”If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”—Jim Rohn
Success is a very unusual term. One person’s success is almost certainly considered by another to be a failure. There are few ways to measure success that everyone would agree on, even when you are talking about Apple products.
While it would be hard to argue the monumental success of the iPod in the early 2000s and the iPhone later in the decade, there are many that would say the iPad has been less than successful. I don’t agree with that assessment.
The problem—if there is one—of having two blockbuster products, back-to-back, is that everyone thinks your next release should be on that same level. The chances of that happening is almost nil.
Even though the iPad sold almost 25 million units in the last fiscal quarter, it’s not up to the 75 million that the iPhone sold. For a lot of people that’s the measure of success, without taking into account that they are completely different products, serving different markets.
So, how will we measure the success of Apple Watch? Will it be pre-order sales? Perhaps, first weekend sales? Number of overall units? How about total quarterly profit? The number of magazine covers it’s on?
The measurement of success will be different for almost everyone. But I don’t believe that any of those are as important as one measure of success that will be a bit more difficult to track: are people still using Apple Watch after three months.
That to me will be the true measure of success for Apple Watch. I have no doubt the initial reviews will be outstanding; I have no doubt pre-order sales will be through the roof; and I have no doubt that Apple will take a significant percentage of the nascent smartwatch market.
What we don’t know is how long people will use Apple Watch.
There will be a percentage of people that will take to the Internet and declare Apple Watch a failure because it was a novelty item. I accept that. While I think many of those people will be missing the big picture, I don’t think Apple Watch is for everyone.
With a $349 starting price tag, Apple Watch will be an attractive purchase for a lot of people outside the tech market. It’s those people that are important to the future of Apple Watch.
Remember back to the iPod and iPhone—it’s when they passed by the tech crowd and into mass market adoption that they truly became iconic products. That’s what Apple Watch has to do, and I think it can.
There will be growing pains with Apple Watch, as there are with any new technology. I don’t expect the watch to be flawless—no product ever is, but it’s up to Apple to make sure the value proposition is there for normal, everyday users.
From what I’ve seen so far of the Apple Watch and iPhone combination, Apple, with help from its developers can do it.
The more people you see wearing Apple Watch one, three, six months after purchasing the device, the more successful it will be. That is a measure of success that will take time, but it’s very important.
Editor’s Note: This story was first published in The Loop Magazine. You can download the magazine free for iPhone and iPad.