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There was this detective when I was kid. He had a telephone on his wrist, and I thought oh man! I have to get me one of those! MOM!However I’m not sure if by having a telephone on his wrist he caught more bad guys, or more of the real bad, bad guys. But maybe that doesn’t matter so much since he was the only dude who had one (his trademark) and it captured my imagination and probably that of every other kid, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has been dreaming of unveiling a gizmo like the one in the comic strip since he was a kid.

But the truth is, the watch is not there yet and won’t get there soon, as we are many years away from near market saturation in this category. To give some context, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist with the Consumer Electronics Association, predicts that just short of 11 million smart watches will be shipped this year in the U.S. How does this rate of adoption stack up to the iPad? As of June 2014, Wikipedia states that over 200 million iPads were sold. Will wrist-wearables and smart watches achieve a similar adoption rate in a four-year period? I believe the jury is out on that one, but we can take a stab at it.

When you think about an iPad and ask yourself: do I really, really need this thing – albeit knowing what it can do and the advantages it has in terms of form factor over it’s predecessor, the laptop? For me, that’s an easy sell, even at $499. An iPad is light, easy to carry, fast to boot-up and fun to share. And if you talk to sales people that use them to perform quick and finger-led presentations to prospects, they do a really good job of engaging people. So when we think about the aggregate need in terms of increased efficiency, practicality and utility of an Apple Watch compared to an iPad, where do we net out? I don’t think the Apple Watch is going to replace the iPad in the way the iPad cannibalized laptops (not anytime soon). To shed more light on this, I’ll paraphrase an article from PCWorld that talks about what the Apple Watch can do:

 

1. Calling: users can send and receive messages by dictating them or selecting from preset options. Calls have to go through an accompanying smartphone and not directly from the watch to a network (and thus I can’t call Dick Tracy).

2. Siri: is accessible on the Apple Watch. You can get turn-by-turn directions or perform local searches, like for movie times.

3. Fitness tracking: there’s an accelerometer and a heart-rate sensor that uses infrared and visible-light LEDs and photodiodes. The Watch’s activity app will graph data like calories burned or how long you’ve stood-up. The Workout app provides more granular information for specific activities like running and cycling.

4. Shopping: the big buzz is that the watch supports Apple Pay, intended to replace debit and credit cards for making purchases. To date, Apple reports it has 700,000 locations signed up.

5. Apps: The watch uses vibration for alerts and app notifications and will tap you on the wrist when they come in. There’s a range of on-board apps like calendar, maps, photos, and music – which can also be played directly from the watch.

Net-net: like many others, I’m waiting for the second coming of Apple Watch, or maybe the third because from what I can tell (aside from the health and pay benefits), this premiere version does not hold a similar reason to act now as the original iPad. But with that said, when I see people talking to their wrists, then I’ll know my ship has come in and you know who is getting the first call. That’s if I can find his number (he’s probably unlisted just like other celebrities).

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