March 6, 2013
Not everyone is thrilled with the prospect that Apple could soon jump into the wristwatch business, or whether they would succeed. Swatch Group AG (UHR) Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek is one of those that remains skeptical of such a move, according to Bloomberg. During a press conference, the chief of the largest Swiss watchmaker stated that:
Personally, I don’t believe (the iWatch is) the next revolution. Replacing an iPhone with an interactive terminal on your wrist is difficult. You can’t have an immense display.Swatch also owns the Tissot and Omega brands. This doesn’t mean that Swatch is against making watches with interactive functions. As far back as 2004, for example, the company worked with Microsoft on Swatch Paparazzi watches. No longer available, these watches allowed consumers to receive personalized information, including news, sports, weather, horoscopes, and stock quotes. In 2011, Swatch obtained a license to use alloys made by Liquidmetal Technologies in watches. This is the same technology that Apple holds a license long-rumored to be coming in future iOS devices. I’m not at all surprised by Hayek’s comments, and I don’t think that they were made simply to go after a would-be competitor. Instead, I believe that the Swatch leader is onto something here. Launching an iWatch would be a huge risk for Apple. In 2007, Cupertino launched the iPhone in the still-emerging smartphone market. In contrast, an iWatch would launch in a mature industry with many players. In other words, the stakes are much higher this time around. As usual, we'll keep you updated.