It was a big day of announcements from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), including updates on Apple TV, Apple Pay and the Mac. But of course, the main attraction was the Apple Watch, which we learned will hit shelves on April 24.
While the consumer world was abuzz over the Apple Watch, investors didn’t let out more than a shrug. AAPL stock ended the day essentially unchanged.
But could the Apple Watch eventually be the next great product to come out of Cupertino, or will Wall Street’s collective yawn prove to be appropriate?
To get a little insight, I reached out to various tech CEOs and asked them for their thoughts on the Apple Watch. Here’s what they had to say:
Blair Garrou, Managing Director, Mercury Fund: “Since 2001, Apple has established itself by redefining niche consumer technologies (digital music players, smartphones, tablet computing) and making it addictively useful for the affluent consumer. With the launch of the Apple Watch, the company should once again define an entire product category and ultimately gain mass adoption and market share from the makers of smart watches and wearable computing devices. Critics contend that watches have lost their intrinsic value due to smartphones providing time and date. I contend that this makes the real estate of the wrist more up for grabs and will lead to a less intrusive way for individuals to check notifications, track health and wellness data, and Apple to collect billions in additional app store revenue.”
Prateek Kathpal, Vice President of Viewing Product Strategy, Accusoft: “Apple has delayed the watch launch long enough to create enough curiosity about the product in the market. But at the same time, interest in watches has been dwindling for a while now. Any revenue that Apple Watch brings in would not be substantial enough to create an impact on Apple over the long-term.”
Jordan Wright, Co-Founder & CEO, Comfy: “The Apple Watch is a great fit for Apple and will have massive adoption across consumers and potentially the enterprise, though I see the enterprise being a weaker fit. Contrary to popular belief, smart watches actually help us disconnect more from technology. The ability to see whether something is important before pulling out your phone or computer actually decreases the interruptions to your day. Not to mention the health benefits associated with better tracking and monitoring. Apple’s ability to execute should make this smart watch the best available. I imagine it will have a favorable impact on Apple.”
Shakil Haroon, Founder & CEO, Mpirica Health Analytics: “One of the biggest impacts the Apple Watch could have on consumers is instilling a deeper connection with their personal health. By establishing themselves as leaders in the wearable revolution, Apple has an opportunity to be at the center of a generation’s shift toward heightened awareness of their well-being. This is a dynamic time of change in U.S. healthcare, and the Apple Watch certainly positions Apple to advance much further in this space.”
Asaf Cidon, Co-Founder & CEO, Sookasa: “It would be hard for any new product to be a powerhouse for Apple’s bottom line, but the Apple Watch should define the next phase of wearables adoption. It may be just the shakeup the category needs to excite — and hold the attention of — consumers. In fact, I’m anticipating that consumers’ interest in the Apple Watch will shepherd in the next phase of BYOD (bring-your-own-device) issues in the enterprise space. Apple’s mobile products, like the iPhone and iPad, are the consummate examples of the types of products putting pressure on CIOs. And if response to the watch’s predecessor technologies is any guide, it will likely be some time before enterprises fully appreciate risks of whatever security, storage, or syncing capabilities come with the watch.”
Q Beck, Co-Founder & CEO, Famigo: “Last year the units of smartwatches shipped didn’t impress, which has people questioning the success of the Apple Watch and its potential impact on Apple’s stock price. However, people tend to forget that Apple wasn’t the first company to make smartphones or tablets, they just did it better and created a huge market for both of those products. If Apple can do the same for wearables with the Apple Watch, it will prove its products can continue to drive consumer behavior.”
Stephen Kurtz, CEO, MuscleSound: “When Apple introduced the first iPhone, it was a game changer. Mass sales of the Apple Watch will be more difficult. Apple needs to improve size and functions quickly to gain acceptance. The iPhone provided consumers with a completely new technology. Apple Watch functions are currently available in most smartphones. Why should anyone buy it? Because its Apple and it’s cool. But that won’t last long. I seriously doubt that Apple will enhance its stock value significantly from this product.”
Marius Moscovici, Founder & CEO, Metric Insights: “With the Apple Watch, Apple extends its reach to the wrists of both consumers and enterprise users. Apple is transforming the watch category just as it did with the music player and smartphone categories: by bringing great design sensibilities to a category that previously had appeal only to technologists and early adopters. The Apple Watch opens up a new chapter for Apple and can only be a positive catalyst for the company.”
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook. He is also the author of High-Profit IPO Strategies, All About Commodities and All About Short Selling. Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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