(By Barry Schuler)
You might as well get used to the idea right now, very soon it will be impossible to function without an Apple Watch. Unlike previous Apple products, this is not about being cool – it will be survival. I know, I have heard all of the naysayers: – “our generation doesn’t wear watches anymore,” or, “it’s a nice-to-have but there is no compelling reason to have one.” They just don’t get it, yet.
It’s not a watch
Apple Watch is no more a watch than smartphones are phones. And let us remember that the first couple of iPhones were crappy phones and not very smart. They were little more than WIFI connected iPods with a fancy screen. Yet here we are less then a decade later with almost 2 billion smartphones in use worldwide.
Walk on the streets of any major city and you can see hoards of people with earbuds plugged, fiendishly two-thumbing it as they mindlessly sashay to their destination. Scan any restaurant: People seated together no longer have any meaningful discourse. Their faces are buried in a screen with a sense of urgency akin to a head of state dealing with an international crisis.
It is smartphone rehab
Remember the backlash to Google Glass? Citizens tech-shamed those nerds and made them social outcasts calling them “glassholes.” Yet ironically, the world has become a bunch of “screenholes” unable to even lounge on the beach without screen in hand. Unfortunately, it has become the new normal. So Apple, in its infinite product wisdom, has created the solution. Apple Watch is not designed as an extension of our iPhones. It was created to save us from them. Apple Watch will make us human again, and healthy humans to boot.
The raison d’etre for Apple Watch is liberation. Rather than covering your face with your phablet-sized screen, a simple glance to the wrist will assure you have not missed that Kim Kardasian moment. Now when at your child’s school recital you will have a better chance of actually seeing them perform since the latest betting line on the game you are waiting for will appear right at your wrist-top.
Once people begin to reconnect with others in real life (IRL), there will be little tolerance for big screen starers. They risk banishment just like the Glassholes. Restaurants will be likely to have Screenhole sections to segregate the digital anti-social crowd.
Siri: “Drop down and give me 10”
And then there are the health benefits. With its plethora of health sensors, GPS, acceleration and motion feeds, Apple Watch will help you achieve physical perfection. Gentle haptic nudges will attempt to discourage you the minute you step into your favorite burger joint. And if you choose to proceed, the watch will call out calories each time your hand brings that tasty burger to your lips. If the watch’s attempts at portion control fail, it will attempt to navigate you to the gym the moment you leave and will have conveniently adjusted your workout to take down that double Shackburger chased with frozen custard.
Within two years, Apple Watch people will be the picture of fitness. Dating and hook up services will drop watch luddites. The muffin top laden, non-watch people will be relegated to the Screenhole areas. Soon, people without Apple Watch will be huddled out in the cold like the shrinking population of cigarette smokers.
Your current resistance to buying Apple Watch is nothing more than a little lack of vision. But consider this, when iPhone came on the scene you could imagine listening to your music, making phone calls, and texting from one device. But could you imagine Uber? Just consider all of the exciting new things that Apple Watch will bring in the future.
So my friends, you might as well think different right now. Try it on. Pick your favorite and lean forward as much as you can. I hear airlines will only be offering first class to people with the fabulously tony $12k+ Apple Watch Edition.
Barry Schuler is managing director for DFJ Growth and the former chairman and CEO of America Online. He is credited with being one of the pioneers of the modern Internet. As an entrepreneur for more than 30 years, Barry propelled innovations in digital media, e-commerce, design, and video games. He was a member of the senior management team that scaled AOL from $1B to $200B in market cap during 20 consecutive quarters of growth. Barry co-founded the DFJ Growth Fund in 2006 and is actively involved with its investments which include Twitter, Tumblr, SolarCity, SpaceX and Tesla Motor Company.