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Apple Watch: Where Are Its Japanese Fans?

And so it has arrived. The Apple Watch was released last month, and now people the world over conveniently know what time it is (for part of the day).

The release was a global affair, and in Japan was limited to such specialty shops as Dover Street Market in Tokyo and electronics stores such as Ginza’s Bic Camera. Waiting eagerly were a few dozen people. A SoftBank shop had a line approximately half as long.

Wait a minute, several dozens? Where is everyone? Compared to other Apple product launches—which really do cause a frenzy—queues for the futuristic Apple Watch must have been waiting for, well, the future.

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Apple apparently encouraged customers to purchase online, and many Apple stores supposedly didn’t even stock any for the big rollout. But was this a sincere attempt to avoid mega-long lines of thousands (as claimed), or did Apple’s market research team realize (perhaps all too astutely) that the product might be met with a lukewarm reception and try to pass it off as all part of the plan?

Why is this? Well, the common sense answer is another question, what can the watch do that your smartphone cannot? From reviews so far, it honestly doesn’t seem like all that much. It basically only gives you Bluetooth access to your nearby (and newer model) iPhone—unsurprisingly it is only i-compatible)—thereby allowing users to call, message and use such common daily apps as Facebook, Instagram, Line, and Twitter. Is talking into your wrist really all that useful? Well, it’s probably cooler than talking into your finger.

However, most new automobiles already come with Bluetooth, allowing for hands-free dialing, steering-wheel answering controls, and even connecting your smartphone’s music library (and apps) to the car’s sound system. Have an older model car? Cigarette lighter Bluetooth kits and your phone’s speaker setting do much of the same. And, yes, while Bluetooth ear pieces might look dorky, they are fairly useful when driving or riding.

Taking it a step further, many of even the most tech-savvy businessmen (and regular working joes) are probably not going to be turning in their Panerai, Tag Heuers, or even G-Shocks for an Apple Watch anytime soon. One, style. And two, they probably need a watch that actually tells time the entire day. That’s right, regular use of the Apple Watch will result in a battery life of approximately 2.5 hours. Doing nothing gets you a bit closer with 18 hours in between charges. Interestingly, Tag Heuer will be releasing a smart watch in November that looks much more professional and boasts a considerably more impressive 40 hours of juice.

The price is also not trivial, ranging from US$349 for the 38mm Sport edition to over US$10,000 for the 18K gold Apple Watch Edition. The mid-range Apple Collection rest within the US$549–1,049. For more on its actual specs, be sure to check out PC Advisor.

While one cannot argue much against Apple’s tech revolution, at this time the Apple Watch seems to be more for the IOS hardcore fanatics and technophiles, as opposed to the iPhone, which is useful for just about anyone not living in a cave and even something that the occasional non-Mac PC user often prefers.

H/T: Japan Today

  • Pole Dancer

    Digital watches are a fad. A true watch enthusiast is forever loyal to handmade mechanical watches. Even the most techie people still love a good handmade watch. In Asia it’s a status symbol to own a proper Swiss made watch, even if it’s not that expensive but finely made.

    As soon as the Asian competitors make their own versions, the whole idea will disappear like calculator watches.

    • Haha, interesting point. Though I am a sucker for G-Shock (also ProTrek) and Suunto outdoor watches. While there altimeters are not perfect, they do come in handy when using a topographic trail map. Plus atomic and world time are super useful as well.

  • Chris Park

    @Pole Dancer…Haha, very true. Though I am a sucker for G-Shock (also ProTrek) and Suunto outdoor watches. While there altimeters are not perfect, they do come in handy when using a topographic trail map.