Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Five Year Flop

Mark Wilson of Fast Company does not like the Apple Watch. You can see his many, many screeds about how awful he thinks it is if you just search the web for "mark wilson" "apple watch" site:fastcompany.com; it is not a delightful series. He probably never will like the Watch, and that’s fine.

But there is a big difference between disliking something and calling it a failure. I am not one of the Watch’s biggest fans, but even I know better than to call it a dud. Last year, Apple sold an estimated thirty million of the things and, in recent years, dozens of reports have credited the ECG feature with saving lives. Even a more cynical person would, I think, find it hard not to give it credit for that.

However, on this day five years ago, Wilson made a prediction:

Few analysts or writers will outright say it, but I will: the Apple Watch is going to flop. And I bet a lot of other people are thinking the same thing for many good reasons.

Wilson runs through a whole list of reasons the Apple Watch would fail, all of which were reactions to the first-generation product which, as of his writing, was nearly two months away from its release. It is fair that he could only consider the Watch by what he was presented with. But Wilson’s myopia reveals itself when he writes that it would be indistinguishable “from any other fitness band on the market”, and that Apple Pay was also going to flop, so the only thing the Watch would actually be able to do was show notifications. Even at its debut, it was hailed as helping people walk more; closing the activity rings became something to do every day. And, five years on, it clearly does more than the limited scope of tasks Wilson imagined. “Jony Ive’s Newton” it is not.