Swiss watch industry should be concerned to see the Apple Watch edging its way onto its turf, with analysts divided as to the impact it could have. The opening of the new Tissot store on New York’s prestigious Fifth Avenue the same day the Apple Watch was revealed is an unmistakable sign. With the two brands positioned at comparable price points – USD 349 for the Apple Watch and well under USD 1,000 for Tissot’s collections – there is clearly potential for competition. According to certain industry observers, Swatch is another brand that should be looking over its shoulder. Swatch Group shares lost 1.76% the day after the presentation in Cupertino.

Tech Crunch, on the other hand, thinks Swiss watchmakers needn’t give the Apple Watch “a second thought.” The market, says the website, is completely different: “To suggest that the iWatch will influence Swiss watch buyers is like saying the market for a fine Bordeaux is affected by the advent of a new flavour of Vitamin Water.”

Our objective has never been to be first. It's to be the best.
Tim Cook
A sceptical market

This first look at the Apple Watch had been long-awaited all the same, as Le Monde points out. And for good reason. Despite healthy sales, Apple isn’t growing as fast as it once did. Can the Apple Watch buck the trend? For many, this new product represents a growing need within the brand to show that its innovative spirit is intact, or at least as strong as in Steve Jobs’ day. Despite a dearth of innovation, which has been widely commented on in recent years, the strength of the Apple Watch resides in how it has been put together. As strategy consulting firm Eleven explains, this is a repeat performance of the iPhone: Apple comes along with its version of a product that already exists, to show how it should be done and attract consumers beyond just technophiles. For many, the Apple Watch, with the added extra of Apple Pay, is a particularly desirable wearable.

Not everyone agrees. InformationWeek echoes the already patent disappointment with a watch that fails to deliver any innovative new functions, and is simply a different way to use a smartphone. Despite these misgivings, has Apple struck gold again? When the iPad was launched four years ago, the brand came under fire for the same reasons, yet the now famous tablet has shown that Apple doesn’t necessarily have to innovate, as it did with the iPod, to succeed. Something Tim Cook knows full well: “Our objective has never been to be first. It’s to be the best. We believe this product will redefine what people expect from its category”.

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