Under Steve’s watch: Fewer customizations

This is the final post of a three part series on why the Apple Watch revealed earlier this week wouldn’t have been the one Steve Jobs made. Jobs would disapprove two buttons on the Apple Watch and he certainly would have made the software beautiful and cohesive.

Fortunately, it’s not all negative. Tim Cook and Jony Ive did do something right that Jobs probably wouldn’t have done: the seemingly endless amount of customization possible for the Apple Watch.

In this case, going against a Jobsian philosophy is a good thing.

When Jobs took over an ailing Apple back in 1997, he famously cut the product line to focus on just a handful. It took three generations before even iPhones got more than one color. With Jobs, focus and simplicity were paramount.

Yet, the Apple Watch will launch with three lines – Standard, Sport and Edition – come in two sizes (42mm and 38mm), six different finishes and feature six types of straps, some of which have different colors. There are hundreds if not thousands of possible combinations. Add to that all the different watch faces, and there are effectively millions of different looks.

Apple has never launched a first generation product with so many variations. It’s not just anti-Jobs, it’s downright anti-Apple.

Yet, Cook and Ive nailed the customization aspect of the Apple Watch. Particularly the straps. I love how Apple implemented the straps, and how easy it is to change them around.

The closing mechanism for some of these straps are of the highest quality.

Apple Watch: Everything You Need to Know

Watches are personal experiences. You wear a watch not just to tell the time, but to express who you are as an individual. Apple saw that a truly mainstream watch can’t be one size fits all. This is a marked contrast to how other companies have approached the smartwatch.

You sporty? You may want this.

If you’re a hipster, this might be more your flavor.

How about something classy for the wife?

Perhaps something more feminine…

Maybe something old school for yourself?

Or offbeat?

This elegant version would be great for posh parties.

There’s even something simple.

I can continue, but you get the point. The Apple Watch has so many different variations, one is bound to be just right for you.

The only quibble I have is that the difference between Standard and Sport seems too minor to matter. It’s cognitive overload — Jobs would have insisted on eliminating one of the two to reduce confusion.

He may have insisted on doing away with all these other customizations too, but then that would have been the wrong move.

For better or worse, this is a different Apple.

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