blue band apple watch

What is the Use Case?

According to a recent study by CB Insights, the number one reason that startups fail is that their cool new product doesn’t satisfy any need that real users have in a way that real users want. Too many startups focus on their personal excitement about a technology or to solve their own problem without thinking about UX and CX. The app Secret, which launched to wide fanfare two years ago, just closed down due to lack of interest.

In a piece posted on Medium Wednesday, Secret cofounder David Byttow said that after less than a year and a half of availability, the app would be shuttered and money returned to investors; the reason, he said, is that Secret “does not represent the vision” he had when starting it. The app, which had been free to Android and iOS users, is no longer available through the app stores for either mobile platform.

But this would never be true for Apple right? They are famous for designing products we don’t know we need, but immediately realize they are just what we wanted. Well, the Apple Watch might be the exception. There seem to be a lot of Apple fans who don’t see anything that the Apple Watch can do that is worth the extra cost and the extra burden or wearing it. Maybe soon, but not yet. Are any of us in HF/E surprised by this trend?

My Take

People are trying. There are currently 3,500 apps available for the Apple Watch. But the killer app that justifies the Watch has not yet appeared. Maybe it is Apple Pay. Or maybe a well-designed wayfinding app for navigating a strange city or that helps tourists appreciate what they are seeing there. Maybe a geotargeted social app that helps us make connections with people in our immediate range of view based on a deep understanding of who we are and who we would like to meet. Maybe . . . . . .

Your Turn

Do you have an Apple Watch? Are there functions that you find worth the costs? Are there any you are still waiting for? Or if you are resisting, what is holding you back? Is there a killer app that will draw you in?

Image Credit: charlie0111

4 thoughts on “What is the Use Case?”

  1. While I do not have an Apple Watch, I think this product offers a platform for myriad functions as the technology matures and improves. The first smart phones were very short on capabilities compared to current designs. Processing power and energy sources (i.e., battery life) were initially big hurdles. Same with the iPad. The first was mostly an expensive tech toy. Now tablets are ubiquitous from many manufacturers and features grow steadily as the processors and energy sources improve. The Apple Watch cracks open the door and allows a flood to start – in its present form, it may not cause the flood but it will inspire the flood.

  2. I heard a good one yesterday. ETrade is coming out with one for frequent stock traders. For them, the few seconds it takes to pull the phone out of your pocket could cost you half of the swing in a rumor-driven stock price change. I don’t recommend trading on this kind of information, but if you do, a smart watch could be useful.

  3. I heard from some users this morning that their Fitbit counts more steps than their Apple Watch. These users were not sure which one was more accurate, but they definitely preferred the “experience” of the Fitbit better for this reason. Makes them happier !!

  4. Hi Marc. Good to see you. As an Apple Watch user, my personal take here is that despite a solid marketing effort, Apple surprisingly failed to convey to me the usefulness of the Watch – which is admittedly hard to succinctly describe. My purchase was basically an impulse buy, banking on the possibility of utilizing the 14-day return policy, but the Watch has smoothly integrated itself into my life. Part of the difficulty in describing its utility is that each user may appreciate different features. The level of convenience the Watch has brought me was unexpected. I use the texting, email, calendar, and Maps functions regularly. As I travel a lot, often to new places, the wrist-based turn-by-turn directions have been fantastic. I haven’t yet used the GolfShot app, but having the location-to-pin on my wrist seems an (arguably) invaluable asset to a golfer, at least from an ease-of-use standpoint.

    I don’t have a Fitbit to compare similar functionality with the Watch, but the devices aren’t really in the same class (albeit “wearables”). The Watch isn’t for everyone, but it is for me.

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