There’s just this one thing about Apple’s latest product line that I still don’t get. Here goes.
First off, with the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple went from declaring “no one’s going to buy [a bigger iPhone],” as Steve Jobs so famously declared back in 2010, to “from now on, everyone has to buy a bigger iPhone, whether they want to or not.” This is strange enough taken on its own. But when you consider the introduction of the Apple watch, things seem even more askew, strategy-wise.
One of the major advantages of the watch, Apple boasts, is its fitness program. Apple calls the watch “a health and fitness companion that never stops thinking of ways for you to be more active and fit.” And on the Apple website, they’re also pushing the health benefits, as well they should:
“Made to measure all the ways you move. Apple Watch unites the capabilities of an all-day fitness tracker and a highly advanced sports watch in one device you can wear all the time. It can track a wider variety of activities because it’s able to collect more types of data. It uses an accelerometer to measure your total body movement. It has a custom sensor that can measure intensity by tracking your heart rate. And it uses the GPS and Wi‑Fi in your iPhone to track how far you’ve moved.”
It all sounds pretty incredible. So incredible, Apple went and produced a little movie about it, in which Jay Blahnik, Director of Fitness, Health Technologies proclaims, “Apple watch is designed to help anyone who wears it lead a healthier life by being more active.” The watch will allegedly get everyone in shape (everyone who can afford it, that is). From “people who just want to be more active throughout their day…to those who work out a few times a week…to athletes committed to improving their performance.” The video features people walking briskly, jumping on boxes, jumping rope, engaging in some kind of rope-waving thing, and cycling. Fine. I’m with you so far.
But the big question is: where did all these happy, active, affluent people keep their iPhones? Because don’t forget, the one drawback about the Apple Watch is you still have to have your iPhone on you for it to work. These folks either have the phones in their pockets or, since a lot of them are in a gym, maybe they have their phone nearby, sitting on a table or something where somebody else can come along and steal them. Whatever. So far so good. But then the video repeatedly focuses on two women jogging in tight skimpy outfits, and guess what’s missing (besides the fact the woman on the right isn’t even wearing a watch)?
Where did they put their iPhones?
One might argue the iPhone isn’t needed for all Apple Watch fitness functions, and you’d be right. Sort of. But as it turns out, the only function that does requires the iPhone-link is distance tracking/map-routing. In other words, bikers and runners who want to map their distance still need to have their iPhones on them.
Near the end of the video, they show somebody holding an iPhone to illustrate how it integrates with the watch to display all the information gathered that day. Which is totally cool. Except there’s just one thing. What they fail to show us in the video is somebody jogging with a giant brick flopping around in their pants!
Don’t get me wrong. I love the watch. Big fan. And given all the fitness features, I believe it will genuinely help people lead healthier lives, perhaps even me (assuming my wife lets me plunk down the $350, a feat that may require a lot of mental gymnastics on my part). I’m just saying it’s pretty ironic this simultaneous shift on Apple’s part to the more convenient (Apple watch) and the more cumbersome (iPhone 6 & 6 Plus). It makes no sense! It’s almost like they’re trying to give people a reason to stick with their 5-series Phones. They made the watch so people wouldn’t have to go digging into their pants to look at their phones all the time but then they made the phones bigger so you have to shlep this ginormous device around wherever you go. Why wouldn’t Apple simply offer a third iPhone size that maintains the dimensions of the iPhone 5? They bragged about offering like ten million different combinations of Apple Watches, a product that’s not even on the market yet—but what—three iPhone sizes is too many?
And now we’re finding out that the larger of the two new phones actually becomes deformed in your pocket. Presumably, jogging with the thing tightly clamped to your undulating muscles is only going to hasten the damage. Will jogging with the phone tightly strapped to your body be covered by the warranty? Only time will tell. A leaked Apple document entitled, iPhone Visual/Mechanical Inspection Guide, states that “Catastrophic damage caused by abuse…is not serviceable.” Does this mean we can only jog with our iPhones until the warranty runs out? At which point we all go back to being fat and lazy? What’s the deal, Apple???
According to The New York Times, Apple spokeswoman, Trudy Muller said, “IPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus meet or exceed all of our high quality standards to endure everyday, real life use” and that Apple performs “rigorous tests throughout the entire development cycle including three-point bending, pressure-point cycling, sit, torsion and user studies.” Did this include jogging in tight shorts? Because that’s what’s in the video!
If I were you, I would buy stock in the first company that comes out with a durable, non-bendable iPhone case that can be comfortably strapped to ones body in a way that still encourages movement. I think they used to call them fanny-packs.
Content Strategy Lead at Anexinet