Reports today have suggested that app developers are losing interest in the Apple Watch and prefer the tvOS platform instead.
It’s the latest kick in the Apple Watch’s face as the device struggles to make the sort of impact Apple had hoped for with its first wearable.
It’s certainly not helping the company's bottom line, even if it is the most popular wearable on the market, and investors and market watchers are not convinced that the device has much of a role to play in the firm's fortunes.
There are a few things blighting the Apple Watch, and not just the lack of app interest, but it's nothing that can't be fixed, as V3 has kindly laid out here.
1. Too costly
Apple has continually dropped the price but most average buyers, even those who own expensive iPhones, have declined to pay any more money to Apple.
Even the cheapest model costs £259, which is not a lot compared with some tech but is still a sizeable bit of cash to hand over.
This could be easily rectified in one of two ways. First, Apple should bring the price down to somewhere around the £150 mark. Given that the components cost $83 this would hardly break the bank (plus if any company can afford the cost hit, it’s Apple).
Secondly, Apple should consider a bundle deal whereby if you purchase the newest iPhone you get an Apple Watch thrown in, or at an additional £50 say. This would entice more buyers and, more crucially, get more people out there using the device and showing it off.
2. Mainstream acceptance lacking
This is somewhat beyond Apple’s control, but wearables just don’t have mainstream appeal. It’s one step too far for most people who don’t want to have to wear technology even when they’re perfectly happy to be seen in public playing Candy Crush on a cracked iPhone 4 screen. The general public, eh?
Apple will just have to wait to see whether this grows. After all, mobile phones hardly became the ubiquitous device they are today overnight, so it may just be a case of watch and wait for mainstream wearable adoption.
3. Lack of developer interest
However, even if more people do own an Apple Watch it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll use it as, like the iPhone, the true benefit of such devices comes from the app ecosystem around them.
As today’s reports have shown, this is falling by the wayside because not enough people use them and very few apps can be used independently on the device as they require tethering to an iPhone.
Apple needs to change this quickly and do everything it can to woo developers into building for the Watch to ensure that any new owners can find the sort of experiences that make their iPhone so beloved.
WWDC is just around the corner, and we expect Apple to do just this, most likely by announcing more capabilities for watchOS that should appeal to developers.
4. The names
We’re mainly talking about the entry level Apple Watch Sport edition here. The name implies that it’s sports-oriented but, unlike dedicated sports wearables, it still requires the iPhone to actually do anything. This means that runners, bikers, hikers and the rest still need to carry a smartphone.
This is a big deal, as any keen sport enthusiast will tell you. In effect Apple is asking people to pay £259 for a device that’s less useful than cheaper rivals that are more suited to the task.
Furthermore, it could put off those who are interested in an Apple Watch, but see the ‘Sports’ branding for the cheapest model and believe it is useful only for sporting activities.
Apple should change the name and re-cast it more clearly as the entry-level device.
5. Can't be used without an iPhone
Apple is making efforts to remove the need to have an iPhone nearby when using an Apple Watch, but you still need an iPhone to use the Apple Watch at all.
The company is unlikely to make it so you can pair the Apple Watch with an Android device, but it would certainly increase ownership, and could entice more device owners to move to iOS.
Google has made the same move with its Android Wear for iOS app, but we accept that it would be a cold day in hell before Apple makes a similar move. Then again, its hand could be forced if Apple Watch uptake refuses to budge.
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