The Apple Watch was a product released for consumption last year, but the device was a rumored prototype called "iWatch" for a long time before Apple even started serious work on the device. Looking at the market, and seeing that the Apple Watch was really late to the smartwatch game (Samsung released its first Gear smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, in 2013, and Google launched Android Wear some 4 months before Apple even mentioned the Apple Watch), it's a rather justified assumption to make that Apple entered into the smartwatch market because of a "me too" race to keep up with its closest rivals.
And yet, one analyst in particular says that to assume the above is off-base; instead, the Apple Watch came about not because of market trends, or Apple's desire to stay current, but because of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
This is the latest statement on the Apple Watch from Apple analyst Tim Bajarin, who says that Jobs discovered how broken and fragmented the healthcare system is during his battle with pancreatic cancer. At that time, Jobs wanted to put patients closer to their data and away from bureaucratic red tape, so he pushed for Apple to come up with a device that would do that. "And while Apple's products define Jobs' legacy, it may turn out that his and Apple's greatest contribution may be to bring greater order to the fragmented healthcare world," Bajarin said.
The Apple Watch may prove to be Apple's greatest product indeed, though its success can only be attributed to the first-generation, 2007 iPhone for now. And yet, despite Bajarin's claim, it is true that the Apple Watch was released behind many of its competitors. There could be some truth to the idea that some manufacturers made smartwatches because of the frequent "iWatch" whispers that made their way around the Web years before Apple ever released the Apple Watch, but it's also true that Apple did indeed wait for a long time before releasing the smartwatch. Whatever innovation could've been attached to Apple, that innovation will forever be stained because it appears as though Apple took too long to release the product.
I value Bajarin's statement, and it's true that Steve Jobs' battle with pancreatic cancer may have very well found him trying to design something that would remove barriers to health data, but even Bajarin doesn't give much in the way of concrete evidence that should make us trust this in its entirety. I mean, the iPhone and iPad, both of which had been released prior to Jobs' death, could also put patients closer to their health data. What does the Apple Watch provide users that the iPhone and iPad cannot?
While Bajarin is esteemed as an analyst who knows more than most, there's nothing left by Steve Jobs, nothing left in print from Apple executives, that point to this being the reason. As with all things technology, we all have a personal investment in them -- and sometimes, that can be the catalyst for their creation -- but to make that statement in the absence of Steve Jobs seems to be an attempt to bring something good out of Job's personal tragedy.
I think Bajarin's claim is admirable, but if the Apple Watch wasn't released until 4 years after Jobs's death, and it's probable that "he never saw a prototype," Bajarin says, then the connection between Steve Jobs and the Apple Watch may not be as strong as Bajarin's making it out to be. I'm all for good tech analyses, and I think that it would be to Apple's advantage to market the Apple Watch as having an "immortal" connection to Steve Jobs, but with little in the way of tangible evidence, the connection between the former CEO and the new wrist wearable seems a bit stretched.
What do you think?