Clearly, for some reason, my Apple Watch predictions were wildly wrong.
First of all, I underestimated Apple’s ability to expand the market and turn a niche product category into a mainstream product category. In 2013, there were other smartwatches on the market, but none of them were big sellers, so I concluded that the Apple Watch wouldn’t be a big seller either. I took a look at the clunky, ugly aesthetic of existing smartwatches and concluded that those willing to wear them on their wrists every day — nerds like me — weren’t a big enough market.
But I forgot to remember that Apple is appleand it has proven time and again that it can, through sheer force of will, turn a niche product for nerds into something everyone wants.
It’s a testament to the company’s renowned product and marketing prowess. That’s part of the reason I’m not willing to pass up the Vision Pro opportunity.
Of course, there are good virtual and mixed reality headsets out there, and there are even some decent apps. But these headphones aren’t made by Apple, nor do they integrate as seamlessly into the overall Apple ecosystem as the Vision Pro. Integrating all your iPhone contacts, iMessages and iOS settings into a mixed reality headset from the moment you turn it on could mean the difference between the device you actually use every day and the novelty toy you shove into the closet after a few difference weeks.
Another mistake I made with the Apple Watch in 2013 was that I forgot that human behavior is not static, that our ideas of what is fashionable and socially acceptable are always changing in response to new technology.
Back then, part of my reaction was social norms. At the time, it might have been considered bad manners to look at your watch during a meeting or dinner with the family. But ten years later, this behavior (at least to me) is no longer considered inappropriate because so many people now own an Apple Watch, many have created new norms around it.
Now, let’s assume that those looking at their watch at dinner might try to avoid pulling out their phone, which would be ruder and more disruptive. In other words, mass adoption removes taboos.