On Apple Watch as an invitation to thieves

There’s been a wave of sentiment over the past few days about the Apple Watch as an invitation to thieves. Many people share John Gruber’s take:

I really don’t get the hysteria over this as an invitation to thieves. This is no less secure than every single other wristwatch ever made.

This isn’t about the value of a single watch. It’s about a combination of large enough market size, high desirability, and relative rarity.

When the iPhone first emerged, the market was relatively small and theft was not a big problem. As the iPhone took off, the market for iPhones achieved critical mass, new releases were highly desirable and supply was constrained (new models achieved relative rarity). That combination triggered a wave of iPhone thefts, including some dangerous and brazen robberies, all triggered by a need to feed the hunger for the iPhone.

Apple responded to this crime wave by making their products useless if they were stolen. The approach clearly worked and iPhone theft plummeted.

The Apple Watch is not an invitation to thieves. Yet.

There are not enough Apple Watches in the wild yet to be a large enough market. The desirability might be there for early adopters, but it’s still too early in the adoption cycle for desirability to be high enough to trigger a large enough black market to entice this sort of thievery.

That said, if the Apple Watch catches on (and I think it will), then that wave is coming. If and when Apple Watch thefts become a large enough problem, it would be better if there was already a solution in place, a switch all ready to flip. After all, this lesson has already been learned.