Monday, September 12th, 2016

This is why you should wait to get the second generation Apple Watch rather than the first

Narada Desk | September 12, 2016 1:08 pm Print
Apple pretty consistently has improvements up its sleeve. This isn't too surprising. Under time and quality pressure, they will typically roll out a first product that is good, polished, and missing key features. These get picked up in the next rev of the product.

If the watch is not modular.

The Watch is what is know as a “Veblen good” – its cash value is not linked directly to its manufacturing cost or utility.

With the watch this is very clear.   Specifically the utility of the watch will be in the CPU + Battery + Screen.   In an 18ct watch, these functional guts might only represent 5% of the manufacturing cost. And even less of the sales price.

And yet these low value parts could become outdated and render the whole product less than great.  So the entire desirability of the watch could be disrupted by the knowledge that the”cheap”  functional parts could become outdated very quickly.

Apple could solve this problem by allowing the watch innards to be modular. And therefore replaceable. By having a modular design, the innards could be upgraded each time there is worthwhile hardware upgrade. While the case and band would be retained.   Perhaps Apple would offer a 24 hour upgrade service?

Remember Apple already offer servicing for replacing batteries in other products. In the case of the watch, why offer to replace batteries, when it might be faster to replace the entire watch module?

People buy products in cycles.  They keep a phone for 24 months. A tablet for 48. A car for 3-6 years – and a wristwatch for 10-25 years.  As far as I can see, modularity makes perfect sense.

If the watch turns out to be non-modular. Then first adopters might be find themselves with a product that becomes quickly obsolete.

Take a look at the original iPad. It was a great product, but it was big and bulky, lacking a lot of features people expected Apple to have included. The iPad 2 was a huge leap forward; it added cameras, a better processor, and a much thinner design. It remained the biggest change to the iPad until the iPad Air.

How about the original iPhone? The change between the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G was also major. Apple made a thick phone that was behind in terms of cellular technologies, which lacked a ton of features as well.

The original MacBook Air was the same way compared to the successor, which was even thinner and much cheaper than the original.