I think the pricing scheme may actually be a plus rather than a hindrance.
The gist: the different tiers will become hugely recognizable status symbols, people will buy the nicest SKU they can reasonably afford leading to higher margins.
But I’ve wondered since this product was announced when we could see it replace the iPhone as your only mobile computer (not including iPad or Mac). Clearly that is the direction Apple is moving in. I think they want iOS developers to focus heavily on creating innovate interfaces on the watch that people will actually prefer over using an iPhone. Once the consumer is ready, and the technology is ready, then they will finally eliminate the need for the phone.
Several technologies would have to mature or be developed to facilitate this, of course.
First, the S-series chips would have to integrate 4G/LTE (it already has Wifi) and pack in a lot more power to do all processing on the watch.
Second, Apple will likely have to make major headway on battery chemistry and/or current display technology to be able to squeeze a full day out of this cellular-enabled watch.
Third, Siri will have to become even more capable, flexible and more interactive with apps to enable the OS to do more complex tasks that would require many taps to do yourself (e.g. “buy me a ticket for Shrek the Musical at 6PM on TicketMaster” or “What is my bank balance?”)
Finally, Apple will have to develop, if they haven’t already, Bluetooth earbuds that are more compact and have stronger battery life than the current industry norm to facilitate phone calls and music listening on the watch. Integrating (actually good) cameras shouldn’t be too difficult technically as the current iPhone cameras are already incredibly tiny.[divider]When though?[/divider]
I’m thinking all of this can happen by 2017. At the very least the tide will have begun turning in a real way, and I think people will actually welcome the death of the smartphone as we know it.
Note: if you disagree, please try to compose at least two or three full sentences as to why, rather than a small handful of words.
ALSO: I do not say that Apple will stop making the iPhone anytime soon (duh) or even for several years after the watch gains cellular capability and some of the other items I mention above. But I do see most people opting not to carry one anymore, like the iPod.
The always insightful John Gruber on this question:
A few years down the line, I expect Apple to have a Watch that can replace your iPhone. The tech just isn’t there yet. Apple is already setting expectations for single-day battery life for the Apple Watch, at best.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, TechFly as an organization.