Will Apple challenge the watch tradition?

The old watchmakers express themselves with power and confidence at BaselWorld in Switzerland; ”the Apple Watch is not a threat” and then they come up with arguments that obviously make sense to them, but are totally irrelevant to me.

”Can it be repaired in 1,000 years or can it be repaired in 80 years?” Biver asked. ”Can your children wear the watch? No – because it won’t work anymore! The technology will be gone.” Jean-Claude Biver, Tag Heuer

If I want a little piece of expensive watch technology, the mechanical kind, which has its beauty in the way the tiny cog wheels smoothly work together and the worth comes from tradition and history, then I would of course never consider to buy an Apple Watch to fulfill that need.

The problem is, I’m not interested in that kind of watch. I have never been. To me a watch is something that was a tool for telling me the time. Since about 15 years I don’t wear a watch, today I just use my iPhone, iPad or iMac to see what time it is.

Therefore it’s completely irrelevant for me if there are skilled craftsmen that put together those tiny cog wheels so that everything works like a, eh, clockwork, or if I get my time from somewhere else. I just want to know the time and I frankly don’t bother at all about how that little piece of information is delivered. I couldn’t care less.

Also, I don’t think of a watch like an item that will stay in the family for generations. Hey, the watch will be mine and I’m cool with that. The only ones that are interested in repairing 1000 years old watches are archeologists! I’m not buying an Apple Watch for the future, I buy it because it’s the coolest watch I can get right now! (Well, soon…)

”A watch is not only giving time, it’s a status symbol and I don’t think you’ll get a status symbol in an Apple Watch with two billion functions that no one understands.” Walter von Kanel, Longines

Oh, oh, oh, BIG mistake! ”Two billion functions that no one understands” I think that the watchmaker von Kanel might be looking at this from his own, narrow perspective, because if there is something I have had severe difficulties to understand, it is digital watches… It doesn’t matter how many smart functions they have if you just want the watch to give you the time, and you don’t understand how to use the rest of it. The thing with Apple is the user experience and how they started out with making computers that were easy to use. Then they have continued to make devices that are easy to use: iPod, iPhone and iPad. We already know that the Apple Watch will be easy to use AND that we will recognize most of it features from what we have learned from using our other Apple devices.

For anyone that is used to Apple devices, it will become easy to understand how to use the Apple Watch.

I think that the Apple Watch will become a status symbol, but to show status is not only about showing how much money you have. Status is also about your intellectual capital, how modern you are and to wear an Apple Watch will send out signals that you are a smart, modern person, possibly with a little twist of ”that wants to take care of her/his body”. Smart, modern and healthy – many people want to be seen as that.

Those ”two billion functions” is what it’s all about. Apple, together with app developers, will deliver so many smart features that you can use with the watch and all together this little jewel will become one of your most important helper in your daily life. On top of that, it will also be part of the Apple Ecosystem and Apple Pay will make it ridiculously easy to pay with just touching your Apple Watch. That’s a true coolness factor, but it will also make us wonder how we ever could cope with pulling up our payment cards from our wallets…

This is what the Swiss watchmakers have to compete with. There will still be a market for their traditional watches, but so many more will want to have an Apple Watch. Many of those have never had a watch. They are not getting the concept of a traditional watch. They want a piece of the future.

I tried to paint the big picture of the Apple concept…

Click on the pic to get a bigger image!

This is a mindmap that tries to cover all the Apple products and services. I won’t say that it’s complete, but it gives an impression of how many things that are part of the total Apple concept. Even if I know about all this – I have just put everything down from my memory, I have never seen such an overall picture of what Apple is and I think it’s impressing. (And I have forgot some things, I’m already starting to recall what should have been on the map as well…)

When you think about it, someone can get interested in buying an Apple device for so many different reasons. Maybe you get curious when you see someone use ApplePay? Maybe you wonder how reading e-books works? Maybe you just need a new computer? Maybe someone took a photo with her iPhone and you are surprised by the good result? Maybe you see how a broadcasted TV-show is filmed with iPhones and you think ”Can they do that?” Maybe you drive a excavator and report your jobs on an iPad? Maybe your kid brings home his iPad with e-books, apps and instructions from his teacher and you are amazed of how well it works?

No matter what your reason is: once you start to appreciate Apple, you get curious about what more there is.

Some people judge Apple from using just one device or the market for just one device. I want to remind everyone about how big the world of Apple is. Compare with Microsoft, Google or Amazon and they offer just fragments of what Apple offer to the market. That’s why Apple keep on making progress, it’s almost a bit scary when you look at it like this.

New times mean new ways to do things, so of course, one day someone will start to build up a new concept for how we do things and one day Apple will be history. But I think that Apple will keep on being a huge company to count on for at least ten more years and I wouldn’t get surprised if they can hang on even longer than that, because, a certain way to innovate is in Apple’s DNA. Could they go on for ever? Who knows…?

 

Apple’s big system has many entrances

You always need a reason to buy something or start to use a new technique. When I bought my first MacPlus computer it was just to get something more modern than a typewriter – hey, it was 1989 and we didn’t even know about the internet.

Soon I found out that I also could use Macs to draw and paint digitally and that was huge for me, but it didn’t matter to most people. When I discovered Fractal Painter in combination with Wacom’s digital pen, it gave me so much joy. However, this was not something that made everyone buy a Mac or even a computer.

I think Internet was the first big entrance to the world of computers for people in general, but not many of them bought Macs. Many believed that Macs were toys and maybe just useful for creative people – oh, how wrong they were! They didn’t even realize that Microsoft Windows was a bad and ugly copy of the MacOS…

The next big entrance was music, or rather, the possibility to carry music with you in a small, cool device called iPod. I still remember when my daughter borrowed her dads iPod and her class mates wonder how big the memory was and she said 15GB and they laughed at her, believing that she said 15 MB, so she had to repeat it: 15 Gigabyte. Then they understood. Wow! Her coolness factor sky rocketed at once.

The iPod became a big success for Apple and it also meant that they sold music on iTunes. A legal and easy way to pay for digital music. So music combined with the coolness factor was now the big entrance for many to the Apple world.

Then Apple launched the iPhone. Hallelujah, jackpot! Everyone, I say, everyone around me bought an iPhone. This time it was not something for kids or young people, this time it was a tool that many CEOs found to be useful and of course, also employees and iPhone became the norm of mobiles. As we know, other companies tried to produce smartphones as well, but they are all iPhone wannabes. I remember, for example, when a man from a newspaper apologized that he had to use an HTC smartphone, because of the company’s policy. He was not happy.

The iPhone has changed so much in how we solve our daily tasks. We use it as a telephone, but it’s also a tool for email, internet and even reading, taking notes and much more. In fact, one of the features that totally has change our behavior is the camera. It has changed the camera market. The average person doesn’t need to buy a camera today because the iPhone’s camera is so good!

The next thing was the iPad. It didn’t become as successful as the iPhone, but still, very successful and it changed the way we work, study and entertain ourselves, even when we travel. It sure became an entrance to the Apple system for many.

By this time we became used to buying not only music, but also apps and e-books via Apple. One Apple ID and we get access to so many digital items and services. One category are the bank apps, which are very useful.

Today there are so many ways that Apple makes our lives easier to handle and for every way that people discover, no matter which entrance they used, they will become more curious about the rest of the Apple devices. This has lead to that Apple sell more Macs, even though other companies see declining sales of computers.

This autumn Apple released Apple Pay which might be the next really big entrance to the Apple world. It’s such an easy and safe way to pay that I think it will set the norm for what people expect.

Next year Apple Pay will continue to grow and it will get a boost when the Apple Watch is launched. The Apple Watch will also become a huge entrance to the Apple system. Many have already learned about health bracelets, but as usual, when Apple adds health features to a device, they do it so much smarter and cooler than the others. The Apple Watch will be used for so many things. Health is one big reason to buy the Apple Watch, but imagine the coolness and simplicity when you can pay with just tapping on your Apple Watch!

And, I haven’t even mentioned how much cash Apple Pay will bring to Apple…

Once you start to use an Apple device, it’s very likely that you will continue to buy more devices from Apple, which means that you will buy more digital items or services and then you will start to use Apple Pay when you buy other things. To think about this almost makes me dizzy… Imagine how much you buy at AppStore, iTunes and iBookStore, add everything you will be able to buy in your local stores or online – paying with Apple Pay. Is this the future, that almost everything we buy will go through Apple’s system for transactions? If that becomes the daily reality, Apple will have so many streams of money flowing to them.

And I will still use Apple because I think their devices and services are outstanding.

I think the best way to get some money back from Apple is to buy Apple shares. It’s like a variation of ”if you can’t beat them, join them!”, except, I don’t want to beat Apple. I want to be a happy citizen in the Apple Global Country. As long as Apple keep on doing good. And that’s the danger in all this: the moment Apple starts to do something evil, then this system will fall apart, because we are all in the system because of our free will. We can still choose other products and services outside the Apple system. But we don’t.

We enter the door to Apple and very few of us leave, once we have discovered what Apple can do for us. As long as they keep on making our lives better, we will stay.

The Big Apple Kingdom

Apple is an incredible successful company. It’s position as the number one trendsetter in the world of computers, smartphones, tablets and soon wearables is undeniable. Others may try, but it is what Apple do that sets the standard.

One of the new really hot things they have come up with is Apple Pay. Yesterday I got the news that  CVS Health Corp. (CVS) and Rite Aid Corp. (RAD) disabled the technology in their drugstores. Really? They want to launch their own system called CurrentC, which seems to be a clumsy attempt to create a system for digital payment. When Apple offers Apple Pay with both security, privacy and simple to use, CurrentC uses QR codes – which are a laugh even outside this payment system, and then they want to spy on the customers buying habits.

The right way to compete with Apple is to compete with quality and user satisfaction. Not to shut out a good payment solution and make the customers angry. When you think about it like this, it seems to be a, let us be kind, not so smart way to handle the situation.

However, we are living in a world that is rapidly changing. Two years ago I wrote the blogpost ”What is a country now when we have internet?” I was pointing at the fact that borders between countries become more irrelevant when we spend so much time in the digital world. One of the things that define a country is it’s currency. Digital currency is one of the options for the new digital world and Bitcoin is the first example of that, but so far it’s not trustworthy. Another way might be what Apple is about to do with Apple Pay and when I think about it like that, someone is bound to react and try to defend themselves from Apple’s growing, powerful kingdom.

What is a country in these days and where will our future wars be fought? I love Apple but I realize that when one company become as big and powerful as Apple, problems will follow and it’s extremely important that Apple works with good ethics. When you are big, you have to be kind.

Maybe opposition against Apple Pay could be considered as a guerrilla group’s attempt to defend themselves from becoming part of Apple’s kingdom?