How many smartwatches can you name? Well, let’s see. There’s Apple Watch. And, there must be a Samsung smartwatch using Android, right? Oh, and I saw a humongous LG watch running Android. There must be more, right?
Even Apple Watch was late to the smartwatch party but guess who gobbled up most of the sales and profits? Apple. In fact, the company’s rapid foray into the watch industry made it second only to luxury giant Rolex and that was last year or the year before, and every estimate for Watch sales recently has Apple on top.
Being late to a party may be fashionable but it can also be deadly. Yet, here we are, it’s 2017, a couple of years after Watch shipped and Swatch Group AG– makers of the trendy and color Swatch watches– plans a Watch killer of sorts. Lest you think of Swatch as cheap but colorful plastic watches, those Swiss folks are sneaky and Swatch owns the more expensive Tissot brand and they plan to introduce a smartwatch to take on Apple’s Watch.
At the end of 2018.
Uh huh. That’s almost two years from now, which means we’ll likely see Apple’s Watch Series 3 later this year, and Watch Series 4 sometime next year, just before Swatch ships a Tissot smartwatch.
Guess whose smartwatch is likely to be smarter by the end of 2018?
You may not have noticed because not many have, and the watch industry has changed dramatically thanks to Apple’s Watch entry, but watchmakers, Swiss or otherwise, have been adding smarts to their watches to stem the tide of slower and lower sales. For example, LVMH (another watch maker) announced a TAG Heuer smartwatch co-developed with Intel and Google.
Meanwhile, millions of smartwatch users have begun to love their Apple Watch models thanks to the growing application ecosystem, and that, folks, is where the excrement reaches the fan and begins a different line of distribution.
Smartwatches are all about functionality, and functionality is all about apps, and Apple’s Watch has the lead in both functionality and applications (not to mention unit sales and profitability). This is just one Apple watcher with an opinion, but it seems to me that if you want to compete with an industry leader you need to take one of two basic approaches.
One, build a better mousetrap that’s priced about the same as the leader. Otherwise, what’s the compelling reason to switch?
Two, build what the industry leader builds, but price it for much less. Otherwise, what’s the compelling reason to switch?
Swatch seems to be– as many watchmakers are these days– stuck between a rock and a hard spot and creating an entirely new smartwatch with new operating system and launching it in two years or so doesn’t seem like a great idea because Apple doesn’t exactly stand still.
Well, except for Mac upgrades.