Home Tech No iWatch please: Dvorak isn’t buying one

No iWatch please: Dvorak isn’t buying one


John C. Dvorak is a tech pundit with strong views, sometimes a little too strong. He has decided any smart watch from Apple will be three-month fad, and an annoying one at that.  He isn’t buying one:

With iWatch (and Android Wear watches) there will be more than a button push just to get the time. These new devices are equipped to do all sorts of useless things you can show off. “Oh look, my heart is racing.” “Oh look, my blood pressure is up.” “Oh look, I can eat a donut and my blood sugar is the same.” “Oh look, yesterday I walked over a mile while inside the mall!” “Oh look, the atmospheric pressure just changed. Did you feel it?” And on and on and on.

In this article in PC World Dvorak has the good grace to acknowledge that he wasn’t spot on with his prognostications on the iPhone, but doesn’t want that to be held against him. This is what he said in the Wall Street Journal in March 2007:

 John C. Dvorak, tech pundit with a strong view (Wiki Commons)
John C. Dvorak, tech pundit with a strong view (Wiki Commons)

The problem here is that while Apple can play the fashion game as well as any company, there is no evidence that it can play it fast enough. These phones go in and out of style so fast that unless Apple has half a dozen variants in the pipeline, its phone, even if immediately successful, will be passé within 3 months.

There is no likelihood that Apple can be successful in a business this competitive. Even in the business where it is a clear pioneer, the personal computer, it had to compete with Microsoft and can only sustain a 5% market share.

And its survival in the computer business relies on good margins. Those margins cannot exist in the mobile handset business for more than 15 minutes.

And note that the Microsoft Corp. versus Apple battles are laughable compared to the frenzied marketing mania in the handset business. Even Microsoft itself has troubles with its attempts to get into a small sub segment of the handset business with its operating system.

What Apple risks here is its reputation as a hot company that can do no wrong. If it’s smart it will call the iPhone a “reference design” and pass it to some suckers to build with someone else’s marketing budget. Then it can wash its hands of any marketplace failures.

It should do that immediately before it’s too late. Samsung Electronics Ltd. might be a candidate. Otherwise I’d advise you to cover your eyes. You’re not going to like what you’ll see.

Eyes open again? It’s one thing to have strong opinions, but how could a guy be so wrong on so many counts? How about this for digging the hole deeper?

Now compare that effort and overlay the mobile handset business. This is not an emerging business. In fact it’s gone so far that it’s in the process of consolidation with probably two players dominating everything, Nokia Corp. and Motorola Inc.

Motorola? Nokia? However, maybe, just maybe, he might be right on the iWatch. Come back in seven years’ time and find out.