As the Apple Watch (iWatch) release date approaches, Apple faces the sobering news that the other major wearable computing product on the market, Google Glass, has been discontinued due to lack of interest. It’s enough to give pause to Tim Cook and his Cupertino minions, as Apple has just bet very publicly on its new wearable product and has high expectations in carving out a new market. But here’s why the Apple Watch will outsell Google Glass handily:
Feature set: The iWatch already offers deep integration with the iPhone from day one and a full feature set which is polished enough to appeal to those who just want the product to work out of the box rather than feeling like they’ve bought a tinker toy. Contrast that with Google Glass, which shipped at least a year before it was ready, and ended up appealing only to those who enjoyed tinkering with half finished products.
Price: If the Apple Watch sounds pricey at $349, consider that Google Glass was selling for $1500. Apple may end up having to bend to market forces and bring the iWatch price down to $299 before long, but it’s least it’s within the realm of realistic gadget pricing.
Wrist: Plenty of people wear eyeglasses, but Google Glass created the specter of people walking around with a video camera mounted to their glasses, which made the public uncomfortable. The Apple Watch is worn on the wrist, where it won’t freak other people out. Also, since the iWatch doesn’t have a camera, there’s little to worry about in that regard.
Cool factor: The first people to buy Google Glass were the kind of tech geeks who gave the product a highly uncool reputation by showing it off in dorky ways that didn’t appeal to the mainstream, such as wearing it in the shower or live-streaming other patrons in a bar. The first people to buy the Apple Watch will be the type who want to use it to enhance their iPhone experience, and that will give the product practical word of mouth once its release date arrives.
The good news for Apple is that the Apple Watch shouldn’t suffer from any of the key errors that were made with Google Glass. And the good news for Google is that if the iWatch does succeed as expected, it means the wearable market is for real and Google can take another crack at it after having learned from its early mistakes. The iWatch release date should arrive in the March to April 2015 range.