'You Guys Realize The Apple Watch Is Going To Flop, Right?'

Just as his naysaying predecessors before him, Mark Wilson takes a crack at playing Nostradamus and claiming that an Apple product will fail before the world even gets their hands on it. At least he seems pretty self-aware about it:

Before the iPad came out, you’ll recall, a lot of smart people doubted there was a market for what was being billed “a big iPhone.” After all, Microsoft had failed at tablets in the early aughts. And Apple had failed at tablets before that.

"Now stop me if you've heard this before..."

After departing the Meta Station, his first stop on the Idiot Express is battery life:

There’s only so much you can do with sapphire glass and power-efficient microprocessors. Current reports say the Apple Watch could burn out in times as short as 2.5 hours before needing a recharge. Best-case scenarios (you know, when you use it a lot less), might stretch its life to 19 hours. But a loyal user of the Apple Watch would be forced to take it off and recharge it four times during a workday. That’s absurd.

You know what's actually absurd? Expecting someone to raise their wrist and use a watch in lieu of their phone for an entire day. This is one of those points that people have brought up to preemptively disparage the device, but the only thing they're basing their measurements off of are devices that are made for using for extended periods of time. No practical person is going to see their Apple Watch as anything but an extension of your phone. It's designed to simplify the act of removing your phone from your pocket when you receive a text or an email.

When you consider what you do with a watch now (i.e. raise your wrist to glance at the time), and then realize that Apple Watch is designed with the same sort of interactions in mind (but with more reasons to glance at it), suddenly battery life doesn't seem to be as big of an issue. Even "worst-case" scenarios like 2.5 hour life, spread out in ten to 30 second increments throughout the day, don't seem like a problem to me.

His second point focuses on infrastructure. He describes Disney World in an oddly meandering sort of anecdote that concludes that Apple hasn't built enough ways for people to allow their Apple Watches to interact with the real world.

And so what we’re left with is the Apple Watch as it is today—a platform for what the industry calls “lightweight notifications.” That means texts. That means two-line emails with the important stuff cut off. And that means what song is playing on Spotify. Not much else.

It was an interesting landscape in 2007 when Apple released the iPhone with no support for third-party apps (outside of terrible web apps). The App Store launched in 2008 with only 500 apps (and let's not forget the early years where it was inundated with fart apps and other crap). Now it's over 1.2 million strong, with developers receiving over $25 billion in revenue. This happened in six years.

No, Apple Watch isn't going to magically transform reality into Disney World. Not overnight. But Apple has proven time and time again that they understand what make consumers tick. People will most assuredly buy this device in droves, and that will create demand for developers to build a foundation of applications that will go beyond "what song is playing on Spotify." If we're only criticizing the Watch based on what we know devices to be able to do this very moment, we're doing ourselves a disservice and we're not being honest.

He claims in his final point that Apple Watch is not  "an empathetic creation for the masses." That it's more Jony Ive indulging in his own masturbatory design impulses than anything else. It's funny that Ive has become an easy target, especially in Jobs' passing. But people tend to forget that he is not the despot of Apple (no matter how much Dan Lyons idiotically protests to the contrary). There's an enormous collective of extremely intelligent and driven people that work tirelessly behind the scenes to make these things succeed. To distill something new (and, yes, Mark Wilson, new things can be scary when we don't fully understand them or see their potential through the lens of only what we currently know) down into one man's luxury bauble power trip is short-sighted.

Something tells me Wilson's piece will prove to be an embarrassing bookmark that we can all link back to and laugh at five years down the road when the Apple Watch proves to be a resounding success.