Why I’ve no time for the Apple Watch. Yet.

Spare a thought for your Apple store assistant. A few years ago if someone wanted an iPhone phone, they offered them an iPhone. If someone wanted an iPad, they offered them an iPad. Even if someone wanted a computer the choice pretty much boiled down to desktop or laptop.

Now it’s all different. The emergence of Apple’s latest iPad and iPhone derivatives confirms, if confirmation were needed, that the simple, clear, clutter-free Jobs period is well and truly over.

The Apple store assistant now has to compare and contrast products with very little between them.

The Apple site even employs a comparison mechanism to help decipher the differences between available iPads and iPhones.

Steve jobs must be looking down from his iCloud in sad bewilderment.

WWJD? (What Would Jobs Do?)

Steve jobs must be looking down from his iCloud in sad bewilderment.

For a company that became so incredibly successful through it’s unequaled marketing, it seems odd they would choose to create so many derivatives and run the risk of diluting the iPhone and iPad brands that became instantly synonymous with the markets they themselves created.

This is the company that founded itself by introducing amazing products no one knew they wanted. Even the products that failed (Newton, Cube,) paved the way for products that eventually defined entire verticals.

I’ve no doubt the iPad and iPhone derivatives will sell  but I do wonder at the costs associated with manufacturing and supporting such an extensive product line. The logistics alone must be mind-boggling.

Which brings me on to the Apple Watch. It’s here that I really struggle. Effectively a tiny strap-on tablet device, the Apple Watch seems to bring little to the party other than some health-related apps and a way to send doodles to other Apple Watch users. In other words, not much more than a typical phone provides.

What do I gain by replacing my relatively individual automatic watch (which never needs charging) with a generic Apple Watch? Is this a product no-one knew they needed? Has Apple taken an existing concept and redefined, reimagined, reinvented, redesigned it to become so much better? In years to come will we wonder how we ever managed without it? I’m not so sure.

For now, I’ll bide my time. Using my old Seiko. After all, if the array of iPhones and iPads is anything to go by, they’ll soon be myriad Apple Watches to choose from. And one of them is bound to deliver something truly distinguishing, right?

This'll do

This’ll do

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Why Facebook Stores Are Failing

Content, audience and engagement. Facebook has it all. So why are brands apparently struggling to sustain a business case for their Facebook Stores?

In the past year alone, Gap Inc, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney and Gamestop have opened and subsequently closed Facebook Stores. How can this be? All the ingredients for a successful online retail venture appear to exist, yet in practise the result seems half-baked. Why?

To find the answer, we should first remind ourselves why Facebook has become such a phenomenon in the first place: Quite simply, it’s a great place to hang out, meet, and interact with likeminded people. Its a round-the-clock party, hosted by friends, in a familiar venue, with constantly changing decor. (No surprise it was originally called Faceparty).

The fact is, people party to socialise, not to buy stuff. How many parties do you attend where suddenly, an uninvited guest buts into your conversation weilding a pop-up store? Almost certainly none. And why? Becuase it’s a social faux pas. It’s a turn-off. It’s party pooping of the highest order. And it’s a real challenge for Facebook.

“We just didn’t get the return on investment we needed from the Facebook market, so we shut it down pretty quickly. For us, it’s been a way we communicate with customers on deals, not a place to sell.” – Ashley Sheetz, vice president of marketing and strategy, Gamestore.

A perfect place for people to converse and recommend stuff, it seems Facebook has yet to resolve the natural aversion its users have to bridging the apparently logical step between recommendation and transaction. The problem is, since when has logic figured in socialising with mates? A party based on logic? Be there to be square…

Batman's cape had seen better days