I am even more convinced today that we live in a cocoon in the United States, self-insulated from developments and -- surprisingly -- technology innovations in other parts of the world.
How else can we explain the hoopla about the "smart watch" Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is reportedly developing to "bring technology closer to the consumer in the form of a wearable wristwatch computing device" as EBN contributor Nicole Lewis puts it in a recent blog?
Here's news for the electronics industry and Apple iWatchers: Similar devices already exist and have been around for some time. Japan's Sony has one and Samsung Electronics is reportedly working on its own. If the news about Samsung is correct, this will intensify the competition between the two companies -- who knows, they might even end up duking it out in another courtroom soon. Click here for a slideshow compiled by InformationWeek on what it called "Smartwatches Past and Present."
If Apple indeed manufactures a smart watch it would be using the same strategy late CEO Steve Jobs used to corner the digital music player, smartphone, and tablet PC markets. This consisted primarily of taking an existing product and elevating it to a stratospheric, customer-friendly high with great design and ease-of-use functionality.
But will the Apple smart watch (iWatch?) wow the market in much the same way as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad? No, it won't. Not because the design and functionality would be less than what we've come to expect of the company, but simply because the potency of the Apple magic dust is waning and customers are being lured away by sometimes more fascinating products from competitors.
One such product in the smart watch category is the Slyde, the brain child of Swiss watch designer Jorg Hysek who approached EMS provider and design outfit Escatec AG with the concept and asked the company to manage the entire process from the design phase all the way to production. Escatec, based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, coordinated all these as part of its specialized system of supporting OEMs with a wide range of services extending from design support to handling most functions involved in supply-chain management and sales support.
Raphael Bertschy, CEO of Slyde Watch SA, wrote in a statement e-mailed to me:
We went to Escatec with just a sketch and a new market niche of combining top-grade, Swiss watchmaking with the intuitive interface technologies of today to give a navigation system of unequalled simplicity and convenience. Their design team worked through all the stages solving all the challenges really quickly and finding suppliers who could deliver solutions to really complex and unusual specs.
Big ticket item
Alright. Let's get one thing clear. The Slyde isn't for the mass market. It retails for about $5,500 each and pricing for a custom-made Slyde (bedazzled with diamonds, for instance) can run into tens of thousands of dollars. I gingerly examined and quickly returned one during a visit to Escatec last year, but after recovering from the sticker shock, I marveled at the slick design and display. If I had $5,500 to play with, I would probably own a Slyde watch today. For technology watchers who care about the innards of the device, the Slyde is equipped with an ARM9 32-bit 400MHz processor, 1 GByte of flash memory, and 64MB of RAM.
The watch had to be slim to be elegant, We got it down to 10mm thick, which included designing a special USB-like interface for the watch that enables it to be recharged and have new software, pictures and video uploaded.
The Slyde is on display this week at the Embedded World 2013 Exhibition & Conference in Nuremberg, Germany. If you have the time, watch the video below to see how the Slyde works. It might just convince you whatever Apple has in development better be really good to win in this market:
>>Today I saw a demo of the Pebble smartwatch. It left me well unimpressed. So, I thought then that Apple is going to deliver something worth whatever price tag it has.<<
The fact that, good things only exist in the minds of those who appreciate them, does not necessarily mean majority of consumers do not prefer quality over quantity. No doubt, i have an admiration for Apple's products upon which i'm still sticking to Nokia(phone) in as much as no degradation to its functioning parts.
Dont forget that - the only permanent thing in OEM industry is change, this operates at a very faster rate. No matter what price would become an important factor too no matter the level of quality designs you have out there. If not now but soon.
"Apple's iwatch would try to beat the existing and extreme low price ones. But can it? If yes, how?"
No, I don't think Apple is worried about beating the low prices of other products. That has never been Apple's strategy. Bringing interesting and innovative products is what Apple looks for. The question now is what is Apple going to come up with, with all these other smartphones already in the market.
Today I saw a demo of the Pebble smartwatch. It left me well unimpressed. So, I thought then that Apple is going to deliver something worth whatever price tag it has.
There's panic amongst the top players in mobile industry and it might continue to affect them one way or another. As innovations emerge on daily basis so also prices drop of electronics devices are creeping in steadily. Surely, Apple's iwatch would try to beat the existing and extreme low price ones. But can it? If yes, how?
". . . it cannot underdeliver. Not even when it didn't promise!"
Exactly. I believe Apple has to feel under pressure. Maybe for the first time? If Apple undelivers it might be the first step downhill. This time is better not to rush a product --as it happened with Maps--.
I am not convinced even the great Apple will make a truly successful smart watch. However I am usually wrong and it would be interesting to see this new product on the market. Does anyone have an ideas what the spec of the device will likely be?
EBN Dialogue enables you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Open to the entire EBN community of electronics supply chain experts, these conversations see ideas shared, comments made, and questions asked and answered in real time. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats. Stay tuned and join in!