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The iPod Wasn't a Hit Immediately Either

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

Stephen Hall on why he doesn't feel too bullish on smart watches.

And while ASUS, LG, Huawei, and Motorola have some revamped hardware entries coming very soon, I’m just not that excited anymore. Why? Mostly because I just don’t have a compelling need for wearables in their current form. I have Google Glass and I have an LG G Watch R, but neither have become anything close to a daily driver for me. I still have no reason to use Android Wear.

I understand his sentiments and appreciate the feeling. I partially agree that smart watches have not taken off to the extent that I had predicted either. How often do you see me writing about hot new Apple Watch apps on this site?

But while there are some indications that smart watches may be a flop, we also have Best Buy saying the Apple Watch is a smash hit and Apple says sales have exceeded their expectations.

I wonder if smart watches aren't as "sexy" a product as the smartphone. By its nature, smart watches are accessories for our phones. My Apple Watch enhances my iPhone experience in many ways, but it doesn't "change the game" like smartphones have. My life is better because my iPhone doesn't buzz on the table when I get a notification, that I can reply to text messages faster than with my fingers, and that I use a few apps that are easier to use than their smartphone counterparts. It's better, but it's not as fundamentally different as when I got my first smartphone back in 2010.

I suspect the Apple Watch will follow the iPod in terms of sales trajectory. It took the iPod almost 2 years to sell 1 million units, but that number skyrocketed (and probably saved the company) after Apple released more affordable devices and launched the iTunes Music Store. Once the iPod was more affordable and had a clearer differentiator, it took off in a big way.

The Apple Watch sold millions in its first month, so it's already ahead of the iPod at this point. If the Apple Watch is going to follow the same pattern, we need it to come down in price ($199 would be a game changer) and they need a better sales pitch than "it's a time piece, activity tracker, and a new way to communicate." I love my Apple Watch and I believe in smart watches, i just think that we're a year or two ahead of when they really become huge.

Save this article for "claim chowder" if I'm completely off base.