Tag Archives | wearables

This Just In: Apple Hiring a Swiss Watch Salesman Has Nothing to Do With the iWatch’s Country of Origin

Swiss watchWhen I read reports on unannounced Apple products, I often come away confused–but I don’t think it’s because I’m a numbskull.

Case in point: CNBNC has a story up by Jenny Cosgrave reporting that Apple has hired an unnamed sales director from Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer as it gets ready to roll out the wearable gizmo which Cosgrave, and most everybody else, is calling the iWatch.

(Update: 9toMac’s Mark Gurman reports that the TAG salesguy in question is Patrick Pruniaux, VP of sales and marketing.)

Fine. Interesting scoop. But here’s the part where I get confused:

Apple’s plans to hire Swiss watch experts are an attempt to market its product as “Swiss made”, which senior luxury goods analyst at Bernstein, Mario Ortelli, said is a label that is synonymous with quality when it comes to watches.

Um, hiring a sales director from a Swiss company doesn’t mean your watch is Swiss made. Actually, hiring an infinite number of employees of Swiss watch companies wouldn’t let you make that claim. Unless those employees stay in Switzerland and, you know, make your device. I can’t imagine why anyone would believe otherwise.

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Sorry, Everybody, Your Feelings About the iWatch Are Meaningless

Piper Jaffray recently conducted a survey about consumer sentiments towards wearable devices–including the “Apple iWatch” which, it now seems certain, will be released later this year. As Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports, 36 percent of respondents would pay between $100 and $200 for the iWatch, 14 percent would pay $350, and 14 percent wouldn’t buy one at any price. DeWitt says that those numbers prompted the author of Piper Jaffray’s study to estimate that Apple could sell between five and ten million iWatches in the device’s first year on the market.

Can we just say it? Research of this type doesn’t tell us anything worth knowing about Apple’s device and how well it might sell, because the survey respondents who said they would or wouldn’t buying it were expressing opinions based on insufficient information.

Even if you’re paying really close attention to rumors about Apple’s wearables–such as these ones and these ones–you know very little about the device, in part because rumors can be false, and in part because scuttlebutt about specs tells you virtually nothing about what the experience of using an iWatch might be like. And the respondents to Piper Jaffray’s survey presumably aren’t maniacally refreshing MacRumors and AppleInsider to stay on top of the latest news.

Even after a company announces a product, gut instincts about it don’t tell you all that much. Especially when the company in question is Apple, which has a better track record of redefining categories than any of its competitors, in ways that can be difficult to understand at first. Recall, if you will, the reception that the iPhone got after Steve Jobs unveiled it in January of 2007: It wasn’t the least bit difficult to find people who thought it would flop.

In a rational world, 100 percent of the people who Piper Jaffray asked about their iWatch-buying intentions would have answered “How the hell should I know at this point?” They didn’t. So it’s incumbent on us to remember that none of us know enough about Apple’s wearable to form opinions about it–including whether we want one.

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At Last, Apple’s Wearable Enters the “Yes, It’s Coming Soon” Phase


Exclusive Technologizer visualization of likely appearance of Apple wearable device

At first, people idly wonder whether Apple might enter an emerging category of gadgets. Then there are rumors that the company is entering the category–but they come from sources without a great track record for accuracy, or involve alleged facts which don’t ring true.

And then at some point someone trustworthy reports that the new Apple product really is on its way within the forseeable future. That’s when it’s reasonable to assume that it’s not a mass hallucination or a hoax.

The cycle happened with the iPhone and iPad. And now it’s happened with the wearable gizmo that everybody calls the iWatch.

John Paczkowski of Re/code, who’s on my exceedingly short list of reporters whose Apple scuttlebutt I reflexively believe to be true, says that Apple is planning to ship a wearable device in October. He doesn’t have a lot of detail beyond that, but does say–although it scarcely needs saying–that said device will hook into the HealthKit fitness platform which Apple announced during its WWDC keynote.

Yuichiro Kanematsu of Nikkei Asian Review is also reporting that the wearable will arrive in October, and provides some more color–although as is often the case with stories about unannounced Apple products, it isn’t always clear where the reporting stops and the speculation starts:

Though the details of services have yet to be released, specs for the new product are being finalized, according to industry sources. It will likely use a curved organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touchscreen and collect health-related data, such as calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood glucose and blood oxygen levels. It will also allow users to read messages sent by smartphones.

Apple appears confident of the new product. According to a parts manufacturer, it plans monthly commercial output of about 3-5 million units, which exceeds the total global sales of watch-like devices last year.

I’m not convinced that everything in Kanematsu’s piece is automatically accurate. For instance, that “likely” gives me pause, in part because it’s not clear whether it’s Kanematsu’s sources who are deeming the tidbits that follow to be probable, or whether it’s Kanematsu’s own guess. And it isn’t even clear which of the tidbits the “likely” applies to.

I am, however, officially assuming henceforth that Apple plans to unveil a wearable device this fall. Almost everything about the product remains mysterious, but even just feeling confident that it’s fact rather than fantasy is a big deal.

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