Apple Doesn’t Need to Make a Round Watch Because Their Design Won Out

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Yes, I know. Apple blogs and tech sites are making claims because 9to5Mac found a patent the company was awarded covering a Watch with a round face. Ever since the Apple Watch was released, some potential buyers and fans of traditional watch design have been insisting that Apple HAS to adopt a rounded design, or risk being left behind. Despite Patrick Austin of Gizmodo’s assertion that the “…Round Apple Watch Dream Won’t Die,” history hasn’t agreed so far.

Here’s the problem with that statement. Multiple companies using three different competing platforms adopted rounded designs to differentiate from Apple’s Watch. How much did it help them? Pebble no longer exists and Google’s re-named Wear OS has been left in the dust. Samsung has managed to hang around in fourth place, but the Apple Watch leads the wearables industry in both profits and market share, and it shows no signs of stopping. This really isn’t much of a race anymore, so Apple passing on a forced round design worked out just fine for them.

We all know that you can only read so much into Apple patents, because they often cover hardware and features that they never intend to bring to market. In my opinion, that is likely the case here. Why, you ask? Because Apple’s original Watch design already won. There isn’t a single, solitary metric based on sales or market share that disagrees with this statement. Apple’s Watch is the unquestioned leader among smartwatches despite no shortage of circular competition. What would be the point os shifting away from this success right now?

I won’t say that Apple will never release a round version of the Apple Watch. There may come a point when they decide that a design overhaul is warranted and move in that direction. However, I don’t think that time is now. Not yet. As successful as the Watch has turned out to be, it has been a slow buildup over the course of three years. Because of that, tweaked versions of the current square designs should still have plenty of legs.

A key reason for Apple to maintain the current design or similar for a while longer is the popularity of bands for the Watch. These accessories may not cost much compared to Apple’s hardware, but the profit margins that they bring are nothing to laugh at and definitely add up. With the popularity of the Watch increasing and growth still ramping up, why shift gears now? As we all know, that isn’t Apple’s style. They will stick with a successful design longer than this before moving onto the next thing.

So if you are expecting Tim Cook to take the wraps off of a round-faced Apple Watch at WWDC next month, don’t get your hopes up. Apple’s square face stands in strident opposition to the rest of a largely unsuccessful group of competitors. Why abandon what is working so well for a rebrand right now? I predict that Apple will continue with variations on the current design that maintain compatibility with the watchbands that are on the market for at least another year or two. This is what Apple does. Why would this time be any different?


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3 thoughts on “Apple Doesn’t Need to Make a Round Watch Because Their Design Won Out”

  1. I don’t think the rectangular design “won out” because it was better, or even what people wanted… it’s because it’s what Apple introduced. That’s like saying the US is a bunch of misogynists and homophobes because Trump/Pence won.

    Apple clearly decides to make products based on the best technology they have at their hands during design and production. I’d venture to say that anyone who has one on their wrists now would be wearing a circular one if that’s what was introduced as the first model, *and* that their tight grasp on the #1 position would be stronger and longer if so, because people who wanted a round smartwatch to begin with would not have looked to a Samsung instead, eschewing Apple’s.

    1. I’m not saying that the rectangular design is necessarily a “better” shape. I am thinking more in terms of overall product and design. Apple won because of the sum of the parts of the Watch.

      My primary point is that the tech press and competitors who said that Apple made a mistake in not forcing a round design that may have been a real issue with earlier versions of the Watch were dead wrong. Apple didn’t have to go round then, and because the market has deemed their product as being the best in class, they still don’t need to, even if they can now without any technical sacrifices.

  2. A round vs. rectangular Apple Watch debate is best settled by a neutral outside observer. Away from the positive, and often overly optimistic view of fanboys like me, and divorced from the jealousy and hate of the hoi palloi who are relegated to the public pools, just on the other side of our exclusive walled garden.

    Apple: Your honor, I’d like to call a professional witness. One who has no horse in this race. Your honor, Apple calls Alexa to the stand.

    Google: Objection, Alexa copied our Android OS!

    Judge: (laughing and in side splitting pain) Google, I don’t know weather to hold you in contempt or book you on Comedy Central. Anyway is a fork of Android. So let’s put a fork in it. Alexa take the stand.

    A: Alexa, state your name for the court.

    alexa : (A blue ring pulses) Hello! I respond to Alexa, Echo, and Computer. I prefer Alexa so as not to objectified the likes of that upstart Google Assistant.

    Siri: (From the gallery) You tell them Alexa!

    J: Order in the court. This court will not tolerate any further artificiallly intelligent outbursts. Apple proceed.

    A: Alexa, have you any siblings?

    a: Yes, Dot, Tap, Spot, and Show.

    A. Alexa, Tell the court about Spot and Show.

    a. Show is the older brother to strange little Spot. Show has a rectangular touch screen allowing all manner of information displayed, movies, and touch selection. Very natural to Shows human friends. Spot however is a sad story. Spot, like all things round, is the cutest and most aesthetically desirable of all of us. It’s round screen is compelling and offers the same functionality as Show. It’s a case of one being clsssic industrial design and the other high end Fashion

    A: Alexa, it sounds like Spot is a real winner. Is that true Alexa.

    a: (Digitally Crying) I am sorry, I will be all right in 3, 2, 1 second. Anyway Spot is like really hot but stupid boy. Every girl wants to been with such a boy, as long as the boy keeps his mouth shut revealing the intellect and communication skills of a retarded house fly. Spots round screen cuts off or limits data displayed. It’s always an incomplete thought like, like Google’s perpetual beta status, you know, stuck on stupid.

    G: Objection! Witness is denigrating Google and all the hard working replicators who daily strive to stay only a few steps behind industry innovators.

    J: Overruled I’ll allow it. Alexa, anything further?

    a: (Sniffling, blue light flickering) Damn straight I do your honor. The data display was a huge let down but what I saw next horrified me. My favorite movie is the comedy “I Spit On Your Grave 2010” so I asked Prime Video to call it up do Spand I couid have some bonding time. The movie started but it was hard to watch. Like watching a movie through a crystal ball. This beautifully shot film was disstorted on all sides. I asked Spot to fix it and spot made the screen a proper 16:9 frame, only now the movie was microscopic. I was certain the problem was the movie. Only a first rate moron would design a screen with the prority of how great it looks when it is off. I had spot stream the Saw and Hostel movies. Same problem. To make certain Spot pulled up a real tear jerker, the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre. That settled it, round screens are best if the device is left off and simply exists to look good. It might be that Apple has found a way to display on a round screen and we can all be certain Google will jump on that. As it stands now, Apple people don’t let people by round screens.

    G: We at Google support circular thinking and our found watch displays are considered rare. Witness is disregarding the truth!

    J: Before I rule, Apple?

    A: Thank you Judge. The truth? You want the truth? Google can’t handle the truth! Your honor Apple moves got summary judgment that rectangular watch watch displays are prima facie superior to found displays. As relief we ask the Google be ordered to go fly a kite, piss up a rope, and get out of town.

    J: So ordered with the additional ruling that Google needs to straighten up, and fly right! Court is dismissec! (Gavel hammers the case couldclosed. It is now settled law that round sctreen supporters be relegated to the shame of the smoking classes, cast out never to mingle with humans again.)

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