Apple is extremely adept at generating massive hype ahead of a new device launch. The company sends out teaser invitations to journalists that merely hint at what might lie ahead ("spring forward", in the case of the Apple Watch launch), and then sits back and waits as anticipation builds, and column inches grow. Who needs a marketing budget when you have that kind of power--or a presence at Mobile World Congress, for that matter?
First, a disclaimer: I am, generally speaking, an Apple product fan, as any regular reader may be aware. I still use an iMac; I own an iPhone, a MacBook Air and I am considering an iPad purchase; my desk drawers are littered with the corpses of obsolete iPods; and I have even turned my PC-raised other half into an obsessive iPhone apps user.
However, I think I will need some persuading before replacing my perfectly ordinary watch, or adding to my burgeoning collection of "connected" devices, with one of the new Watches just launched by the U.S.-based giant. In fact, I find it hard to imagine many of the monstrosities recently launched by a number of vendors adorning my wrist.
I will be very interested to see how sales of the Apple Watch and other wearables launched at MWC will fare. Clearly, others will have a different view on the usability and usefulness of such devices--and the ability to disrupt here is potentially high (replacements for key fobs?)--but the consumer preference is increasingly moving towards larger smartphone screens, and far more attractive watches are also still available.
Apple has even gone as far as launching a solid gold version of the Apple Watch--at up to $17,000 (€16,081) a pop. As the Guardian writer Hannah Jane Parkinson noted in her article that listed nine reasons why "only a tool" would buy an Apple watch, $17,000 is an absurd amount to spend on a timepiece that does not have the heritage or track record of other watch brands.
And a Mickey Mouse edition watch face; seriously?
However, Apple and its products should never be underestimated--nor should the willingness of consumers to spend hundreds of euros on the company's latest new devices.
In general, the reactions to the Apple Watch have been broad and varied, with some pointing out that the $350 price tag for an "ordinary" version is not that unreasonable while others have been critical of the battery life.
My favourite comment so far comes from actress Anna Kendrick on Twitter:
We should be thanking Apple for launching the $10,000 "apple watch" as the new gold standard in douchebag detection. — Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) March 9, 2015
Over to you, Apple fan or foe…--Anne