The Failure of the Apple Watch

Spire Digital
Apr 15, 2015

This month marks the launch of the Apple Watch, a game-changing, paradigm-shifting, earth-shattering new product that will undoubtedly be a huge success…or will it?

While early adopters and Jobs-heads and Pharrell presumably already have their Cupertino-crafted wrist pieces reserved, the jury’s out for everyone else. With every new product launch, there’s a period where it has to be determined whether or not the intended target market will truly embrace the product. For the Apple Watch, that intended target market is everyone, just like with the iPod and the iPhone.

Believe it or not, there was a time when we weren’t sure if we wanted to make the transition from CDs to mp3s or from flip phones to smartphones. As we all know, in these cases, innovation prevailed. However, I can’t say the same for the Newton, the Pippin, the G4 Cube, MobileMe, the MagicMouse, and countless other debacles.

Yes, even the seemingly infallible Apple fails. That’s the thing about new product development – success is far from guaranteed. The best laid business plans of geeks and nerds often go awry. Still, you can increase your odds of success, through failure.

I’m not talking about the New Coke type of failure. I’m talking about small failures, where you’re headed in a direction that leads to nowhere or you’re leading with a feature that nobody wants or you’re making assumptions about customers that quite simply aren’t correct.

The key with failures like these is to discover them quickly and to react to them even quicker. And eventually, all you’re left with is the good stuff, in a product that actually works, is needed, and has a place in the marketplace.

This is the cornerstone of SpireLean, our proprietary digital product development methodology. We can’t guarantee success. Nobody can. However, we can guarantee a much better shot at success.

The developers of the Apple Watch followed a similar methodology, with thousands, if not millions, of small failures. In the coming months, we’ll see if that led to huge success.

Now, much like the rest of you, I’m going to ponder whether or not to abandon my dumb, old, analog, timeworn ticker in favor of something fueled by failure.