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by Affirm

SmartWatches… Yes, SmartWatches… Again

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With today’s dropping of Motorola’s Moto 360, and an anticipated product announcement next week by long-time smartwatch genre holdout Apple, I thought I’d weigh in one more time about smartwatches.

Moto 360
Moto 360

A friend of mine who should know – he’s an ex-Dell marketing guy – claims none other than Apple industrial design genius Jony Ive has said Apple’s new offering may “put the Swiss out of business.” I have no way of knowing if Sir Jony uttered any such thing, but I wouldn’t put it past him.

However, if he did, I think he’s wrong. And here’s why.

REASON #1

Smart “watches” are not watches, at least thus far. So far, they’ve been Bluetooth-connected extensions of cell phones, useless when not tethered. Therefore, they are not competition for Swiss watches, which I assume is what Mr. Ive meant by his term, “the Swiss…”

REASON #2

The Moto 360 is debuting at $249.99, with an all metal version to follow in a few weeks at $299.99. In terms of typical Swiss watches, that’s a tenth of a typical entry-level Swiss timepiece. Even an iWatch with Apple’s legendary quality and equally legendary premium pricing will be disposable by comparison. Again, smartwatches do not compete with Swiss watches.

REASON #3

Even with Apple quality and workmanship, the effective useful life of the anticipated iWatch before forced technological obsolescence will be measured in single digit years, while mechanical watch lifetimes are measured in centuries. (Are you still running Windows XP? Props to you – and your millions of cohorts – but you know those days are numbered…)

So I await early reports of the Moto 360’s usefulness, and Tuesday’s forthcoming product announcement from One Infinite Loop, with mixed feelings…

And just my luck, I’ll be traveling on Tuesday.

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