They need to separate Apple Watch guts from the jewelry

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by convergent, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. convergent macrumors 68030

    convergent

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #1
    Reading a lot of threads speculating on future pricing and after having an SS AW for a couple of weeks, I have a prediction. The more people pay for the AW, the longer they are going to expect the refresh cycle to come or they will be somewhat annoyed that the value of their high end jewelry tanks. If that happens then they will exit the market on the high end.

    I predict when the next generation comes, they will have the guts of the watch removable. So you would buy the body, the band, and the watch separate, or in preconfigured packages. The bands are already this way, but they need to take it a step further. Imagine if you could buy one of 4 watches today ( 38 and 42, sapphire or standard crystal) and then pop them into one of 12 bodies ( 38 and 42, silver sport, gold sport, space gray sport, stainless, black stainless, and 24k gold) and attach one of whatever bands).

    This would protect the high end investment for the jewelry, and let the lifecycle of the electronics run a separate course. It would also let them efficiently create more variations of the electronics easily. The way they are currently doing this has too much risk and not enough flexibility. Look at all the threads with people trying to figure out which combo to buy. That is slowing down sales.

    The biggest risk to Apple in separating the guts of the watch from the body is it might create a knock-off body market. They have a lot of profit in that piece on the watch and edition models. I'm sure they could find a way to make it difficult and unattractive... Maybe licensing or some chip in the body... Something to deter it. They won't eliminate it.

    I thing this approach would boost sales and make the buying price much less challenging. Today people probably buy one and return it for a different one a lot.
     
  2. jabingla2810, Nov 2, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015

    jabingla2810 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #2
    Not happening. Apple has been moving to more integrated, less user modifiable devices for a long time.

    People seem to talk a lot about the price of the Apple Watch being high, and how Apple can make it more inviting for potential buyers, but the fact is, if you can't afford, it don't buy it.
     
  3. mcdj macrumors G3

    mcdj

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    People buying, say, the Edition A.) have plenty of money to toss at a new Apple Watch every year or so, and B.) thrive on everyone knowing they have the latest and greatest; i.e. the thinnest new model, the one with a different polish, or diamond bezel, or whatever Apple has up its sleeve (no pun). These people are not interested in proving they have the latest internal hardware by showing off a new feature...the difference they're looking for will be visible at arm's length.
     
  4. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #4
    This does not sounds like the direction Apple is heading. They want us to buy new every year or every other year.

    It is the Apple way and the watch will not be an exception.
     
  5. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #5
    What you are suggesting basically amounts to, Apple should make a watch body, which let's say costs around $300-400, then sell a solid gold case for it for $10,000. That will go really well in terms of marketing. /s
     
  6. jasie02 macrumors 6502a

    jasie02

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    #6
    When you able to spend $10,000 for a smart watch really does not hold value, $10,000 is probably just pocket change.
    I have friend in the drought CA, their water bill is easily $3000+ per month, and they don't even blink.
    Large high tech toy expense is necessary of their life style.
     
  7. convergent thread starter macrumors 68030

    convergent

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #7
    I think you all may be missing my point... Or maybe I'm just whacked. If they did this correctly, it would greatly enhance the sell ability of the watch. Forget the Edition folks for a minute because I think anything most of us would weigh in on them is speculation.

    I think a lot of the masses struggle with the cost and being "locked in". There are people that want more than one just for the fashion element, yet they have to pair/unpair to switch. A lot of people struggle about new technology after investing in bands, etc.. and then there is the indecision on which combo to get.

    Saying Apple has never done this isn't a valid argument because they've never sold something that has numerous fashion elements before. A lot of their returns are purely fashion related.

    As I said, if they did this right it would greatly enhance sellability. Just my opinion.
     
  8. CarlJ macrumors 68020

    CarlJ

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    #8
    The basic problem is, anything done to make the electronics more swappable, would make the watch worse, mechanically, than it is while not having that option. More space inside for fittings/latches/etc. It's along the same reasoning why iPhones don't have pop-out batteries - that would make the phone larger, add possibilities for battery doors coming off, etc.

    Folks think that a user-replaceable battery wouldn't have any effect on an iPhone, that Apple just wants them to buy phones more often, but it would mean having the inside of a battery compartment - the "back and side walls" - where there isn't any now, along with a battery door that's full strength on its own, without being part of the body of the phone, and a phone frame that is full strength without the battery door attached, plus latches to attach the door securely yet allow for opening, seals around the door to keep out moisture and dust, and a battery with consumer-proof contacts and a protective plastic shell rather than a bare battery that plugs into the circuit board. Yes, all this can be done, but the necessary bits would take up space that is in _incredibly_ short supply inside the phone, as well as making it more vulnerable to external damage, not to mention ruining their design aesthetic. And all these same kinds of compromises would apply to a watch that was designed to be opened and parts-swapped in the field.
     
  9. jasie02 macrumors 6502a

    jasie02

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    #9
    I don't think there is any struggle for Apple. Smart Watch market is just not there yet!
    Wait until someone else start gaining on Apple's 70% market share, there is no reason at all for Apple to change how their sell AW.
    Samsung need to change how to sell smart watch, so does LG, and every other in 30% market share, not Apple.
    All Apple has to do is sit tight, and release next AW when and only when next AW become cheaper to make than previous one, so they could sell with same price and make more $$$.
     
  10. foxkoneko macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    #10
    they'd never do something like this. There'll be a new watch each year with some upgrades that entice some previous owners to 'upgrade'. They already released new colors not even half a year after release
     
  11. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    #11
    The battery is already replaceable if the owner is brave and handy enough. Trained techs would have more practice, of course.

    As far as I can tell, nothing in the AW's electronics package is soldered to the case. Glued, maybe, but glue can be removed easier than solder.

    Unlike the iPhone, the antennas aren't integrated into the case, either.

    I think it's possible that the entire electronics assembly can be removed from the case and a new version installed. It's just assembly, of course; hundreds of people already do it every day in the factory.

    If -- IF -- Apple is planning something like this, they'll need to (a) retain the case design, and (b) have the support infrastructure to handle all the swap requests.

    Technically, I still think it's feasible. There really isn't much reason to change the case -- would you want thinner, or stronger performance? -- and no reason to change the band attachment -- which is the most versatile-yet-unique system I've ever seen.

    Besides, it's already known that the Edition models carry zero performance advantage. Upgrading one of those cases, then, could cost the same as upgrading the innards of a Sport model.
     
  12. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    #12
    Let's ask this:

    If you could upgrade your AW to version 2 innards by sending it to Apple for a week, and the process cost a nominal $150-200, would you do it?
     
  13. nicho macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #13
    for what benefit, is the question?

    an extra couple of hours battery life? i personally think anything between 24 hours and 1 week is irrelevant - if it lasts all day, how much benefit is there to extending it beyond that unless it lasts all week or month?

    i wouldn't want to lose my apple watch for a week and be out $200.
     
  14. haruhiko macrumors 68040

    haruhiko

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    #14
    I think at most Apple will let us buy the next Watch's body only, and let us keep our watch bands.


    Or Apple will just ignore this, coz they think that buying the Sports version is the closest to buying the body only.
     
  15. Rok73 macrumors 65816

    Rok73

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Location:
    Planet Earth
  16. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    #16
    Who knows?

    What if they're able to add GPS and cellular plus a bigger battery? Or instead of a bigger battery, maybe a new battery technology for better capacity in the existing size? Or a different display?

    I agree that battery life is just fine the way it is now. I haven't seen mine drop below 30-ish% with regular usage. I also don't think there's much worth upgrading apart from maybe SoC speed (which would need more battery power anyway).

    If the alternative to buying a whole new watch was to pay for an internal swap, would you still not do it?
     
  17. nicho macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #17
    gps perhaps, but i'm not a runner so and the other use case, mapping is largely irrelevant to me too because i can't see cellular being a massive advantage to me - something else to pay for every month? yuck! i'm glad the watch can just piggyback off the iphone i always carry...

    i especially wouldn't try it for some "new battery technology" - new battery technologies have been coming for years and years and still nothing has become mainstream, or even really commercially available. i think by the time they come around, it'll be time for a new watch anyway. and i'd rather a shiny new case than a dinged up few years old one!
     
  18. convergent thread starter macrumors 68030

    convergent

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #18

    Looking at how it's currently designed, I think it would be easier than you think. With modern materials, it would add nearly nothing to contain the watch parts in a "puck" type form that slipped into the body and locked in place.. Similarly to the band slipping on now.

    Saying they will never do it when they already do it with the bands I don't agree with.

    They would be able to cut deals with many high end watch makers like Rolex to make bodies/bands that they could sell through the Apple Store.

    I've been Apple user for a while so I get the no replaceable battery due to design, and all the other Apple way stuff. But this is a different beast than any other of their products.
     
  19. ibwb macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    #19
    The ifixit teardown, https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Apple+Watch+Teardown/40655 in steps 19 and 20 makes it pretty clear that swapping the electronics isn't really possible. The S1 is soldered to cables running every which way inside the case.

    You can imagine some kind of future "socket" that the S2 would plug into, rather than being soldered to a bunch of separate cables, but that socket itself would take up a relatively huge amount of space and such a design would likely preclude major new hardware features.
     
  20. jasie02 macrumors 6502a

    jasie02

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    #20
    People study how Apple and other big consumer product company does business know.

    No company change any existing product, which they own 70% market (which means even with all the complain about AW, 70% of buyer still choice AW than all other smart watch), just change it yearly because consumer complain.
    There will always be complain from someone on anything in this world.

    Company change product because they could make it better, but more important cheaper AT THE SAME TIME.
    Company change how to sell product, because they are small fish in the market. There is no company will change how they sell product, and risk of potential losing 70% of market, because it back fire.

    When you own 70% of market, you make zero change, unless it benefit your bottom line, $$$.
     
  21. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    #21
    Right, but it looks like nothing is actually soldered or welded to the case, either. Damaging the electronics as they're taken out is no big deal since they're old and might only be recycled anyway. The case itself, which accounts for the $200-8,800 msrp premium of the SS and gold models, would be undamaged and ready to accept new electronics.

    With regular watches, replacing an entire movement, whether mechanical or quartz, is par for the course. You can keep your same case for a hundred years as long as you can find a movement which fits. Yes, a smartwatch has many tiny parts (and at least for the AW, a bunch of glue), but if the case survives, why can't the "movement" be replaced?

    Isn't this how they repair and refurbish them anyway?
     
  22. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    #22
    In other words, if you could pay a smaller price to have new capabilities rather than shell out the price of a whole new watch, would you do it? And would you be more likely to buy the more expensive model if you knew it could stay current for longer?

    This is the risk I took when I chose the SS over the Sport. I'm hoping the AW range will have a longer, iPod-like refresh cycle. I have no intent to buy a new SS model every year, and I'd hesitate to get another one within three years. All of my other watches last a lot longer than that, of course, and they're waiting patiently in case my AW falls out of favor.
     
  23. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #23
    Yes, but...

    If I have to send in my current watch to Apple to get the inside replaced, then I'd rather buy a new one and sell my old one. Maybe Apple will offer a trade-in program, like they do now for iPhones, iPads, etc. if the cost of getting new insides is $200 or up, then buying a new one for $350 and getting back $100-150 for the old one through a sale or trade-in program is about the same thing, if my math is correct. (which it may not be, not enough coffee yet!)
     
  24. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    #24
    I'd be fine with that, too. They could take my old SS case and buff it out to make it look like new, and then use it for a refurbished sale. As long as my out-of-pocket cost is much, much less than the price of a new SS Watch, count me in.

    (personally, I'd like a little "patina" on my watches)
     
  25. convergent thread starter macrumors 68030

    convergent

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #25
    I think again my original context isn't getting through. I'm not talking about them doing this with the existing watch, I'm talking about a redesign to accomplish what I'm describing.

    Imagine that you took everything from the watch face, sliced all the way through to the bottom of the watch with the sensors in it, and you were able to self contain that in a "puck". You would have a rounded rectangle cylinder with the watch face on top and the sensor panel on the bottom that was self contained. The remaining watch body would have a hole in it that matched that shape. I would guess that the existing electronics could be fit into that unit, with minimal modification... or certainly with a next generation design. This "puck" could be slipped into a watch body and interlocked with a similar mechanism that the bands attach to the body now. There are little push buttons on the bottom of the watch to release the band, so there'd be another one to release the watch "puck". You could then take this "puck" and slip it into different watch bodies just like you add different bands to the bodies. I don't see this as being that radical and it would greatly enhance Apple's flexibility in what they could offer. This would be a user swappable design. So if you wanted to go stainless, you could pop it in... if you wanted to go to the gym and go with a sport body, you could pop it in. No pairing and unpairing to do... you are taking the intelligence into different jewelry.
     

Share This Page