The Future of the Dumbwatch ➝

Marco Arment:

The Apple Watch isn’t just a watch, interchangeable like any other. It’s an entire mobile computing and communication platform, and a significant enhancement to the smartphone, which is probably the most successful, ubiquitous, and disruptive electronic device in history. Once you’re accustomed to wearing one, going out for a night without your Apple Watch is going to feel like going out without your phone.

I’m not all-in on the Apple Watch, but I’m also the guy who’s spent the past decade wondering why someone would wear a (dumb) watch in the first place. If there are people out there that still wear traditional watches then clearly smartwatches will succeed. It’s just the logical successor to what we all think of as a watch today. The current high-end watch makers are either going to fail or realize that it’s time to embrace smartwatches and start manufacturing their own.

Once people get a taste for a feature it’s hard to go back to a product that was built without it. It’s like cruise control in cars or an ice maker in your freezer — they don’t seem like a big deal until you live with them for a while. If you take those features away, the chore of having to keep your foot on the peddle during long car rides or the need to continuously refill ice cube trays will feel archaic compared to what you’re used to.

And, the same will be true with watches. Once you live with a watch that has applications for communication, the weather, news, etc. you’ll feel hindered every time you leave home without it or make the decision to wear a dumbwatch for a day. It’ll likely take several years before the majority of watch wearers feel that way, but it’s inevitible. In a decade, releasing a watch without smartwatch features will be like a releasing a computer without the ability to connect to the Internet — there’s likely a niche market for such a product, but nobody you know would even think about buying one.