November 12, 2015
The extent to which the Apple Watch has been a success is still unclear, with sales estimates ranging from $2.5 million all the way up to $6m. What we do know is that the majority of Apple’s current advertising is now committed to pushing their wearable tech – there have been seven new ads in October this year alone. Will these make a significant difference to sales?
My thoughts on the Apple Watch are mixed. I don’t own one, and have no intention of buying one, but can see the appeal as part of an on-the-go, tech-optimized lifestyle. Yet Apple want their new gadget to be part of daily life for ordinary people; each of the new 16 second ads feature a young but diverse demographic using their Watch in various ‘normal’ situations, ranging from dancing to taking a flight.
Even these adverts divide my opinion. The ‘Dance’ ad shows the Watch owner asking Siri to play some 80s music, which is instantly provided. For a spontaneous dance – great – the Apple Watch does the job. But what about when you want to concentrate on a task, and any interruption disrupts your train of thought? Apple’s ‘Play’ ad shows just this; a pianist is in full flow, until his watch notifies him of the progress of his eBay bid. Despite his ability to respond to the notification seemingly without dropping a note, this is an instance where I struggle to find the appeal. If I want to play the piano, I want to be absorbed in that activity. If my eBay bidding has reached a critical point, I want to focus on that. What I don’t want is an eye on each (I would most likely screw up the piano repertoire and lose the bid).
When it comes to travel, I can be won over – being able to carry my boarding pass and tickets on my wrist would remove a degree of hassle. (Although, with the amount of time that we like to spend queueing in airports anyway, there is usually plenty of time for digging around in bags.) So for a regular flyer, yes, I get it.
The final ad that can’t go unmentioned is ‘Kiss’ – if any advert were going to put me off buying the Apple Watch, it would be this one. Here, we see a young couple going in for a tangibly apprehensive kiss – until the girl’s watch rings an alert. What incredibly bad timing! This moment is awkward enough as it is without them being interrupted at the crucial second. And I don’t think there’s actually anything to save this concept – the watch alert isn’t critical, nor does it have any immediate consequences. It just appears to be a poorly timed interruption.
All in all, these adverts have done nothing to clarify my mixed opinion on the Apple Watch. I’m sure it can be a lot of fun, and useful for those who need to respond to messages and alerts on-the-go, but for the average person? I’m not so sure. It certainly doesn’t feel ‘essential’. Some clearer sales figures might help reveal to what extent the world agrees.
by Lara Murphy