How the Apple Watch Already Has Success Designed in

When a new product category arrives from Apple, like the Apple Watch, it can be hard to size up the future prospects. Some observers only have a dim idea about how customers will embrace and exploit the product, and they don't yet see how Apple works to design success into the very DNA of any new product. In time, however, it all becomes clear, and the naysayers seldom turn out to be right.


It requires a first rate, experienced mind to size up a new technology and diagnose how it will fit into our lives. It's not something that just anyone can do.

Those who are successful are usually people who've been around technology a long time, have a knack for visionary thinking, have perhaps read a good amount of science fiction, and have some practical industry experience. It goes without saying that they're pretty smart and well read.

On the other hand, without those technology instincts and skills, some observers fall into the trap of believing that, because they can't develop a good sense of what's in store in for a new product, it's bound to fail.

This cycle of ...

  1. It'll never work.
  2. It might work, but it's a terrible idea.
  3. It's a decent idea, but no one will buy it.
  4. Everyone is buying it. I thought it was a good idea all along.

...has been going on since the automobile replaced the horse and even before that. And so when writers have the vision to suggest that things will go better than we might expect with the Apple Watch, it's not just being a fan boy. It's the voice of experience. I pay attention to those writers, and you should too.

Image credit: Apple

Here are three articles from this week to get you started. The first sets the stage by recalling what has come before with the iPod and iPhone. The next two dig into what the Apple Watch will achieve, and that's even before the product has shipped.

1. The Future: What Apple Knows About The Watch That We Don’t Know, by Bambi Brannan.

2. The One Apple Watch Thing That Really Matters by Chris Maxcer.

3. Taptic, haptics, and the body fantastic: The real Apple Watch revolution by Brian S. Hall (one of my favorite tech writers).

Apple has that special ability to create a new product that's loaded with potential. As we explore the product, we get a feeling for the capabilities yet to be unleashed, and that creates a sense of anticipation and excitement. That naturally propels the success of the product. Even crowds sense it when they gather around during demos.

This is why the Apple Watch took so long in the making. Any company can slap together miniaturized electronics and add a wristband. Apple takes the approach that the new product will be embraced because it is eminently functional, interoperable, beautiful, well made and has the proper prospects for growth. In turn, that fuels ever more advanced R&D that keeps the product fresh and alive.

In a sense, success it built into the product's DNA, but unless you can tap into that special technical wavelength, you'll never believe in the prospects for success of this, um, newfangled gadget.

Next: the tech news debris for the week of September 29. Magazine heaven: a 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Page 2 - The Tech News Debris for the Week of September 29


Ah, I remember it well. My titanium PowerBook G4 and Mac OS 9. Anyone remember that? Here's a great trip down memory lane by Andrew Cunningham at ars technica. "My coworkers made me use Mac OS 9 for their (and your) amusement." Good times.

Back in August, I wrote about "A Mad Magazine Experiment with iPad Gone Sour." I cited many problems I had reading digital magazines on my 9.7 inch iPad Air. One of those problems was that I wished for a larger display, you know, the one rumor sites keep talking about. A 12.9-inch iPad Pro would be, in my opinion, a much better platform for magazine reading.

And so I was delighted to see this article by Kevin Michaluk over at iMore. Because, you know, if just one other writer agrees with me, my opinion must be golden. "I will finally cancel my print magazine subscriptions when Apple releases a 12.9" iPad."

Magazines on 9.7-inch display: a tight fit.

Of course, a larger iPad screen isn't the only thing that will contribute to a better magazine reading experience. Publishers also have to do two things: become very deep in iOS development technologies and also make financial commitments to best-of-breed presentation and reader experience.

It reminds me of the Barnes & Noble affair. Decades ago, one would have predicted that the big book publishers would be the companies that would lead the way with tablets. It was the natural SciFi dream. But book publishers didn't have the money, vision and technology to make it happen. Instead it was left to Apple to be the modern tablet pioneer.

Today, we like to believe that the legacy magazine publishers are the ones that will lead us into a terrific future of digital magazines on tablets. But, of course, unless they work really hard on the technology development and opportunities presented with Apple's hardware, their success isn't guaranteed. Smarter, savier entrepreneurs could put them all out of business.

End of rant.

Do Apple employees work hard? You bet they do. Part of it is self-starter passion and part of it is the work pace when you're on the front lines. So I wanted to introduce you to a transcript of a conversation between two former Apple managers, Don Melton and Nitin Ganatra. You may not have been totally aware of how crazy it can get working for Apple. I worked there, and it all rings true. "Work Habits at Apple."

Now we know why Apple isn't working closely working with PayPal on Apple Pay. This next article recounts a never ending story. You can either take the money now from an Apple competitor or you can work with Apple and reap longterm benefits. Your call. "The Real Reason PayPal Isn’t an Apple Pay Preferred Partner."

Finally, it appears that Apple has decided that there's no point in issuing a bash shell update at this time in the OS X Mac App Store—what with Yosemite's release being imminent. So if you want to go ahead and do the patch, even if you're not running any Unix advanced services, here's the link where you can download an installer that fixes the security flaw, called Shellshock, in the bash shell.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page 1) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.