Some Thoughts On Watches

One of my most controversial predictions at year end was:

The Apple Watch will not be the homerun product that iPod, iPhone, and iPad have been. Not everyone will want to wear a computer on their wrist.

With the Pebble Time making records on Kickstarter this month, with the iWatch coming soon, and with a host of Android powered watches coming to market, it sure feels like the “watch moment” in tech.

However, I continue to think that these computers on your wrist are not going to be a mainstream thing.

Monday night we went out to dinner with a bunch of tech investors in LA. Not one of the women at the table was interested in wearing an iWatch or any other “smartwatch”. Not one of them. They all said that watches are jewelry for them and they are interested in beauty and fashion on their wrists, not features and functions. Only one of the men was interested in an iWatch and he said he wouldn’t wear it but he wanted to “play with it.”

Yesterday at the Morgan Stanley Internet Conference, I was on stage with Bill Gurley and Alfred Lin and we were asked about the iWatch. There were several hundred public market tech investors in the room. I asked the room how many wore watches. About half raised their hands. I then asked how many were going to get the iWatch. About 20% raised their hands.

If 40% of watch wearers get an iWatch, then its going to be a massive hit. But that was a room full of tech investors.

I guess to some extent this is a question of expectations. And I have no idea what the expectations are for iWatch sales this year. I don’t really care about iWatch. But I am interested how many people who carry a smartphone in our pockets and purses will wear a companion device on our wrists. I just don’t think it will be that large of a percentage.

And every time I ask the question of real people who have the means to buy anything they want, I get answers that more or less reinforce my views.

So take that for what it’s worth. Soon enough we will know the real answer. And it is important because developers will build for this new platform. New applications will emerge for this platform. And it really matters if its the next big mobile device category or if its more of a niche business.


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Apple understands that to win, the watch is fashion first. Fashion redefined.Just like they understood that the smartphone was not about making calls.Ad below is a $200K spread as part of a $2.2M campaign in Vogue.

    1. Brad Lindenberg

      What a waste of money. An Instagram user with 1.2m followers receives more reach than a print ad in Vogue. Vogue has printed circulation of 1.2 million… thats basically nothing. I understand that its a ‘branding’ exercise but still think its $2.2m down the drain.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Bullish on Instagram advertising, are ya? ;-)(you make a very good point, BTW)

        1. Brad Lindenberg

          I know economics of magazines very well because my start-up (before pivoting) enabled eCommerce from the pages of magazines. We had products that were ‘shoppable’ off the page of magazines across over 20m printed copies of titles such as Women’s Day, People, OK! Magazine etc, and the engagement was tiny compared to circulation –…Instagram has eaten their breakfast!

          1. JimHirshfield

            Media is like that. You can garner attention with pages in a magazine, with editorial online, with 140 character snippets, with images…it doesn’t matter to some degree. Start with reach, then monetize specific to that audience. So, @disqus_Awy3Cl8ObF:disqus has a point, the audiences vary (at least from perceived value from advertisers’ perspectives)

          2. Brad Lindenberg

            If you want to be perceived as cool in fashion, you have to be in Vogue, regardless of actual effectiveness, its just part of the game.

          3. JimHirshfield

            No one thinks I’m cool anymore. 🙁

      2. awaldstein

        Huge believer in Instagram.Investor in a rapidly growing wellness company with a strong community on Instagram.But–you are simply not correct as it relates to this industry. As it relates not to some scrappy startup but to someone like Apple who is redefining a sector from the top down and the bottom up.In the Fashion world, pubs and social nets are part of the same ecosystem. Editorial in Vogue, W, placement back stage at Fashion Week drive sales. Build Brand.Not to say that vertical online communities/pubs like PopSugar doesn’t build brand but to single focus on social nets as marketing in total is not how to win.

        1. Brad Lindenberg

          I totally understand why Apple are doing it – just think magazines are done however its nice to see shiny pages with beautiful photos of your own products on them. Apple is getting more value from people like yourself talking about the Vogue placement to much larger audiences than Vogue actually has itself!!

          1. awaldstein

            Hey–different ways to win.I do it by understanding the unique behavior and community dynamics of the markets I’m working in.Markets are unique. Consumers are multifaceted. People buy brand not product.No one understands that more than Apple.

          2. Chimpwithcans

            The product helps though – If the watch does to fashion/time-keeping what the Ipod did to music – then it will also help sales.

          3. awaldstein

            I didn’t say the product, the best product wasn’t necessary just that the brand is the customer experience and the company articulation and the community embrace of it.Back when, good enough with community was good enough. I sold 78M Sound Blasters based on a good enough product and the best community and developer support possible.As single channel, single product, single closed systems went away, so did that.The world is better for it. The job of the marketer more coherent and tied to the real world with it.

          4. Girish Mehta

            There was a time when Sound Blaster was synonymous with PC audio for consumer….

          5. awaldstein

            I was employee #3 for them in the states and built the brand, the channel and created the developer org.From a mailsack with 1500 BRCs to 3700 worldwide developers, from just about zero to $1B in revenue in 4 years.Good run. 300K air miles a year reporting directly into Singapore.

          6. Chimpwithcans

            Hmm interesting – If i understand you correctly, Apple is still aiming for that single channel (iStores), single product (making the Watch totally unique, somehow….1 of a kind), single closed system (Apple ecosystem) …is that how you would see it?

          7. awaldstein

            Apple rules cause I/you/we are their sales force.Yes–on one hand they are the most controlled, the most closed, the most unsocial–of all approaches.Yet–we love them, their products, free support and I/you/we make them successful by sharing our delight.That delight is their job to create. The product is just the platform to create.And as a marketer and advisor, that delight is what I try to discover in every brand I build.

          8. Chimpwithcans

            Buying another mac this week actually – looking fwd to the delight of opening that box.

          9. Russell

            If you think print is done, have a look at a recent New Yorker. They are killing it with ad and subs revenue. Would imagine Vogue has similar success. Print isn’t only your local newspaper.

          10. JimHirshfield

            For sure. But it’s suffering and shrinking. When there are fewer and fewer print choices, those that persist, persevere, and innovate capture some (much?) of the audience that has left the dead/dying print pubs.

          11. Brad Lindenberg

            They must have a good sales team.

    2. fredwilson

      for sure. but i have not found a single woman yet who wants to put that thing on her wrist

      1. awaldstein

        Nor i.I’m not necessarily a believer nor a user but i’m watching very closely to see how they are approaching fashion just as how they approached and changed the CE world.Fashion is just odd and so so powerful.Realizing how to leverage the interrelationship between nutrition, perishable beverages, the wellness world and pure crossover fashion and luxury goods has honestly, been a kick.

        1. LE

          Fashion ties into the product for sure but I don’t think it’s about fashion I think that’s a red herring. I don’t think the watch is about fashion anymore than I think that liquor is about what the liquor tastes like.Liquor solves a problem for people and it’s wrapped into a product that is well marketed. (As cigarettes used to be..) But most importantly, it solves a problem. Without that problem there wouldn’t be anywhere near the amount of liquor sales that there are. [1]So the question is “what is the problem that the Apple watch solves?” If you look at it from that perspective it’s easy to see that it has very little to do with a fashion offering although that is being used as a way to get people to be more likely to use it to solve the problem. (Same way a Porsche is about solving a transportation problem but you will pay more for a Porsche because of the fashion of it to solve that problem.)So the story is then that the Apple watch is solving a problem that people don’t realize they need to solve just like the iphone in a way did and is now (as all smartphones) indispensable. (Or the PC prior to that).[1] This is separate than why you might enjoy wine of course. And let’s face it wine without the alcohol wouldn’t be of much interest, correct?

          1. awaldstein

            well articulated. not my view.solving problems is not what consumer change agent products are about.

          2. LE

            I guess we will have to disagree on this one. Or maybe I just don’t understand what you mean by “solving problems are not what consumer change agent products are about”.For me the iphone solved many problems (even back in 2007 v1) that made it valuable to me as a consumer. [1]And what about ezpass? You will not find anyone that uses Ezpass and doesn’t think it’s the greatest thing there ever was.[1] Likewise every small business owner that bought a PC in the 80’s got it because it solved a problem (accounts receivable, inventory, accounts payable etc).

          3. awaldstein

            All good. Good discussion.My view is that need is great, want is stronger.Want where need is there (the problem) even better.

          4. Girish Mehta

            Many recent successful consumer products have been about wants, not needs. Needs are Limited and usually known by customer even if they are “Unmet needs”.Wants are not Limited. Doesn’t mean creating wants is easy. Wants are a function of the ingenuity and imagination of the supplier. But that is where the consumer product side is increasingly going rather than solving problems and meeting needs (I have mixed feelings about that, but thats a different discussion). Thanks.

          5. awaldstein

            Couldn’t agree more.Every single consumer brand I’ve built that had explosive growth was driven by touching the core dynamics of the customer. What they wanted. What empowered them.It’s a beautiful thing when it happens.

          6. Girish Mehta

            This is where I think Christensen’s “Jobs to be Done” paradigm seems to run into some challenges. Its a very good way to look at the B2B side, but not so much on consumer.To some degree, that applies to the Innovator’s Dilemma as well…not to take away from the fact that it was groundbreaking in the late 90s, and has held up very, very well till today w.r.t most business markets. But on consumer, there can be exceptions to the innovator’s dilemma applying to the incumbent leader (or maybe I am missing something and need to re-read it, been a long time :-)).

          7. thinkdisruptive

            JTBD is not Christensen’s paradigm. He borrowed it from Anthony Ulwick, and made it a lot more ambiguous, and in many cases just wrong — the famous milkshake example being a prime case of mis-statement of the approach (… ). Not only does this article detail the mistakes in Christensen’s interpretation, it shows exactly why it makes just as much sense for b2b as for b2c.Expression of identify, fashion, being leading edge — these are all JTBDs, just as health monitoring, connecting with networks and other devices, and giving a quick at a glance view of more detailed data that exists on your phone are all jobs or pieces of jobs. Aspirational wants can also be jobs.The primary difference between consumer-oriented products and business-oriented ones is that cost and utility are the primary drivers of business choices (does it let me do more for less), whereas consumer choices have a much greater range of jobs to do and reasons to purchase.When correctly applied, there is no better framework than JTBD to express the value you provide, and particularly when developing innovative new products, it is critical to their success — whether it was baked in deliberately, or discovered by accident.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        Maybe they’re waiting for you to put it on their wrist? Once it’s the fashionable thing to do..

    3. JamesHRH

      The issue is that no electronic watch has ever been viewed as beautiful.That eliminates the majority of high end watch buyers, doesn’t it?I mean, this is the origin story of the iWatch –…Ack!

      1. awaldstein

        Who ever thought Uber could exist.Or that you used AirBnB to find a place to stay in Tulum.Or that Blueprint juices, selling in the hundreds of millions of dollars of product, use the front label as a list of ingredients.The past doesn’t define the future in most cases.

        1. JamesHRH

          No, but Fred is right about rich people.They have an excellent track record of being the early adopters of things that become mainstream.All of your examples were things that rich people liked and used, but that the mainstream found uneconomic.He is saying that is not the case for iWatch – rich people wear ornate, old fashion time pieces or, much more infrequently, ultra modern time pieces – b/c the really expensive watches that rich people buy are beautiful jewelry.He is bang on – but so is @andyswan:disqus about potential future use cases.

          1. awaldstein

            I don’t understand what rich people as a category means.For Rollys Royces yes, for Iphone and yoga clothes that is not correct.The biggest change in the market, epitomized by the $2T wellness market is that luxory goods from iphone to Lululemon workout clothes are not the products of the rich.They are choice for expendable income from a very broad range of consumers who choose to spend their surplus dollars.Rich as a category is really irrelevant to most any product except yachts and some cars and real estate.

          2. JamesHRH

            no, rich is a leading indicator for things that all humans would do, if they had the money.It used to be that staff was only for the ultra HNW. Now, lots of people have staff (nannies, landscapers, cleaners).They are the ultimate early adopters. They buy stuff at crazy prices which then creates initial demand that then allows some economy of scale, etc…….Look at how BMW & Audi attack performance vehicles. Used to be only crazy rich people could driven German cars…..

          3. awaldstein

            Understand that.But not how I model markets any longer.Expendable income cross a larger number of income groups is more indicative of how people buy today.This is a tech view of a consumer world that includes tech that for me at least is no longer accurate.

          4. JamesHRH

            Wow.Basic tenet of human nature you are discarding, IMHO.

  2. Joe Marchese

    To avoid confirmation bias, ask people from a range of demographic segments and not just the one of which you are a member.

    1. andyswan

      Agree 100% That’s what we do at LikeFolio and it ain’t lookin good. Posted link elsewhere.

      1. JimHirshfield

        I agree. But it would still have been interesting for Fred to have posted a survey in this post, despite supposed audience uniformity.

  3. Jan Schultink

    For men/geeks without hand bags: if you could somehow put the back of the wrist against your ear for making calls, it could replace carrying a phone aroundFor teens: the screen on your wrist is visible to the outside world. Apps that use bright colours and animations combined with GPS and other (social) technology could make this an interesting ice breaker gadget.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Wrist against my ear…that won’t look odd at all.But seriously, bluetooth earpiece seems more realistic, no?

      1. Jan Schultink

        I was actually serious 🙂 I think it looks about the same as a phablet against your ear…

        1. JimHirshfield

          So, it looks like you’re holding a phone to your ear, but there’s no phone in your hand. This will garner stares the same way chatting Kathy’s with bluetooth earpieces garnered stares when those earpieces were first released. 😀

  4. Steve Hallock

    I’ve written about this quite a bit on my blog and had lots of discussions with all my “watch people”. The bottom line for me is that smart watches will not be a major hit until someone develops a must have feature. Right now everything they do is nice-to-have at best. Choosing a watch (or not) relies on a unique psychology that I do not think these companies fully appreciate. It will take a have-to-have feature to overcome this. An example would be government identification or universally accepted secure payments.

    1. fredwilson

      what do you know about watches Steve? 🙂

      1. Steve Hallock

        For once my silly, unintended niche is actually mainstream relevant! ;)In all seriousness, I wrote a piece for an international magazine a couple months ago on Apple and how they are in many ways a luxury company more than a tech Co. The beauty of the iPhone is that it is luxury for the masses – – the nicest product in the world (look at it next to a Vertu) at a price attainable by most. The Watch is not using the same formula exactly.However, I must admit that I also have never found a use for an iPad, and this would be an example of Apple taking a product class that everyone else had failed with and making a must-have product without really changing it at all (lots of tablets before and after, none particularly successful)

        1. LE

          Ipad sales are actually down from what I have read:…My history with the ipad is as follows:- Bought v1 (heavy one) and sold it didn’t ever use it. (And I never sell things that I buy typically).- Bought ipad mini with LTE so I can tether if needed. Literally never use it, it sits in my bag waiting for an emergency.That said I work in front of a desk with 3 large 27″ Apple LCD’s so I don’t really like using any small screen.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Not sure you’re the norm in terms of tablet use. Although if I’m at my desk I much prefer a laptop over a tablet. However will sometimes use the tablet or phone for the quicker app version of something. But I do wonder if that iPad number you saw is influenced by so many other viable options out there.When I was doing the research to buy a new tablet recently the reviews were skewed toward iPad but there were strong contenders and even more so for business users. I ended up with the Samsung.Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 with blue tooth keyboard because I wanted the option of leaving my laptop behind when traveling or out and about without losing too much productivity.

          2. LE

            I wanted the option of leaving my laptop behind when travelingI can’t even imagine doing that. I travel with both a MB Air 13 and a MB Air 11 (as a backup or if I want an extra screen). Also an ipad mini but that’s primarily as a wifi hotspot. An iphone, and an old iphone as well. If being connected is important (for business) then it pays to take what is needed in case of a random failure. I also have a couple of other fail safe things that I do as well.I am not what you would call a “travel light” person. I know people get into all this “minimalist” stuff but I don’t mind being prepared if it only involves some extra effort.What does your laptop weigh? A MB13 Air only weighs about 3 lbs. a MB11 only weighs about 2.5 lbs. I’m seeing that the Galaxy, not including the keyboard you mention weighs 1.66 lbs.

    2. Cam MacRae

      >>It will take a have-to-have feature to overcome this.You mean like an in-house movement 😉

      1. JimHirshfield

        I had quite an outhouse movement this morning. But this is neither the place nor the time to ass-brag.

        1. Cam MacRae


    3. James harradence

      Steve – bang on. BB was a 2 way pager without email.I don’t know what it is but my bet is health related.@danielha – pleas fix your product. JamesHRH

    4. JamesHRH

      Bang on Steve.BB was a 2 way pager until email.My bet is that the killer app is health related (the no killer app?).DANIEL HA ALERT! – OMG fix the iOS product. Had to pull out my laptop to post.

  5. Barry Nolan

    When you left your house today, you took three things.- your phone- your keys- your credit cards.Apple are looking own all three three. Two simply happen to be in a Watch form factor – and will simplify a range of very personal jobs (from health monitoring, to payments, to door unlocking).

    1. JimHirshfield

      “…you took three things…”Then why did I have a backpack and a gym bag? Am I an outlier?

      1. Barry Nolan

        No yoga mat?

        1. JimHirshfield

          Yoda mat, maybe.

          1. Russell

            wah wah wah

          2. JimHirshfield

            Downward Facing Dog, or no Downward Facing Dog. There is no try.

    2. Eric

      But the functionality of my keys and wallet could easily be duplicated by my phone. Why would I want a second device on my wrist to do things my phone can already do?Health monitoring is the one thing the phone can’t do, but that doesn’t seem to be a set the world on fire feature that everyone will shell out money for.

  6. vruz

    Wrist computers are the future! :-)…

    1. vruz

      Deleted this post, I think I found a bug, debugging

  7. Bobby Reardon

    As Steve once said, the consumer doesn’t know what they want until you show them (in April).

    1. JimHirshfield

      But I think we’ve been shown…some time ago…what the Apple Watch looks like and what it does.

      1. Bobby Reardon

        You can still read conflicting reports on what the features are.I think it will be wildly successful once the broader public can get their hands on it. Remember how the ipod and early versions of the iphone were a status symbol and everyone had to have one? I think the same will be true for the watch.

        1. JimHirshfield

          I agree that there will be 3rd party integrations, as yet unannounced. But there’s already a features page on apple’s website. But I know it’s different for consumers – they need to have it in-hand to get it sometimes.

  8. laurie kalmanson

    Expensive watches are part craftsmanship part science part diamonds and gold and part brandingCurious to see if Apple makes the watch for the mall shopper and does the Cartier Rolex rare metals and precious stones version as suggested in the recent long New Yorker mag piece on Jony Ive20k for a watch is conspicuous consumption no matter how special the handwork — put enough diamonds on the upmarket iWatch and it can sell for 20k too

  9. Paul White

    In some ways this is a two part question that starts with “when is a phone, not a phone”. I remember not to long ago when it was clear that a small phone was cool because it was convenient (remember the Moto StarTac vs. the bag phone you had 12 months prior?). Now phones are big and bulky, and a pain to carry and use. That makes the “when is a watch not (just) a watch” a companion question (and device). If the SIM was in the watch, I could keep my iPad in my bag and use the watch for most real phone functions… And it will look and work like a piece of jewelry at the same time… That will get traction.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Exaggerate one end of the spectrum to make the other look good.e.g. The introduction of light beers in the 80’s opened the market wide open for craft brews at the other end of the spectrum.Ergo, Apple jumps on board to make a phablet (iPhone 6+) so that their intro of the tiny Apple Watch serves a need (“I don’t feel like pulling out my _massive_ phone right now”)

  10. JimHirshfield

    1/ “Told ya so” post; Good on you ;-)2/ Agreed. I don’t need phone alerts on my wrist; I’m not that lazy that I can’t check my phone when needed. 3/ And I’m not that frenetic that I need to see every incoming notification as it happens.4/ Of the 10 of us in the NYC Disqus office, 8 are iPhone users. None of them plan to buy an Apple Watch, or so they say.5/ There’s a difference between phone productivity feature set (for the wrist) and bio-tracking (for the wrist).6/ I’m very interested in tracking my health, especially sleep and swimming. The number of wristbands that do this really well is limited…and the best-reviewed ones have been delayed or out-of-stock.7/ What’s up with this practice of announcing wearables 6 months before they’re even real or available?!!! (I’m lookin’ at you Basis Peak, Withing Activite Pop, and Jawbone UP3)8/ Does anyone have the time?9/ So pumped to have you posting before lunch. My mornings haven’t been the same.10/ Fin

    1. fredwilson

      /fin !!!!!!!!!

      1. JimHirshfield


    2. ShanaC

      why do they hate swimmers. I don’t know. Swimming is good for you!

      1. JimHirshfield

        There are a smaller number of swimmers than runners + bikers + walkers.

  11. Val Tsanev

    Personally I have zero interest in iWatch. I totally agree with the statement watches are jewelry and statement of beauty and fashion and as long as this remains true “smartwatches” will never take over…

  12. Jonas

    The iPad of the wrist…

  13. Guest

    nailed it

  14. andyswan

    Our data shows that consumers are NOT enthusiastic about the Apple Watch and it will very likely miss analyst expectations:

    1. fredwilson

      wow. that’s super interesting data. thanks Andy

      1. LE

        By the way you say that it seems you are confirming some bias that you already have toward the product. Similar to the fact that since I am bullish on the product I am cynical about the data (and happy to admit that).

        1. Jeff Snider

          Apple Watch is a marketing gimmick. Just like iTouch have transformed into iPhone 6 (form factor, i mean), the Watch is just an ipod with a strap.In this case, Apple is just playing it to the hype. There is no serious innovation around it

    2. Salt Shaker

      TWTR data may be stat projectable in terms of it’s mass reach but the data isn’t necessarily representative of the public at large, or perhaps in the case of iWatch, fashion forward consumers. It would have been a bit more interesting to cross-tab data among TWTR users who have a fashion sensibility, where the buzz factor and “purchase intent” indicators for iWatch might be considerably higher, assuming access to this type of TWTR data is even avail to a third-party company (presumably not).

      1. andyswan

        Disagree that the apple watch is a fashion play rather than a tech play.  In fact, almost all of our data coming from “fashion” subset of users (yes can be identified) shows even lower enthusiasm (downright apathy/dislike) than Tech-leader crowd.

        1. Salt Shaker

          Cool you can do that type of segmentation analysis, Andy. I think at the higher iWatch price points it very much will be a fashion play and image will trump functionality. At the lower price points considerably less so. More units will be sold at the lower end w/ better margins at the higher end, although overall sales projections do seem quite ambitious.

          1. andyswan

            Sounds reasonable to me.

        2. awaldstein

          Really great data Andy.Still think it is a fashion market approach.In Asia though my bet is that tech/fashion will simply fade into one.

        3. Dave Pinsen

          Makes you wonder what might have been. In some alternate history, Flavor Flav could have started a watch company, had it acquired by Apple, and become a billionaire.

          1. andyswan

            Now the flava flav smart necklace watch I would buy.

          2. Dave Pinsen

            Could look something like this.

      2. LE

        Agree. Data is to limited to be of use. It’s just another arrow in the quiver for the doubters essentially.Reminds me a bit when my dad used to shop for opinions on things. We had a going joke because he would ask the most random people their thoughts on things that they had no reason to know anything about. Like asking the Radio Shack salesman “hey do you think I should get xyz feature on my new car”. Like Dad, who gives a shit what the Radio Shack salesman thinks!

        1. BillMcNeely

          Seems like a lot of others don’t care what the radio Shack guys thinks either

        2. andyswan

          We are “surveying” millions of people for indications of interest in the Apple Watch and comparing it to a very similar sample for prior product launches. I just don’t understand this idea that all of English speaking twitter is a flawed sample.In any event, it’s been a fantastic earnings’ season trading on this data vs Wall St expectations.

    3. Supratim Dasgupta

      Andy, IMO the reason 70% ppl were interested in buying the iPad is because the use cases were very clear and they could see the value. They knew they would have a lager screen to read books+ it will have almost the same apps as the iPhone. Incase of iWatch we still dont know what all things it will do.We can imagine all sorts of great use cases but how many will be developed by when nobody is sure.In absense of apps the device doesnt have much appeal. I would run this analysis the week after iWatch releases it features(sensors,monitors) , then people will have a clearer idea of what this device can deliver.

      1. andyswan

        Totally agree.  We are constantly watching for change to this trend as more info becomes avail to consumers.

    4. LE

      I don’t think we can draw many conclusions from two totally different products at two totally different points in time. Not enough “n” there. Besides no way to even include the same info for iphone back in 2007 and what people said about that.And what about using the same methodology for other product launches?The only common denominator for these two cases is “Apple made the product”.

      1. andyswan

        The other critical commonality is that the product’s target audience is people who bought an iPhone. That audience is FAR less enthusiastic about buying an Apple Watch than they were about buying an iPad leading to its launch. Wall St analysts are using that same comparison, but assuming that the apple watch will get the same % of iPhone owners to buy as the iPad did.  We are simply saying “not so fast” to that assumption.

        1. LE

          Don’t get me wrong. I love the iphone, bought the first one in 2007 [1]And I really have no need or desire for an Apple Watch. But I think if it ends up doing things that I think it will do and things that I haven’t thought of, I will.[1] See attached picture which was the reaction of some random people on a cruise ship that I left on the day after getting one when it was first released. And I have to tell you also that every single foreign (Phillipino) waiter on that cruise ship said “oh wow that’s an iphone” and lusted for it. An amazing reaction. Everyone wanted to hold it.

          1. andyswan

            Oh I agree!  I wouldn’t bet against Apple and fully expect that as we know more about it and see use cases the more popular it’ll get. I think my basic point is people aren’t as excited about this product pre-launch as the street is assuming.

          2. ErikSchwartz

            Especially at the price point. It’s too expensive for a “what the heck give it a shot” purchase. Carrier subsidies drove the early growth of the iPhone.

          3. LE

            Well you know that’s just the early adopter price they will obviously offer less expensive versions as the bugs get fleshed out.Here’s the thing. People who pay more might even be more likely to deal with any faults or lack of utility at the start and besides there are less of them to moan and groan. [1] Once the bugs get cleared out you then get lower price versions into the pipeline. Not as low as everyone else, but low enough to get the next level of users to try the product.Point: You don’t want to sell a large number at first so you want a high price given what you will be offering.Apple, like Porsche (they make 1 less car than the market demands) will make sure that the product is in shorter supply than whatever the market forecast would typically be. That way (at least at the start) they won’t have to deal with “not selling well” issues.[1] There is a psychological principle for this although I don’t remember the name of it.

          4. awaldstein

            i think that this is not ‘give it a shot’ it’s an ‘i want it’ purchase. Shiny thing in the grass aka fashion.I’ve learned that the market size for niche top of the line products is really huge at times.Amazed and happy that even a a small niche like my investment in wellness & beverages, the market size for premium juices will be $20B this year, up some 35%.Price isn’t invariably a deterring element. Often a defining one.

          5. laurie kalmanson

            see also $5 coffee

          6. awaldstein

            I love selling premium products.It’s not about transactions its about acquiring customers. Selling value, embracing brand, building community.Lulitonix is a case in point. Thousands of bottles of blends selling at the top of the market price, surrounded by a discounted array of brands and just growing strongly.

          7. laurie kalmanson

            rock on

          8. awaldstein

            Lianna is a force and my dollars says that she is going to make this happen. Strong signs.

          9. laurie kalmanson

            magic 8-ball says …

          10. Matt Kruza

            Second the carriers subsidy points. People don’t realize the impact that did and still DOES play

          11. JamesHRH

            That’s a bang on statement Andy.

        2. markslater

          the difference between the ipad and the watch as it relates to pre-launch demand – is that it feels like it wad far more obvious what the ipad did prior to launch than it does with the watch.

          1. andyswan


        3. SubstrateUndertow

          <bockquote>”The Apple Watch will not be the homerun product that iPod, iPhone, and iPad have been. Not everyone will want to wear a computer on their wrist.”<bockquote>Is this a big picture assertion or a short term assertion/discussion?If this is short-term assertion/discussion then it is a no brainer especially to those inside Apple.The healthkit, homekit, carkit killer use-case sensors/actators required to make the iWatch a transparently convenient personal-cloud info/controller-hub “a-must-have” consumer product are clearly not in place yet.The iWatch is the most ambitious foundational-long-play product that Apple has ever attempted. I don’t think that fact is lost on them!It will clearly be a much slower lift off than the iPod, iPhone or iPad.The works-with-iPhone-only approach is clearly a stop-gap staging-process affair waiting on better battery, stand-alone-App-development, must-have home/health/car-kit sensors/actuators and most importantly more advanced voice control.Battery integration into the strap is surely coming in order to support standalone functionality but as usual Apple will drop one incremental improvement at a time as marketing extraction, innovation timelines and camouflaged intentions dictate.Many iWatch personal-digital-nervious-system-extention sensors/actuators need only serve a single important personal function to warrant the $350 purchase price and those functions can serve very mundane but subjectively important needs.Examples:- old people pill taking reminders with matching digitally controlled pill dispensers- programmable sound processing sent via blue-tooth to a matching hearing aids – adjust processing to environment or sound extraction priorities – lower sound levels and monitor for key words to volume up – sound monitoring and warning functions – translation services, for the deaf, sound to tactile translations and for the mentally challenged situationally fired key sound stimuli – sound triangulation via multiple watches- for the blind all manner of sight to tactile/audio translations- when remote continuous glucose munitioning sensors arrive bingo 10s of millions sold on that single function alone same goes for bloodpressure- all manner of personal/industrial proximity safety/synchonization monitoring functions bingo millions sold on that single function category alone- the list of potential single functions that alone could warrant the price tag of the iWatch is endless.In three to five years time we will look back and scratch our heads at this controversy ! This will, in the long run, be Apple’s most significant product to date not just for the iWatch itself but more importantly for it ability to consolidate Apple’s integrated ecosystem moat around a large collection of mundanely-important personal-cloud sensors/actuators/synchronizers/translators.Sure we all tend to feel like we have have arrived in the future with all our new personal-cloud/cyber-contorl smartphone powers but using rational introspection we all know this ride is just starting to accelerate. We are just scratching the iceberg on all manner of personal-sensors/actuators/synchronizers/translators and cyber-agency persona extensions.As all these emerging personal-digital-nervous-system-extensions and cyber-agency-persona-extensions coalesce into serious wet-ware interface-overload the imperative to shrink them into a conveniently-transparent integrative background function is Apple’s long term iWatch goal/profit-prize.Lets also recognize that whatever approach succeeds at best meeting our needs for a personal-cloud digital-nervous-system-extension interface-hub, one of its key value-propositions will be the vendor trust factor, something that Apple has now started to push as one of its narrative.As for the jewellery angle the iWatch is no more jewellery than the iPhone was a phone but like the iPhone it must camouflage its functionality inside a traditional role until its extended-functions-value can reach critical mass at which point the jewellery-design will be only the icing on the cake.

      2. Andy Orr

        Would like to inject some facts here. When the iPad was announced 42 million iPhones had already been sold, yet the “expert” predictions for iPad sales ranged from 1.1 to 7M. The tech bloggers predictions ranged from 3 to 9M. First year sales turned out to be 14.8M. So what was the % of iPhone owners that bought? Apply that to current user base, and you get sales of over 120M watches. That’s not going to happen, but you should get my point. Watch can be much less successful than the iPad and still outsell almost all of the predictions people have made.

        1. andyswan

          Your data points are off. There were over 100m iPhones in use when iPad launched. Now there are around 320mmMy post addresses these. iPad sales as % of iPhones in use IS the metric Wall St is using to project Apple Watch sales of 30-40 million.We think Apple Watch will sell a significantly lower number as a percentage of iPhone owners.

          1. Andy Orr

            I trust Asymco on this, and his figures for iPhones in use at announcement or launch (1/10 or 4/10) are much lower than 100m. It doesn’t really matter. I also agree that the Watch will sell at a lower %, but Wall St. isn’t predicting 30-40m. Gene Munster, for example, is predicting 8m in 2015. My overall point, however, is that it is silly to compare it to the iPad or even the iPhone. There is a much better developed ecosystem in 2015. This will drive adoption by the much larger user base. Sales will be strong. I think Apple will be selling as many as they can build. How many do you think they will sell in 2015?

          2. andyswan

  … Ubs is at 30mm and I’ve seen analysts at 50mmWe think there is demand for 9-12 million units based on enthusiasm levels in social media._____________________________

    5. beidaren

      Hmmm, horse farmers don’t want cars, they want faster horses.

    6. thinkdisruptive

      If Apple sold 9-14M of these, that would be a huge success for the first year. The question that I have is why even that many? What is the JTBD (job to be done)? If the more fashionable watch was in the $500-1000 range (not 10K), I might consider buying one as a WATCH first and foremost, and the rest of the functionality just doesn’t do much for me. The cheap version does nothing for me at all, other than not looking as geeky as the Android watches. It may eventually sell this well, but there needs to be at least one compelling reason to buy this besides being a fancy watch for numbers anything like this to materialize. Otherwise, the Swiss do quite a fine job of status jewelry.

      1. andyswan

        Agree but 9-14mm is under expectations

        1. thinkdisruptive

          Yes, but expectations driven solely by calculating a percentage of iPhones don’t make sense. Your numbers are more rational than the street, but I have to have a reason to buy one. I don’t have money burning a hole in my pocket that I’m dying to give Apple. When I understand a unique JTBD (other than it has the Apple logo on it, which admittedly will drive a percentage of buy it to try it sales) for this product, then I’ll confidently project sales based on a percentage of phone users. Right now, I don’t see people who routinely wear watches switching and making this their exclusive watch (this is necessary to get the value from it, and most watch wearers have several of them to match their clothes or activities), nor do I envision masses of people who’ve given up wearing watches stampeding to put one on again. Yes, there will be switchers, but it really needs a compelling unique JTBD to overcome these hurdles.

  15. Dana Hoffer

    If the watch simplifies, unlikely because it is a +1, it may have a chance. The key trend I am looking at is simplification… and that goes to basics like security and Blockchain. Without simplification it, the watch in this case, will not happen as there just too many dynamics overwhelming people.

  16. LIAD

    read somewhere Apple Watch will have special reserve battery just to power time-telling watch functionality. – because, duh, no-one wants to wear a brick on their wrist. (and apple clearly knows they will be most the time)i haven’t worn a watch in ever (same goes for jewelry – rings on men – yuck), yet am increasingly bullish on the form factor simply because sooner or later it will have functionality to open your car/pay at a store/withdraw from an ATM/take all kind of body diagnostics – and then they will become invaluable. -would still prefer to have that functionality subdermally. i want the functionality – i don’t want the ‘status/fashion aspect’

  17. iggyfanlo

    We at Lively ( are reimaginging the medical alert business (think Help I’ve Fallen and cannot get up) with a fashion forward Safety Watch. It’s a $5.6 B global monthly recurring revenue business with 80%+ gross margins. I guess you could call that a niche, but not only is the financial opportunity amazing, it also now puts fashionable wearability on the senior population. So as much as we do love FitBits, etc, that’s the 1% of the wealthy and healthy. 70% of global health care spending is focused on the elderly, if you’re not focused on that, it’s kinda besides the point.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Friggin’ brilliant. Great idea. Wishing you much success!!

      1. iggyfanlo

        Thanks… first for me to work on something good and potentially very profitable

        1. JimHirshfield

          In the 70’s my dad wired a door-bell like device, on my grandmother’s bedside table, that would ring in her next door neighbor’s apartment. Grandma lived alone and this was the wired version of “I’ve fallen down and can’t get up”. It may have even been two-way, so that the elderly ladies could look out for each other’s health and safety. Things have evolved, haven’t they?

          1. William Mougayar

            In some homes, they have pull-down bells in various rooms to call for help or service (as in-house maids).

          2. JimHirshfield

            You’re summoning Downton Abbey? Mr. Barrow is on his way up.

          3. William Mougayar


  18. Carsten Pingel

    2 reflections where I don’t really share your perspective on the iWatch (even though I also think it will be a much smaller category than other Apple-products) 1. I think asking the question of purchase intention is some how the wrong way to measure expected sales. You might have gotten the same answers when we were in the pre-launch of the iPad some years ago.2. I agree on some of the comments on this being a fashion item – therefore comparing the watch directly is not totally fair just because it share the same Apple OS. Launching the iWatch is in this respect very different to the iPhone that actually expand a high end category to the masses. The iWatch will instead be more of a a middle category fashion item in terms of pricing – luxury watches are way above in terms of pricing. The overall interesting thing here is in my opinion therefore whether apple can create a fashion item in this category

  19. DaveGoulden

    I bought the first Pebble on Kickstarter and must admit it was fun as a conversation piece but ultimately the functionality didn’t win out over the downside over the clunkiness of an early product like this and I stopped wearing.Apple will solve the clunkiness but I agree with Fred that the functionality is not going to be strong enough to sustain demand after the novelty wears off.

    1. JimHirshfield

      “… and I stopped wearing.” <—that. Um Hmm.

    2. laurie kalmanson

      same; i gave it away to someone who wanted to try it. but there were lots of MP3 players before iPod, and now iPod is in your phone

  20. Bernard Desarnauts

    Fred, you are indeed making again a very controversial prediction here!Trying to avoid being an Apple fan boy, here is the way I think about it.First I remember that the years pre-iPhone, the whole industry trend was about making phones smaller and more fashion-desirable (remember the Razr?) to notably appeal more to women who clearly didn’t want to carry these large blackberrys in their purses… well we know what happened to that theory.Then, thinking that this device is a Watch is the fundamental filter flaw IMHO. This is not about competing with the brand aesthetics and emotions provided by a time piece on your wrist, rather it is about having a new piece of tech that tracks some of my key health signals, allows me to do secure/private/easy transactions and to start will also allow me to glance at important stuff in ways that will be more appropriate or funFinally similarly that tegic/early phones created the SMS culture, i do believe that Apple has a chance to create a whole new communication protocol based on their taptic engine.All together conservatively I think one should look at the Fitbit /Up type volumes to assess initial market potential.

  21. Brad Lindenberg

    I think the killer use case for the watch is going to be notifications. Instead of taking your phone out of your pocket, you can just look at your watch to see the latest email, text, whatsapp etc. Not everyone will value this enough to justify buying a watch, however it took time for people to start buying up iPads (albeit they are much more functional that a watch).My start-up is a platform that enables people to add TV shows and sports to their mobile calendars and 15 min before a program is about to air it notifies you in your calendar of the airing and the channel you can find it on your cable box – e.g. you can add the NASCAR schedule to your calendar at and then every race goes into your calendar. Or you can add the UFC to your calendar at….What I like about the watch is that our users (that have an Apple Watch) will all receive these notifications on their wrist as calendar notifications are sync’d to the watch. For some use cases like this, the watch is awesome.I explain it on this blog post here:

  22. lisa hickey

    When looking at my predictions for whether a new innovation or technology will take off, I go back and look at the times I was wrong. Looking at the times I was right seems too easy. I knew in a nanosecond that the internet would be as big as it was, or iPods, or ATM’s for that matter (just to date myself).And the time I was really wrong was when camera’s started appearing in phones. Remember when that first started happening, and they were horrible quality and just seemed like a silly add on? And I said “I just don’t see it.”Now I feel like an idiot for not seeing it. And the reason I was wrong was not just because the technology was not well developed (i.e. “pictures were bad”) but because I failed to see photos as a way of communicating — which of course a phone already was. I use the camera all the time as a way way of communicating — “so…this happened”, but also more mundane things like taking a picture of a letter before it is sent to let the person know it is on the way to look out for it. Visual information that becomes a social way of communicating. And of course, I would never buy a phone without a camera again. Absurd.So I agree with the people who believe the iWatch is going to need to go through iterations of technology development — add features that you can’t get elsewhere — that seamlessly fit into your life the way that just simplifies your access to that information before it really takes off. Health monitoring (@Barry Nolan), for sure because having something attached to your body could do that in a way that carrying around a phone couldn’t, secure payments or id (@steve hallock), or social identification (@jan schultink) are all pieces I can see making it indespensible. I can even see dating apps using the watch as “signals” for when you meet people in person. I would think about how the watches visibility would lead to another layer of social communication.But it’s not the “watch” that is the game changer, just like it wasn’t the “camera” that was the game changer. It’s a new way of communicating — with yourself, with others, in a day to day ease of simplicity.Right now the obstacle is that people that are being asked about it are still thinking a watch is a watch.

    1. Jamyn

      Spot on.

    2. JimHirshfield

      Seeing the future is hard. I had no answer for my father many years ago when he asked me why in the world would anyone want a camera on their phone?

    3. LE

      And the time I was really wrong was when camera’s started appearing in phones. Remember when that first started happening, and they were horrible quality and just seemed like a silly add on? And I said “I just don’t see it.”Oh I will “date” you even better on that one.I remember when the first laserwriter came out and I was in the printing industry at the time where high quality typography was the only way to go. And I remember thinking “nobody will use these instead of real typesetting”. [1] And what I found was that plenty of people thought that 300dpi (at the time) was good enough. And of course the machine got much better quality wise as well.At that point I learned a valuable lesson as far as what I view as “good” and what others view as “good” (I am definitely with you on the camera quality but we both know what happened with that.).Never underestimate both the product improving and the crap that early adopters are willing to put up with (or even normal adopters).Remember how products were built before they were built in China? Remember when you repaired things?[1] I actually bought one of the first very expensive Linotronic Laser typesetters that could get hooked up to a Macintosh 512k back in mid 80’s. We had work for it but we also had a tremendous amount of people using laserwriters as camera ready copy.

      1. lisa hickey

        Thanks @LE, oddly I was in Kinkos getting some flyers printed for a conference (how archaic! I hate using paper! What is a “flyer?!”) And it was like a blast from the past— I was thinking of the same thing you describe in your comment! I was an art director a lifetime ago and did actual “set type” and look for ways to make things look good. And that whole distant era came back to me.But that is exactly my point. We thought it was about “looking good”, but looking good was a distant second to the purpose of words on paper. Words on paper was one of the original communication devices there is and we just weren’t seeing it that way. So when something like a laser printer came along that allowed people to communicate with hundreds of people faster, simpler, and cheaper— why wouldn’t that take off? Laser printers made us more social. And then, afterwards, the problem of “looking good” got solved all over again.Start with what you are trying to communicate and the reasons why something you wear on your wrist would make that communication easier, simpler, better, faster. And everything else can be made better after. That is not to say that Apple isn’t baking the “looking good” piece of it into what they are doing right from the start—that is what they are known for.

        1. LE

          What is a “flyer?!”Who can forget the “mimeo” sniffing scene in “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”?We thought it was about “looking good”, but looking good was a distant second to the purpose of words on paper. Words on paper was one of the original communication devices there is and we just weren’t seeing it that way. So when something like a laser printer came along that allowed people to communicate with hundreds of people faster, simpler, and cheaper— why wouldn’t that take off? Laser printers made us more social. And then, afterwards, the problem of “looking good” got solved all over againOne of the first jobs I did for a customer in the printing business was a 1″ thick manual or paper for the physics dept at UofP. Since I didn’t know the business at all (zip) I didn’t know that if you were setting type for the spine you need to allow for the paper bulk. So a bunch of research manuals were printed and perfect bound with the type on the spine off center. Very obvious. I was really worried and thought the Phd’s would bounce the job. But they took one look and loved that they had a book of something that they had written so much they didn’t even notice it. Not at all. Amazing. (Learning in the days before the web and “how do you” and all of that).Another corollary of this is what any photographer will notice when they take pictures of people. The photographer thinks that they have taken a great photo. The person in the photo only cares if “they look good” first and if that is not the case nothing else really matters.



      1. LE

        Disagree. Yes phone camera solved some of the “send” picture problem. But I think if you compare the amount of photos that people take because they always have a camera on them vs. in the past (where you needed to carry a separate device) you will find that the percentage of pictures “sent” is small compared to those that are not sent anywhere.Phones could take pictures before the iphone or similar. But the quality wasn’t good enough (for even normals) and the experience and form factor made it difficult to do so. Iphone made the entire experience/quality way better. You really can’t separate that from the “send” picture problem.Besides I am pretty sure I had a cell phone prior to the iphone that could take and send pictures. But the experience and quality sucked so it didn’t matter that it could send pictures.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Daksh

            Agree with the key point made here. Apple Watch will not “tell time better”. It will have use cases where it acts as a small personal device where whipping out the phone may be considered tedious.- Swipe wrist for making a payment : Aye- Use wrist to scan something for later use/reading etc. : Yes- Control Driver-less Cars : Ho Hum- Act as a solar/motion-powered torch when there is no power around: Standing Ovation 😉

  23. Michelle B

    I agree. Watches are jewelry to me.

  24. rimalovski

    If 40% of the tech community want one, that’s pretty damn good! When Apple shipped the first iPhone, they *only* sold 270k in the first quarter, and 5.5m in the first year. Now i believe they sell well north of 200m units a year!There will be early adopters this year for the Apple Watch in the millions, and I expect it will follow the same adoption cycle that most other tech products follow with many more adopting in the mainstream in 3-5+ years time.

    1. fredwilson

      40% of the watch wearers in the tech communitywhich is 20% of all of them, since about 50% wear watches

      1. rimalovski

        Still a lot of people.

      2. ErikSchwartz

        How big is the “tech community” these days?1M? 5M? 10M?

  25. John Ciasulli

    I used to think the move to tablets was met with similar skepticism to the current temperature around watches… but the more I think about it, the more I find distinct differences. Here are two that I think are going to make it difficult for any product to get widespread adoption.1) tablets were used by designers, engineers, and technologists long before it became mainstream2) Watches are in fact jewelry, and often a signaling good. (I fully intend to get an iWatch, but I only own two watches presently, and both are strictly for being fancy… and I’ve had both for 5+ years)3) For millennials, the iPhone has replaced functionality of the camera, calendar, watch, and a whole host of other products. I don’t quite see why people would now add a watch back into the repertoire, when we already check the phone more than 180 times a… if it’s jewelry, and intended to be a signaling good, then maybe it’s still an interesting product… but, in that case, it doesn’t feel like a revolutionary shift in the mobile landscape.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Grammar police alert:”… but I only own two watches presently…” you mean currently, not presently. Presently, used in this context means that in the immediate future you will own two watches. IOW, presently means the time period beginning right after now, as in, “the doctor will see you presently”

      1. John Ciasulli

        Jim, I’m always open to the idea that I’ve made a mistake… I hope you are too.There are two definitions, “after a short time; soon” and “at the present time; now.” Synonyms including currently.Though I could have worded this better than I did in my stream of consciousness, I didn’t misuse the word.Thanks for keeping me on my toes. :)…

        1. JimHirshfield

          You’re correct. I’m calling on my schooling from decades ago. I think it’s more of a common use thing. Language evolves and of course we all know what “present” means. The adverb version, “ly”, did carry a bit of a different use in my experience. But I’m no English professor.Truthfully, I was just looking for an excuse to cite National Grammar Day, ’cause duh, who cares about all these trivial National ____ Days.

          1. John Ciasulli

            Very true. 🙂

          2. JoeK

            Spot on with the ‘presently’, Mr Hirshfield … Although methinks you seem to have skipped the class during which they taught the use of ‘cues’ rather than ‘queues’ … 😉

          3. JimHirshfield

            Guilty as charged

  26. William Mougayar

    I disagree, just because we haven’t seen the range of Apps that will drive these devices, yet. The key will be to have NEW things that are NOT possible with the smartphone. The smartphone is a companion, not a competitor to a smartwatch or smartband or smartdevice, because you can’t sense stuff from your body out of thin air. Some sensor or device has to touch your body.Yesterday at the Launch Festival, they demoed this incredible breathing and cardiac monitoring device that could be had for $20, and there is more like that coming up.Tim Cook said the Apple Watch will be the “most personal” Apple device ever. So, I’m sure he meant it.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Calling it here first: cease & desist coming soon to acupebble by none other than pebble.

    2. Joe Marchese

      Agree with you… hence my comment about the platform being robust. I’m not looking for iPhone apps to run on a watch. There’s bound to be some apps that try to capitalize on convenience (Apple Pay, car key replacement, et al) but the bigger innovations will leverage components that don’t make sense to include in the phone.

    3. Twain Twain

      @Launch festival and Fred just said, “Terrorists want to f***ing kill the founders” wrt Twitter as his choice of the startup in USV portfolio that had most importance.

  27. Joe Marchese

    I think it will be all about the apps. A wristwatch stopped being valuable as a timepiece many years ago… I haven’t worn one in at least 20 years and I’m never late for anything. So the thought of wearing something on my wrist now doesn’t excite me. Watches have become pure jewelry, and is the result of individual taste. But the platform will give developers a new canvas on which to create, and if the platform is robust, great stuff is bound to be produced. That does excite me.

  28. Salt Shaker

    Having strong product design expertise doesn’t necessarily translate into strong fashion expertise, a fickle a market as there ever was. Apple has demonstrated its mettle in product design but they would have been far better off riding the coatails of a few leading fashion designers (e.g., Tom Ford, Versace, Stella McCartney) via a co-branding initiative, certainly w/ the higher price point watches. Not the Apple way, but fashion is beyond the realm of their expertise.

  29. OurielOhayon

    i think it is impossible to guess because this is truly a new product category and no one to date has cracked it and marketed it right: especially in terms of ecosystems of apps and utilities. maybe Apple is the only one who can do it. we ll know in 12 months

  30. Adam

    Fred – I wonder, what was the average age of those you polled?Millennials seem much more interested in the Apple Watch. Even those, like myself, who have not really jumped into the watch/wearables space yet. Many have simply said, “I’ll wait for Apple to do a watch”. And here we are.The fashion aspect matters tremendously, and because of that, I’m confident Apple will succeed.Version 1 will, of course, have issues and it won’t have the rapid ubiquity that iPhones and iPads have had. In the end though, this generation has a perpetual curiosity in new, beautiful technologies coupled with continually growing purchasing power. It’s a recipe that favors Apple Watch growth and adoption, notably as they hit v2, v3, v4.

  31. Supratim Dasgupta

    I am a watch collector and it would break my heart to part with any of them for a computer watch. But I guess the use cases will eventually get very compelling to stay away from the iWatch.For one not have to take out my phone in freezing cold to read a short text or replace my fitbit,vibrate when i enter a sketchy neighborhood. blood pressure/pulse variations during different times of the day.quick reminders.proximity reminders; say when i meet a person it buzzes me a quick list of things to discuss. small things like that where am too lazy to take out my phone might compel me to get an iWatch. One very important thing is battery life. For all the things we do and end up draining the phone battery using the iWatch can be helpful.

  32. pointsnfigures

    when they make it pretty and functional, women might wear it. I see men wearing less watches, not more. Some fitness geeks wear jock watches for their runs etc. But, lots of bike computers already integrate with a phone. Never say never but if I am going to wear a watch, I’ll stick with the one I have

    1. LE

      Luckily so few people wear watches (that matter to them) that Apple won’t have to worry about people not wanting to take off the Rolex to put on an Apple watch.



  33. Sean Sebastian

    Fred’s post is interesting, and spurred me to read all the comments to see what aspects of it people reacted to. I think all discussion (so far) misses a key point: technology is (fast becoming) fashion. For eons we’ve worn precious metals and gems dug out of the ground to beautify/flaunt ourselves; the currency (literally and figuratively) of the 21st century is/will be technology (defined in the broadest sense). Less than 15% of the way into that century, the biggest company in the world is the one that has figured out how to marry valuable tech functionality with elegant hardware and software delivery – a true fashion statement. Envision a $1m diamond necklace with an embedded OLED screen (the size of an iWatch) showing a limited edition graphic image created by some famous artist. Today? No. In 2050? Almost surely.

  34. Alexander Muse

    I agree completely. After 2008 I stopped looking at my watch to tell time. My watch requires cleaning every 4 or 5 years to enable it to keep accurate time; however, since I don’t really depend on it for time I haven’t bothered to have it cleaned for ten years. If I fail to wear my watch for a few days the perpetual movement will wind down and the watch will stop until I put it back on again at which point the time is off – I may not notice the error for days. My parents bought this watch for me when I was raising money in the Valley for my first venture backed startup – it has sentimental value and is now a piece of jewelry (the only thing I wear).

  35. DJL

    You’ll know its a hit when I am walking through Union Square and some guys taps me on the shoulder, opens his coat, and shows me his catalog of Replica I-Watches.

  36. vishal k gupta

    It’s hard to predict trends in fashion, combine that with trends with technology and it becomes exponentially hard. My gf sees the current iteration of the watch as something she’d never want on her hand — but after she’s held one, or seen it on the subway on someone else’s hand? Maybe fashion/tech envy will drive her to want one.I remember I didn’t have any draw towards the iPhone- until someone on my desk had one.. I had an immediate envy that had to be filled.Will that happen for the everyday (wo)man? Apple seems to be launching it the right way (as more fashion than tech), but only time will tell. Can’t wait to see the pre order numbers. Anyone wagering a bet on #’s?

  37. LE

    This is what I said about the Apple Watch 8 days ago on :My thoughts on the Apple watch is that it will be in part an authentication play. In other words given that you have a watch and a phone and that the watch is securely on your hand (and can’t be stolen or forgotten) paired with your phone it opens up a wide range of possibilities that don’t exist now for both payment and authentication. Using Apple payment still requires you to fool with a thumbprint and your phone. Pairing it with a watch means you don’t need to thumbprint anymore to approve.Separately, last month I was at Walt Disney world and they have these things called “magic bands” which you wear [1].The band allows you to open up your room (without a key card) and pay for things (restaurant meals) as well as anything that you want to buy at the themepark. Enter the themeparks also. And so on.Now keep in mind that I literally haven’t worn a watch in perhaps 25 years or longer. But I have to tell you that the minute I wore this “magic band” I thought “this is where Apple is going with the watch”. I think that Apple watch will be huge based simply on my own personal usage (as well as my families usage) at WDW with the magic band which essentially does very little but solves a problem (pulling a card which can be lost out of your wallet.). A magic band (or Apple watch) is way more practical for authentication than a phone is and even more powerful when paired with a phone.In a sense you have system that can be quite similar to ezpass (which is the greatest thing since sliced bread). You can do things simply because you have two items that pair together one which is secure on your hand all the time but importantly needs to be paired with a phone. One without the other has much less utility.[1]



    2. thinkdisruptive

      Being absolutely waterproof will be a critical requirement for apple watches to be used this way. It may come, but I have my doubts about the near term. The first time someone can’t get in or start their car because their watch got wet will be the last time they trust it.

  38. paulmg

    Just curious if we’re talking about Apple Watch worldwide or US? I’m disagreeing with Fred and his friends, I’m thinking this is gonna be explosive ex-US:#1 Swiss watch export market=Hong Kong 307CHF, #2=US 182CHF #3=China 115.5CHFPGEdit – sources:

  39. Stephen Bradley

    As a watch lover, collector and daily wearer, I haven’t even transitioned to the QUARTZ revolution yet! No interest personally… but then again my years as trendsetter are well behind me (if they ever were).

  40. LE

    Not one of the women at the table was interested in wearing an iWatch or any other “smartwatch”. Not one of them. They all said that watches are jewelry for them and they are interested in beauty and fashion on their wrists, not features and functions. Only one of the men was interested in an iWatch and he said he wouldn’t wear it but he wanted to “play with it.”Ok so you probably would have gotten a larger amount of interest if someone shouted “who wants to swap spouses tonight!!” The fact that you got that response is telling is shows that Apple has a total red herring here.I have this saying which is “when something doesn’t make sense there is probably something that you don’t know about it”.Apple watch is not about what is obvious and is known it’s about what is not known or not totally obvious. (Like authentication as a possibility per my other comment).Apple watch could be a flop. But do you honestly think that Apple hasn’t thought this one through a bit prior to spending probably a billion dollars?



    1. Jon Michael Miles

      If I can start my car, pay for something, open my house and control my dog with it, then you might be right.

    2. LE

      It’s called the Apple Watch because they can that’s why.What do I mean by that?Well back when the ipod came out (Oct 23, 2001) Apple was not anything close in size, prestige and profitability that they are today.So there was no way that Apple could call a product “Apple MP3 Player”.They needed to brand it with a name. When the iphone was released (June 29, 2007) same thing … the stock was at about $13 per share. (Read it. And weep.)But now of course Apple is such a huge brand that they don’t need to come up with a unique name for a product. They can just use the halo of “Apple” next to a word and go with that. Not to mention the fact that putting an “i” in front of something has run it’s course and is getting a bit annoying and would start to work against them (like a SNL skit that is 5 minutes to long…)



  42. Jon Michael Miles

    To me the watch thing doesn’t solve convenience, usability or functionality. Tablets, Phablets, Phones did all that to varying degrees. That said, the form factor that would interest me is this, horizontal on my wrist –… – and I’d prefer it in something not hard heavy and metal. So perhaps this whole thing boils down to materials science not yet caught up with the market.

  43. Matt Kruza

    If fashion is the play… who would want an iwatch over rolex or other high-end watch? I get that maybe even entry-level rolex’s are more expensive, but fundamentally luxury goods are priced unreasonably high because they are a status symbol. Apple needs semi-main stream adoption for it to move the needle.. not just uber elite luxury

  44. ErikSchwartz

    I keep hearing all these use cases about replacing car keys and house keys and so on and so forth. Tim Cook was making his case for that the other day.I don’t see how the watch is a better for factor for that than the smartphone. All you’re doing is taking existing proximity key technology that runs on dedicated hardware and porting it to commodity hardware.The Pebble case is interesting but at the end of the day 62K units is really not a huge number.I remain skeptical of the for factor.

    1. LE

      Read my comment about what you gain by pairing the watch with a phone. And the fact that the watch is secure on your wrist and can’t easily be stole or is of little value without the phone it is paired to. That’s where the added benefit comes in. That is what this is all about.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        The auto industry has been using proximity keys in fobs for last least the last 5 years. I don’t see a lot of people complaining about their lack of security.I think two factor authentication is overkill for the vast majority of situations.

        1. LE

          I have that in my car and I think that’s a good example of not knowing what you want. When the option was offered to me I almost passed on it. I thought “I carry a lot of keys and I typically don’t keep them in my pocket anyway”. Luckily I got the option. And I have to tell you it’s the greatest thing to not have to pull your keys out of your pocket. Or be able to lock the door without hitting the “close” on the fob. Or be able to open the trunk by tapping on it. All with the keys still in your pocket. Now I want the same feature on every door that I use and on every safe etc. And to be able to pay and so on.And 2factor is important for payments. It’s a pain to have to do the finger thing on the iphone when paying.Also it doesn’t matter if 2factor is overkill for most situations. Like a SUV people will buy for a small amount of cases if they perceive a large enough benefit from those small amount of cases “it snows 2 times per year so I am ready”.

          1. ErikSchwartz

            I don’t want my car not to start because I’m wearing the wrong watch because my Rolex goes better with this suit.I think we’ll just disagree here.

          2. LE

            I think what you are saying is that you don’t want to wear a watch everyday to gain the potential authentication feature which is a valid objection. Obviously if we are talking literally “not to start” there are manual overrides for that.

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


    2. laurie kalmanson

      i like my iphone but if forgetting to charge it or an iwatch means i can’t open the door to my house that’s not so good

  45. Matt Zagaja

    I think that @LE is on the right track with his comment about authentication. There is a segment of iPhone consumers that have phone models without the Apple Pay feature that will be able to have it if they buy Apple Watch and I think that many will do it for that. Apple’s watch is waging a war on your wallet in more ways than one.I have not purchased any of the wearables that are out there because I am holding out for Apple Watch, but am surprised at how many peers of mine I see sporting a jawbone up or fitbit these days. The fitness trackers seem to skew towards women. My guess is that many men that are interested in this function are ok with the iPhone’s ability to do it when it’s in your pocket.Also as an Apple user one of the things that sticks out is how much better Siri seems to get year after year. If I had a watch I’d be more likely to do things with Siri than take out my phone.Contextual notifications are awesome, especially when using location and/or other signals. I agree with others that think this will make a difference.

  46. Alberto Menoni

    The real game changer will be when the watch becomes the master, the handset becomes just a screen + a couple cameras that you can replace anytime, or borrow, and the glasses are just another slave (not my idea). It solves a bunch of security problems too. It’ll be much more compelling to use that watch.

  47. Tom Labus

    There’s a lot of peer pressure and status associated with Apple’s products so anything could happen here. Maybe an app or use from left field.I never wear a watch and don’t see any reason, as yet, to change that

  48. Apple Watch

    There’s no such thing as the “iWatch.” Maybe if you called it the Apple Watch they’d have known what you were talking about.

    1. fredwilson

      this is my blog. i can call it anything i want. i could call it a piece of crap too. but i chose not to.

  49. beidaren

    Your predictions on all things Apple have been consistently wrong. At what point, would you stop putting forth what you wish will happen as a prediction? If I were an investor in USV, I’d be worried that you would miss out the next wave of new startups tied to Apple Watch platform.

    1. LE

      Part of the reason that he says what he says is to get the opinions of others out there. One way of doing that is to be polarized about something as opposed to circumspect. That tends to draw people out either supporting or defending.Along those lines, what do you think about the Apple Watch?

      1. beidaren

        when it comes to Apple, he’s consistently biased. So I don’t take his opinion on Apple seriously. My opinion is biased too. I think Apple watch will be a game changer. When people observe others paying groceries at Whole Food by waving their wrists, apple watch will take off. There will be apps unique to Apple watch platform. I can’t wait to use the watch to control my Apple TV, my Hue lighting system, and open my doors. …

        1. LE

          Well I would agree that he is not an Apple fanboy.I agree that if Apple is able to get wider adoption of Apple Pay that it will be a game changer.In a sense Apple is able to pull off that “wider adoption” as a result of the stardom that Apple has a result of Steve Jobs. That’s why it would be very difficult for others to both match the product quality that Apple has as well as the star power that the current management team is able to use by association. People for sure underestimate that.And what do we have with Google? Who in the world of “normals” [1] even knows what those guys are doing or quite frankly cares about them?[1] Why are “normals” important? Because “normals” make decision about who has access to important people and important people are also normals. So if you need to get some company on board with Apple Pay it’s much easier for Apple to do that then anyone else. Because of that star power. (Not claiming the google guys couldn’t get a meeting obviously..but they are busy dicking around all over the place and not focused like Jobs was…)

    2. ErikSchwartz

      Yeah, I bet the USV LPs are a really unhappy bunch of folks.

  50. PrometheeFeu

    I’ve been wearing a smart watch for a few months and I think that there is a real value proposition here. Getting notifications on your wrist is really useful in a meeting where a quick glance does not attract the same social stigma as pulling out your phone. Also really useful for music control. I had low expectations, but it’s really become something I use a lot.

  51. BillMcNeely

    The military could be a good market for this piece of gear

  52. Anthony Flores

    You guys are crazy. The initial apps already look great, and it hasn’t even launched yet. See:… — There are so many times throughout the day where it’s cumbersome to pull your phone out of your pocket — be it driving, in a meeting, and a bunch of other instances. And how many times do you communicate or just “check in” with your significant other each day that requires the annoying unlock/open app/type/send process — what if that only took one or two taps? And how often do you miss text or calls because the text sound or ringer is off. Haptics will be hugely appealing. And while gimmicky/cheesy, sending your heartbeat to your partner will be faster and more intimate than texting. Health and fitness functions/apps will far surpass any other wearable to date by a long shot. And people will LOVE the customization possible. My wife is pretty fashion forward and she’s super eager to get one (gold, though that may be insanely priced.)Moreover, Apple hasn’t had a new category in 4 years, you are underestimating the hunger and buzz for a new Apple product. Of course, if it’s bad or useless people aren’t going to lineup — but I believe their confidence in it speaks volumes about its appeal. Maybe it will only be the early adopters at launch time, but that’s enough to easily burn through the 5-6 million they’ll have ready at launch. Then, they’ll begin raving about it, the buzz will grow and others will want one too. I personally believe Apple will sell all they can make this year, even if that’s 30 or 40 million units. The problem won’t be demand, it will be production.

  53. trackvikings

    I think it’s way too early to say. As a device I probably agree with your assessment, but I do think the idea of a “ready-to-act” smart-device is pretty powerful. Basically IFTTT “Do button” + smart phone could potentially unlock all kinds of features. Maybe the form factor as closer to a fitness band is better for this type of behavior, but I hardly know.Either way I think even with very little value add the iWatch will sell okay, if it can unlock a new interaction with the world I think it could be huge and I really think the “ready-to-act” of on your wrist (maybe with gestures) makes that seem at least believable to me.

  54. @billg

    This category is confusing. That doesn’t mean it won’t succeed, but it may take time before people figure it out. In my opinion, the confusing element has little to do with technology and function; it’s the role emotion plays in the consumer decision-making process.Most people buy watches for a myriad of complicated emotional reasons; the time-keeping functionality is more of an alibi. This behavior won’t change over night. Benedict Evans addressed the role of emotion in technology in the following tweet earlier today:…The companies who master the emotional layer will be the winners in this category.

    1. @billg

      Same thought, put in technical terms 🙂

  55. markslater

    the problem is people calling it a watch. its not a watch – like the iphone is not a phone.i’m gonna go against he grain and predict a wild success.



      1. Bernard Desarnauts


  56. Andy Orr

    I would remind readers (as Horace Dediu did –… that no one predicted the iPad sales. I don’t see anything drastically different in the Watch launch. It is a new product from Apple that isn’t the first of its kind, and many say they have no use for it. Time will tell, but never underestimate the power of the iOS ecosystem, most notably, the creativity of the developer community.

    1. Salt Shaker

      Unlike the iPad, the iWatch isn’t a standalone piece of hardware. It’s functionality is inextricably linked to one’s iPhone, which is it’s engine, if you will. There’s a bit of hardware redundancy at play here, unless Apple nails it w/ several must have apps exclusive to the iWatch. I’d never underestimate Apple, but there’s an awful lot of hype and lofty expectations here. That said, I hope they kill it cause AAPL is a sizable piece of my portfolio.

      1. Andy Orr

        Being tied to the iPhone at this stage, in my opinion, is potentially a good thing. The iPad didn’t introduce any convenience over the iPhone (it did from the other direction…the laptop/PC), but I like trying to sell a product to an existing market of 350 million people, many of which are now having a tough time pulling their iPhone 6 Plus out of their pockets just to see what that annoying vibration meant. Whatever happens, it will be interesting to watch it unfold.

  57. Donna Brewington White

    I’ve recently become interested in wearing a watch again because often I just want to know the time. Without reaching into a bag to pull something out or becoming distracted by a new notification.

    1. laurie kalmanson

      swatch, the anti-status watch; yes.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Yep, that would be anti-status. 🙂

    2. Ruth BT

      Your comment and this discussion is fascinating to me Donna. Can I ask whether you are looking at a watch being functional only or does beauty and adornment come into play as well? I am in the jewelry industry and am watching very closely. It seems to me that the iwatch does sit in the fashion camp but only in the active sportswear circle, which is big and getting bigger by the day. It’s a daytime accessory. High fashion it is not and even for an early adopter (and watch wearer) like me I am not hurrying out to get one – neither is anyone else I know.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Hi Ruth! So sorry for the delayed response.I don’t need much from a watch in terms of function — it just needs to be a reliable timepiece. But the fashion appeal must be high. I am not a fashionista but I am pretty selective in terms of watches. I don’t mean in terms of status or symobol — I’m pretty much a minimalist in that regard as long as quality is good.

  58. MyMiseryMachine

    people still wear watches? Hm.

    1. Ruth BT

      Some but the faster growing segment are the people who collect watches….

  59. Mark Nichol

    Would your opinion change if you could keep your existing watch (any watch) and add smartwatch functionality?

  60. Ken Galpin

    When is a watch not a watch? Up till recently I was completely in agreement will the skeptics about iWatch et al. Then last week something switched for me. I still don’t think I need a “watch” in the sense of knowing the time or getting alerts etc. These I prefer to do on my phone. And I still think interacting with a small screen is ridiculous. I also agree that these devices have a long way to go in a fashion or fitness sense. All that being said, there is one reason I will spend a couple hundred bucks for a wrist mounted device that is becoming much more important to me as I march into growing memory challenges at 56. That reason is security. I don’t want a “watch” to replace my phone, I want a wrist mounted, electronic device to replace the big bundle of metal keys in my pocket that I keep misplacing. (and yes I know I can smart tag them but that seems like tying a computer to a model T). As my world gets more a more connected, I need a single device that is attached to me to open all the different types of doors and manage access privileges I have in a simple, elegant proximity manner. One that uses its small screen to remind me about the access point and track my usage etc. I am tired of rolling up to my storage unit (if I can remember the number without checking my contract) and trying to remember that the access code to the yard is my drivers license and then once I am at the unit, trying to determine which key opens that friggin rollup door. Now that my car uses a proximity key and my house is getting smarter and the world is revamping security access everywhere, it seems to me that a wrist mounted access manager is a nice step along the path to biometrics and whatever the future holds for the ultimate replacement of that wring of keys.

  61. Christopher Conner

    I think the Apple Watch is more of a fashion play now and will morph to be more of a tech play later. I think Apple has to focus on fashion more than the tech at launch for two reasons:1) There is limited functionality at this time. Much like with the iPhone, Apple is slowly exposing functionality and forcing developers to work without access to all of the functions they will eventually have. This is partly to get developers to think creatively, partly to force them to build apps that don’t use much battery life and partly because not all of the functionality is completely baked.2) Right now all of the cool tech that you see requires you to have an iPhone or iPod in your pocket. Push notifications? Internet updates? All of those cool FedEx and Uber apps that you see in their mock-ups do not live on the watch alone. Apple’s developer program won’t even let you build a stand-alone Apple Watch app yet. You are only allowed to build Apple Watch Apps as an extension of an iPhone app. Maybe this will change someday but maybe not.At the end of the day, the Apple Watch doesn’t have the stand-alone utility that an iPad has. I can’t be an Android Phone user and use an Apple Watch in the same way that many Android Phone users own iPads and get all of the functionality out of it. For this reason I believe that the Apple Watch will help push the smart watch into new territories and will be successful in training the public to become comfortable with the tech but will not be a runaway success.

  62. Jimbo

    A note on asking real people:The use cases those you poll are considering are those limited by their imagination and notion of watches.The use cases that will be are limited only by the hardware (and this is just v1) and accompanying creativity of the developer community.In short, people may not know why they need this watch yet 🙂 A sampling of what’s soon to be available:

  63. pablobrenner

    Thinking rationally i completely agree with you. Since i started using a smartphone i stopped using a watch, and now Apple wants me to wear a watch again.Having said that, we are talking about Apple, and i have always underestimated their capability to change people´s behaviour, and get people to do irrational things. So I bet we are both wrong, and somehow will be a success, and both of us will be wearing one in 2 years 🙂

    1. Mario Cantin

      This mirrors what I’ve just said.

  64. ZekeV

    I recently bought a smartwatch — well, actually a Casio calculator watch designed circa 1985. It basically has all the functionality of a modern smartwatch, to the extent it can be achieved without the ability to transmit / receive radio signals. Also the battery lasts for up to 10 years without a recharge.

  65. Mario Cantin

    Very interesting comment thread so far.I’ll add my two cents:I haven’t worn my TAG in maybe 5 years — don’t even know whether the battery is dead or not and I don’t care.I look at the time on my iPhone.For me to wear the Apple Watch, it would have to make my life *a lot* easier, and it’s hard to picture.On the other hand, I was going to swing for two of them *if* my wife was interested, so we could exchange messages and sweet nothings throughout the day. That use case would have ‘put me over the edge’. But she wants nothing to do with it. It would have to displace her Gucci watch, and that’s apparently not happening.So it looks unlikely that the Apple Watch will be a success when this attitude is consistent across a wide range of people.*But* let’s not all forget that Apple has yet to have a faux pas. They’re crushing it right now, and it seems that the transition from Steve Jobs to Tim Cook is working.We’re all evaluating this product based of what we think we want or don’t want, but we’re ignoring what Apple *knows* we shall want — big difference. They’ve done this trick repeatedly.Apple has a habit of disproving non-believing pundits, and so it will be this time again, IMO.Let’s also realize that this is only the first version. They’re going to refine that thing to no end from the second iteration onwards.It’s also common sense to realize that it’ll never come close to the sales volume of the phone, but it might come close to the the iPad.I’m a nobody compared to Fred’s experience in predicting trends, so takes this with a grain of salt if you will, but I’d personally think twice before not taking it seriously as a platform to develop on.

  66. Pierre

    I can see the Apple Watch becoming a massive success, but only if it offers more than the current 2 styles of case. Personlization will be absolutely key.

  67. Joel Monegro

    I’m curious about the age group you were addressingI’ll bet that the apple watch will be very successful in younger age brackets

    1. Donna Brewington White

      My 14 y.o. wants one bad. But strictly as a toy.

    2. fredwilson

      my girls and their friends don’t seem to want one either

      1. Richard

        If Apple watch provides 24 hr back up to your 4 hour battery life on your phone, this may be reason enough. One or two killer apps make it a must have product. Hard to bet against 500,000 developers seeking that spot. Prediction: Watch will be worn on with the face on the palm side of your arm

  68. Cyberats

    Just wanted to say: iWatch.

  69. Frozeninthenorth

    Totally agree, women wear watches as a fashion item. How many times have I been in meeting where the women wore watches that failed miserably in telling the correct time. One, a high powered IB managing director told me that she’s never looks at here watch for the time, that’s what her iPhone is for!BTW do you remember the negative press when Apple launched the iPad?

  70. ShanaC

    Tech has hard a hard time translating into fashion. it’s expensive. And as mens jewerly goes, a constant replacement cycle at the pricepoint the iwatch is at, kind of a no go for most people I know. Even if they make real money. just no.

    1. Supratim Dasgupta

      what is the price point? Did they mention that already?

  71. Dan Conway

    I had doubts but now I’m convinced It’ll be a monster. Smart phones are a constant distraction and take us away from being present. These will put us back into the world. And they’re beautiful.http://www.businessinsider….It’ll be the first inning for Apple and luxury brands. Incredibly smart business move.JP Morgan is projecting sales by year end of 26 million. I’ll eat my hat if it’s not twice that number.

  72. Q

    Are you bearish on the watch as a form factor or because you’re bearish on the enabling technologies (e.g. haptic holograms)?

    1. fredwilson

      form factor

  73. Jay Zhao

    Fashion is a feature, not the product. The killer app for wearables might not notification nor time-telling. It’s the data + always-on form factor that would create unique utility use case.Mobile good at collecting –> (data) photo/ video, geo, short texts –> Instagram ($1B), Uber ($40B), Twitter ($$B).Wearable good at collecting –> (data) gestures, biometrics, hyperlocal –> ??, ??, ??

  74. James Burns

    Personally, I would use a smart watch when running, lifting weights, to track my makes/misses when shooting basketball, sleeping, etc… For times where it is better to have a small device on your wrist than a bulky phone in your pocket. You can do a lot on a small interface, especially when you combine that with voice commands.Buying a smart phone or tablet was an easy decision and people didn’t need to be sold on the idea, but for a smart watch I think most people need to be sold on the usefulness of it which will to take time for must have apps to be developed and for voice interaction to improve.For example, football is an extremely popular sport and I can imagine that an app could eventually be developed to help wide receivers run better routes. Coach loads a route for a receiver to run and the app tracks the accuracy of the route, timing, etc… Could even buzz the receiver when to make their move. A smart watch and app would be very useful for skill specific training in many sports played around the world that require precise timing.

  75. Semil Shah

    I think it’s dangerous to extrapolate here. Even at this tech conference, I’m guessing mostly bankers? Many of them may be on Blackberries and probably said something similar about the original iPhone. Having seen the Watch for payments and ticketing/authentication, I think it will be very popular for v1 and likely trigger a wave for v2.

  76. Guest

    Hey Fred, I completely agree. Perhaps readers can get some additional insight from a (highly controversial) article I wrote recently on why the first version of the Apple Watch will fail. Thanks again for your post!

  77. Ali Ahmed

    Hey Fred, I completely agree. Perhaps your readers can get some additional insight from an article I wrote recently which drew highly opinionated comments on Medium, on why the first version of the Apple Watch will fail. Thanks again for your post!

  78. Andrew Parker

    This may have been said already but having to recharge your watch every day is something very few people will be willing to do

  79. Scott Belsky

    I think the Apple watch could do two things, either of which will render our current “better watch” (aka faster horse) expectations useless:(1) Apple watch will make us more tolerant of (and attentive to) real-time notifications. These annoying and usually off-the-mark and difficult-to-manage pings from our modern life could suddenly find their perfect interface and cadence, which could transform how we live “informed” in ways we cannot expect. The flick of the wrist and other nuances could be more profound than we think.(2) With the right interface and apps, Apple watch could usher in an era of self-moderation, measurement, and awareness. Imagine a polite buzz on your wrist everytime you sit for too long, sleep for too little, or fail to mantain your own commitments to exercise or healthy eating. If we could hardwire part of ourselves to prevent our human tendencies from getting in the way of our goals, we would feel more in control of our lives. And people are willing to adopt new technology that gives them more control.Again, all of these apps and functionalities could (and do) exist on the phone and web. But it’s all about the interface (and the real-estate). Having something attached to your body is a big step for technology that hasn’t yet hit mainstream. If Apple watch makes this happen, it will surprise all of us. If it doesn’t, perhaps additional iteration – or some other product – will.

    1. fredwilson

      if you want to attach something to your bodywhich i would not do and i suspect many others are like me

      1. Scott Belsky

        It certainly feels like something we wouldnt want or do… I just wonder if it’s one of those things we try and then feel differently about… We shall see.

      2. marko calvo-cruz

        You should bookmark this reply somewhere and look back on it 5 years from now, perhaps you’d be reading it with a smartwatch on your wrist, wondering how you could’ve lived without one. Or maybe it’ll be an “I told you so” moment.

  80. Will Critchlow

    Without claiming that it exposes any great insights, I thought I’d drop in a counter-anecdote to your experience of “Not one of the women at the table was interested in wearing an iWatch”.I’ve had a recurring conversation with a handful of female friends (and my wife!) – where it’s transpired that they *are* interested in getting an iWatch – and it is literally the first gadget that they’ve wanted that *I haven’t*.I don’t have any great insights, and I’m not convinced it’s a winner, but I just thought I’d let you know that your anecdote is not completely pervasive at least…

  81. Jon Michael Miles

    Today on producthunt – a watch that turns into a headset –… – like i mentioned yesterday, wrist storage of a handet, or phablet is an interesting angle

  82. marko calvo-cruz

    I can easily see smart watches being a repeat of the tablet industry.It’s not a question of whether people are going to want to wear smart-watches on their wrists, but will somebody make a watch that people want to wear?

  83. ollietraderr

    The next gen of the watch will be the sell out product

  84. Charlene Ngamwajasat MD

    Time will tell. At first it’s a novelty or status symbol or toy for some people. If there’s real value to be had, more people will use it because of that. It’d be interesting to study how and why people use it rather than speculate. Apple does very well when it comes to consumer experience, design, and building an app ecosystem but I agree, watches are still in a clunky phase, looking at a premium/luxury market, and don’t seem to really appeal to a lot of women in regards to their current design. On the other hand, I do think that being autonomous and not tethered to the phone, and curating certain core elements on them are helpful when you want to go hands-free (time, short voice call, getting text messages, or key alerts are good). I would’ve preferred a watch with notifications on it, rather than a pager back when I was working in the hospital.

  85. chachra

    I feel like if you asked in 2008 “How many of you ‘need’ a smartphone” to any audience, the response would have been pretty muted also!

  86. george

    There is so much speculation around whether Apple’s iWatch and this product category in general will be a success. I love watches and I will definitely purchase one along with most of my surveyed colleagues and friends. Bottom line, there’s only ONE expectation that really counts – Customer Expectation and Apple has a pretty good track record of delivering on that! My prediction, Apple’s platform and scale alone will manifest product adoption.

  87. Ivan Kovac

    This might be a troll, but I wonder.. You had some kind of personal experiment with switching from Android phone to the iPhone, I remember.. What happen after? Have you switched back? Can we expect a new blog post on that one? I’m really curious to hear your analytics on that one..

    1. fredwilson

      i plan to switch back and forth every six monthsi’ve been on an iPhone 6 for the last six monthsi’m about to buy this phone…

      1. Ivan Kovac

        I’ve read your newest post – “Back to Android” :)Sadly, when I click on that link I get message “Unavailable in your country”.. So Nexus 5 will have to be enough for now. :)Cheers!

  88. John MacDonald

    It’s been said already but when the iPad was announced we all slammed it: “what am I going to need it for?” Once people could actually play with it, that all changed.Big difference is, the Apple watch does have a killer use case – as a watch. If you are in the market for a watch and can have a trendy Apple one that’s all over the news and has some gee-whiz phone notification features or a standard Swiss army or Tissot, I think enough people will go Apple to eventually get to iPad level revenue.And with it starting at $350 but reaching over $10k, the average per-unit selling price is likely to be way above the iPad with better margins (even though I doubt Apple will be able to strong-arm the luxury stores the same way they do cell phone carriers). So from a stock perspective, even tempered sales will be lucrative.

  89. jshack

    One viable adoption path I see for Apple’s newest i- is for those of us minimalist enough to not even want to carry our phones at times. If the iWatch eventually allows me to take calls, receive texts, and perhaps a few other things as it evolves, I will want and use it.That and the ability to call my car out front. #KITT

  90. Joel Valdez

    I think of all smart watch players out there, Apple is the one probably targeting correctly: Fashion and Cool. Everything else out there looks geeky and full of features.Now, you said that you are not sure everybody would want this “companion” I think it will depend on the price.$400-$500 for an extension to my (already overpriced) phone? NOPE!Maybe $150 – $200 for that accessory, that will provide “something” that your phone won’t be able to do.So I agree… I won’t be a hit, at least the current pricing model.

  91. Jan Ahrend

    However, those dinner guests are not necessarily the target audience.

  92. laurie kalmanson

    yes: 10k, in gold; $300/ish for the rest of the people…

  93. Veronica Becker

    I won’t tell you my age, but I am part of a segment of women that remembers a time before cell phones. We live in a time where people are expected to be accessible 24 x 7. The Apple Watch is probably overkill for me, because I mostly need notifications…not a list of features I already have on my phone.We’re working on connected jewelry at Beacon & Lively (I’m the CEO). Beautiful jewelry first, which just happens to have a simple notification feature. We can add more features, but we’ve really resisted heading in that direction. Sometimes less is more?

  94. Steve Hallock

    Sure, some will. But remember we are talking about the most valuable company in the world. It takes an awful lot of watches sold to make it a hit product

  95. JimHirshfield

    New avatar. What’s up?

  96. JimHirshfield

    I think of avatar persistence as a branding issue – people recognize the avatar even if it’s outdated (and who would know that the pic is from 2006, anyway?)

  97. andyswan

    We are very comfortable with our methodology.

  98. JimHirshfield

    Whoa, sorry to strike your exposed nerve. ๏̯͡๏

  99. JimHirshfield

    Perused that post – it’s awesome and funny. Thanks for sharing.

  100. JimHirshfield

    Hey now!

  101. JimHirshfield

    A Tripecycle?

  102. andyswan

    Very cool. Actually we don’t do a great job in UI of delivering this data. If you check out content at you’ll get a better picture of what we are doing.

  103. thornyrose

    I would argue that there are MANY other reasons why it “helps” to have women in the room when “you’re” brain-storming tech products…or in EVERY other circumstance…In any case, both men and women are uncertain about adopting the Apple watch. In fact, watches historically have been more of a status symbol for MEN. I do not think this product will fail based on lack of women’s adoption of the product, rather I think this product will face broader challenges based not on gender issues, but instead on its overal practicality / usefulness (when considering the other products currently on the market) and its displacement of the watch from its current role in society (whether from a fashion or status perspective).

  104. pointsnfigures

    I am not too worried about the demise of Facebook. I think they won that category. There will be ways to unbundle parts of Facebook (Swarm, 4Sq, Yelp, Instagram, Text etc) Watches are for investment bankers, lawyers, consultants and accountants these days. When I see one, I know I am going to get charged a fee.

  105. JimHirshfield

    You take your queues from Om, is that it?

  106. thornyrose

    Not defensive, just factual. And mostly, pointing out that gender isn’t the biggest issue at play here.

  107. laurie kalmanson


  108. Cam MacRae

    I wear an automatic — no battery required!