Let’s be honest about Apple Watch. It’s an iPhone accessory in a nascent product category which already boasts a wide range of products, functions, and promise. That’s today. That, as all new technology products do over time, will change. If you design, build, and sell a competing product that does not compare well to the industry leader, what can you do?
Fitbit co-founder James Park:
I think it’s a great product and Apple’s a great company, but it’s a product that probably does too much. Really our research has shown that people who search for an interest in the Apple Watch do not overlap with people who search for and are interested in Fitbit. I think the biggest problem with the category today is they do so many things and it hasn’t been really clearly communicated to people why they should need one of these devices.
Park is not alone in his analysis, but what I would prefer to see is less comparison and sniping and more focus on what a competing product can do and why there’s a substantial value proposition, but not vs. another product which isn’t really in the same category.
Back in the early days of the PC I remember meeting up with an IBM PC sales critter at a computer technology show. In steady, deliberate terms, he outlined the features and benefits of the then still new IBM PC. When a prospective customer asked him to compare the new, and much less expensive Compaq luggable PC with an IBM PC, the IBM rep listened politely, said Compaq makes great products and then launched back into the features and benefits show without drawing a contrast between the two products
Compare and contrast needs to be done minimally and discreetly so the risk of an unfavorable comparison is reduced. Until Fitbit has a product that competes in the same space as Watch, the company’s executives would be better served simply to point out their products features and benefits, and leave the competition behind.
Back to the question. Does Apple Watch do too much?
In the same way that a Windows PC or a Mac can be accused of capabilities beyond what is normal for the average everyday computer user. Does anyone accuse Apple’s Mac of doing too much because it can run OS X, Windows, and various flavors of Linux and Unix?
Likewise, do you compare a Kindle eBook reader to an iMac which can also read eBooks?
Apple Watch only ‘does too much‘ when compared with similar devices which do far less, even if those devices are highly focused on specific functionality (such as Fitbit’s focus on health and fitness). Some could argue that Watch doesn’t do enough to justify the expense, while others argue that it’s too complicated to setup and use.
We’ve known that pretty much from day one of the company that [fitness] was really the killer app for our devices, and for nine years we’ve invested heavily in making Fitbit almost the Kleenex of the category
If Fitbit is focused on health and fitness and does well in that category, what is Watch? First, it’s an accessory to iPhone. For now. Second, Watch is an extension of iPhone that brings a variety of functions to the convenience of a watch. Third, watch is a fashion device.
Watch ‘does too much‘ only from a particular perspective.