Apple Spring Forward Event


There is a disappointment after this event, which introduced the Apple Watch.
Not about the watch, really. I had already made up my mind I would get one before the event happened (Apple Watch, space black, link bracelet).

To be clear, the main disappointment is first and foremost that Singapore is not a launch country.

That’s a bummer, especially given Hong Kong is. But I will survive, even if the Singapore launch is only tagged as “in 2015” which can mean anything from April to December. Worst case I buy one via the US or Germany.

And as I was watching the keynote, there were a few things that were actually very positive: I don’t care so much whether HBO Now is on Apple TV or not, but I think the work Apple is doing on health is at least interesting. And I do think that the new, super slim MacBook is an amazing machine. I would not buy one, because I do not see myself living with the compromises on the short term. But just as the MacBook Air which was amazing but not for me at time of launch, I expect that in a few years I’ll maybe consider buying one (in fact, I nearly went for a MacBook Air, but ultimately decided for the 13″ MacBook Pro, mostly driven by the Retina display and the option to get a 1TB SSD).

It’s also a positive development that Tim Cook is getting better and better at these keynotes. He is less stiff now which is already like night and day compared to the September watch introduction event (despite this time’s rather awkward chat with Christy Turlington), and he is clearly getting more and more comfortable being in the center of Apple love and public scrutiny, a huge heritage for a current and future CEO of Apple, designed by Steve Jobs. It’s amazing how well these events are crafted, especially when you compare them to Microsoft’s.

So that’s all good.
The other disappointment I have, however, is a perceived “sloppiness” of the conveyed message which I already observed during the September event. Back then I thought it was just an exception. The watch was new, they must have had difficult internal debates how to best present it and maybe they not necessarily opted for the best way to do the presentation. This has been very ably discussed by John Gruber and Ben Thomson and others, of course.
So for this event you would have thought they’d do better. And while they maybe did a little better, they still did not do as good a job as I would have expected. It’s difficult, but the obvious question that has been asked a million times is: why the heck does anyone need an Apple Watch and live with the inevitable compromises? I have made this decision for myself, based on reading lots of articles, listening to tech podcasts, weighing arguments… so in short, something a normal person would never do. I argue that the event fell short why such a “normal” person, who has not sweated over all the options and details, would want the watch and spend at least 349 bucks or likely a little more.

Maybe I am wrong, though: the design of the watch and the utility it offers could be also tempting enough for many and if they are, this should drive sales for the watch and newer iPhones alike. I’ve been wrong about the iPad, which is not doing as well as the iPhone, but which company would not kill for the success the iPad has been to date? Once you hold one in your hands, it’s much harder to dismiss it.

At the least, I am convinced that Apple has missed again the opportunity to explain the product better.
And this “again” is what I find highly surprising and maybe concerning when it comes to how Apple handles their most important marketing tool.

I am curious how well the watch will do…

One thought I had why Singapore is not a launch country is that there are no Apple Stores here. There are lots of stores dedicated to Apple products alright, but my understanding is that Apple wants to control the watch presentation in retail even more than how they control the presentation of the other devices.
This could mean that to have an Apple Watch launching in Singapore, they first need to open a store here.

‘ might take a while…

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