When it comes down to it, maybe the biggest problem with this announcement was the disconnect between how excited and proud of itself Apple was, and how important the watch really is(n’t). And, for once, the enthusiast press is less guilty of overhyping the keynote than Apple itself.
The original iPhone’s presentation was revelatory: for every single functionality Steve Jobs demoed, the overwhelming sentiment was inevitably “OH MY GOD HOW DID NO ONE DO THIS BEFORE.” The iPad’s introduction didn’t feel quite as spectacular because of how obvious it all was — a bigger iPhone — until the device justified its usefulness by running iWork.
But the Apple Watch is not revelatory (it does more or less what its competitors do). It’s not obvious in its simplicity, either (the home screen is… disconcerting, and the most noticeable “innovation” — communicating with taps, drawings, heart beats — looks more than a little gimmicky, even if I can see the value). And it’s not any more useful than the naysayers thought it would be.
I still want one, mind you. Probably not to the tune of $350 (and I already fell into the first-generation trap with the iPhone and iPad, so maybe I could skip this one), but I do want it. Yet it worries me that Apple was this excited about introducing a product that isn’t, in the end, much more than the iPod-nano-on-a-wrist-band we spent the past four years asking for. It worries me that, to show it off, Apple built a temporary Apple Store in front of the biggest venue it could find in Cupertino. It worries me that Apple published self-congratulatory retweets on the event’s livestream page. It worries me that Tim Cook concluded his keynote by performing an awkward skit with Bono. (Though, to be fair, the awkwardness was much more Bono’s fault than Cook’s.)
Hubris doesn’t look good on a tech company.