Over at Stratechery, Ben Thompson has been having a bit of an argument with himself about how Apple rolled out the Apple Watch, why it announced the device now, and what it all means. I always enjoy Thompson’s analysis, but watching his position on the Apple Watch evolve has been fascinating and informative. It’s like getting a peek inside a favorite writer’s notebook.
- The day after the event he criticized the roll-out for being overwhelming, with demos of too many features that may not even be appropriate for the wrist.
Two days later he doubled down with his own script of what he’d have liked to hear from Apple.
Roughly a week after the event, though, Thompson’s post What I Got Wrong About Apple Watch sees him wondering if he’d underestimated just how groundbreaking the Apple Watch really could be.
Now comes the latest installment, in which he breaks down why he changed his mind and—most interesting to me—Apple’s three strategic options.
To my mind Apple had three alternatives:
- Release an accessory-like Watch today, then transform it into a standalone device once it had its own cellular stack
Wait until the technology was ready and release a fully functional Watch in two or three years time
Release a Watch in 2015 that is designed as if it is a fully functional device, even though for the next few years it needs an iPhone for full functionality
Thompson’s conclusion is that the Apple Watch is a replacement for the iPhone in the waiting, and that its days tethered to an iPhone are numbered. All four pieces are well worth a read.