A case of the Suppostahs: What’s the Apple Watch supposed to be?


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Are you sitting down? The Macalope hopes so because someone at Business Insider has something bad to say about the Apple Watch.


Writing for the fine people and smartwatch experts and golems roughly fashioned out of clay and ill-kempt howler monkeys at Business Insider, Matthew DeBord says “Apple's partnership with Hermès shows that the tech company has no idea what the Apple Watch is supposed to be.”

Now, it is worth pointing out — nay, it is our duty to point out — that this is not DeBord’s first stroll down Nutso von Butso Boulevard. Back in 2012, DeBord brought us “3 reasons the iPhone 5 will fail” (which, in his defense, is totally what happened). He topped that one off two days later with “3 reasons why the iPhone 5 will still fail.” And, sure enough, the iPhone 5 failed again. Like a few weeks before it even came out. Back in November, he explained why “The TAG Heuer Connected is the first smartwatch that Apple should be worried about.” So, is DeBord a thought leader in having no idea what things are supposed to be? You be the judge.

Apple seems to be trying hard to pitch the Apple Watch as a tech product and luxury good. Hermès is a global luxury firm, so on its face, the partnership makes sense.

You can almost smell the big "but".

But if you look closer, it's actually baffling.

Like, have you ever looked closely at a platypus? Or a fish? Or Malcolm Gladwell? Like, what even are they, man?!

DeBord delves into the history of the Hermès Double Tour, introduced in 1998.

Back then, women who wanted a nice watch were limited.

Most women wanted crappy watches prior to 1998. Sure, that seems undeniably true. Go ahead, caller.

Apple, one of the biggest brands in the world, supplicating at the altar of ancien régime luxury — and I say this as a big Hermès fan. Apple doesn't need this credibility.

Au contraire. This is basically the reverse of the argument against Apple selling iPhones at WalMart. “Apple will tarnish its image!” people who desperately hoped something, anything, would tarnish Apple's image said. Apple, on the other hand, wisely saw a chance to take its brand to customers it currently wasn't reaching. That’s what it’s trying to do by partnering with Hermès. Early smartwatch adopters -- and make no mistake, we are still in the early years of the smartwatch market -- generally aren't high-end fashion watch buyers. How do you grease the skids into Fancytown? Partner with a high-end fashion watch maker.

Now, it’s perfectly possible it’s not working or isn’t working yet. But the theory isn’t bad and it’s not that hard to see.

The techy buyership has been somewhat meh about the Apple Watch because it isn't a fully evolved device…

Compared to what? Compared to other smartwatches? No. Whenever anyone says this they mean they’re “meh” about the Apple Watch compared to the iPhone.

Apple has tried to emulate the Cape Cod's face, but it just doesn't look right, especially in black.

Meaning DeBord just doesn't like it. When that watch face was announced, however, the Macalope heard a lot of wistful complaints that it was only available on the Hermès Apple Watch. The square placement of the numbers fits better on the face of the Apple Watch than many of the default faces. The Hermès Cape Cod watch, of course, puts the lie to the complaint about how all watches are supposed to be round, which is why the Apple Watch looks so good with the Double Tour band.

If you're lamenting the price tag of the Hermès/Apple Watch combination, don't fret. There are several knock-offs now available that won't break your more Herman-than-Hermès budget.

To the Macalope, if the Apple Watch suffers from Apple not knowing what it's supposed to be it's as a device, not an accoutrement. It has a number of features he likes but nothing that stands out yet as something irreplaceable to him (many find it to be notifications). It’s still early going, though, and Apple’s forging ahead. If you don’t get it, maybe it just isn’t for you. That doesn’t mean it isn’t for others.

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