Apple Watch as a Post-Steve-Jobs Product

Two weeks ago I wrote a column in response to a Financial Times story about Apple’s forthcoming AR headset, and one objection I raised was the FT’s claim that “The headset will be Apple’s first new computing platform to have been developed entirely under his leadership. The iPhone, iPad and even Watch were all originally conceived under Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011.”

I called it a retcon to give Jobs credit for it. Here’s a piece that backs it up, a behind-the-scenes profile by Brad Stone and Adam Satariano for Bloomberg Businessweek back in September 2014, published just after Apple unveiled the Apple Watch at the keynote event for the iPhone 6:

With an Apple Watch wrapped around his hand brass-knuckle style, Ive reveals that the project was conceived in his lab three years ago, shortly after Jobs’s death and before “wearables” became a buzzword in Silicon Valley. “It’s probably one of the most difficult projects I have ever worked on,” he says. There are numerous reasons for this — the complexity of the engineering, the need for new physical interactions between the watch and the human body — but the one most pertinent to Ive is that the Apple Watch is the first Apple product that looks more like the past than the future. The company invited a series of watch historians to Cupertino to speak, including French author Dominique Fléchon, an expert in antique timepieces. Fléchon says only that the “discussion included the philosophy of instruments for measuring time” and notes that the Apple Watch may not be as timeless as some classic Swiss watches: “The evolution of the technologies will render very quickly the Apple Watch obsolete,” he says.

Monday, 27 March 2023