Thinking Big and Small About the Apple Watch

We’re closing in on the 1 year anniversary of the Apple Watch (2 weeks from today, actually) and I’ve been thinking about the Watch a little more than usual. I’ve been focusing my work on figuring out what Apple can do in the coming months to make the Apple Watch more enjoyable for current owners and appeal better to those who haven’t jumped on board yet. Meanwhile, I’ve been reading Neil Cybart’s Above Avalon blog where he has been writing about the longer term future of the Apple Watch. We’re both very interested in the Apple Watch as a product, but we’re coming at it from very different directions.

I’m a “product guy” myself, and most of my writing tends to come from that perspective. I’m most interested in figuring out what products are good today, and what will make them better tomorrow. That’s why my writing on the Apple Watch has been very focused on what Apple will do with the product in 2016. Longer term corporate strategies are much less interesting to me, just as they are with most consumers.

There are consumers out there who would like to buy an Apple Watch, but they haven’t made the jump yet and there are plenty of reasons why. I think part of it is marketing, Apple has not done a good enough job of focusing the conversations around the things the Apple Watch does great already. Their messaging was scattered initially, and they spent too much time on things like Digital Touch and third party apps that weren’t the core strength of the product. Another part is that parts of the Watch software just need to improve. If the software was more rock solid in its initial release, I we wouldn’t see so many people saying they’ve stopped wearing there Watch every day.

I actually spent about 4,000 words on how I think Apple should focus their development and marketing of watchOS 3 later this year, and I highly suggest you read that piece to see how Apple could make the Apple Watch better with just software this year.

This is all “thinking small” about the Apple Watch. I’m looking at the product as it exists today, and trying to figure out what the next step Apple can take now to improve the product. And while calling it “thinking small” may sound a little self-deprecating, I don’t mean it that way. These are valuable questions to ask and problems to try and solve. These are the things Apple engineers and developers who’s job it is to figure this out as we speak.

Neil takes the other end of the spectrum and likes to “think big” about the Apple Watch. He’s more interested in the business side of the product and what the 5-10 year plan looks like. I find these deep dives very interesting, and he tackles questions like “forget what the Apple Watch is today, what’s Apple’s ultimate plan for this space?” He’s also discussed what happens when the Apple Watch function independently of an iPhone entirely, as well as how Apple could make more money seeking watch bands than they could selling the actual Watch. Again, I highly suggest you subscribe to Above Avalon to read these pieces because they are fascinating to think about.

Our styles are complimentary and I think they go quite well together. Here at BirchTree, I’ll continue doing deep dives into the current state of the Apple Watch and what Apple can and should do to take the next step forward with the product. And while I’m focused on that area, I’m glad there are people out there who are focusing on the other aspects of the Apple Watch as well.