by Jason Snell
‘Apple Waits as App Developers Study Who’s Buying Its Watch’
Brian X. Chen and Vindu Goel of the New York Times write a story about developers deciding how they might apply their products to a new category of accessory, and turns it into a FUD story about Apple watch sales in advance of Apple’s financial results tomorrow:
The lack of support from Facebook — and from other popular app makers like Snapchat and Google, which also do not have apps for Apple Watch — underscores the skepticism that remains in the technology community about the wearable device. That puts the watch, Apple’s first new product since the iPad in 2010, in something of a Catch-22: The companies whose apps would most likely prompt more people to buy the device are waiting to see who is buying it and how they use it.
Facebook’s Adam Mosseri, quoted in the story, is right on when he says (summarized by Chen and Goel) that it’s hard to imagine “how to deliver a good Facebook experience—including the news feed’s stream of posts, photos and videos—on such a small screen.” Facebook Messenger would be a good Apple Watch app, but Facebook as a whole? As Mosseri said to Chen or Goel, “You’d just want to get your phone out at that point.”
Not unreasonable. Developers are still struggling to figure out the best way to display information and interact on a device as small as the Apple Watch. Some developers have ripped up their first apps and started anew. The advent of watchOS 2 this fall will probably cause even more to follow.
This is a story about developers trying to figure out if they want to be on a new platform, and if they do, how best to accomplish that. Unfortunately, Chen and Goel’s story makes it seem like the development community is just holding its breath waiting to see if Apple’s selling watches, while users are similarly waiting to see if their favorite apps from their phones run on the watch before buying.