The Watch Industry’s Old Guard Needs To Smarten Up

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The Baselworld 2017 watch show is a concentrated look at a glamorous industry steeped in history. Visitors get a glimpse of some astonishing innovation, incredible quality, and truly exciting timepieces. Except they mostly do so with their noses pressed up against glass cases, like school children outside a sweet shop. For some of the world’s best watchmakers, Baselworld’s motto should be “look, but don’t touch,” which coincidentally is exactly the response it has to technology and the rise of the smartwatch.

It’s a worryingly archaic approach, but it perfectly illustrates a growing split in the industry — where some watch makers are evolving, adapting, and embracing smart technology while the rest stick with how things have always been done, showing little desire to change. If there was a trend at the show, it’s that watch companies who are embracing technology (or are prepared to in the near future), are more open, more social, and better understand the benefits of engaging with people… More at Digital Trends.

I agree to a point. However, some watches are so expensive that there has to be a distance between the product and the consumer. Then again, the watch industry is full of the most hateful snobbery which will eventually have to step aside for it to survive.

Tech longevity

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What do you consider to be an adequate amount of time to keep a tech product for?

It is a difficult question, but another way to put it may be to ask- when you buy a new product, in your head how long are you expecting to keep it for?

When I bought my iMac at the end of 2011, I did not expect it to still be my main computer in March 2017, but it is still going strong and does everything I need. For £999, which seemed a lot at the time, it has been a bargain in my opinion and when it does finally die I will of course buy an iMac.

Phones are different for me and I have tended to upgrade every year, mainly because I need to write about the latest features for freelance work. If, however, I did not need to do that, I suspect that 2 years would be my optimum time for each phone, but I am fairly sure that I could get 3-4 years with ease.

Tablets I would say 4 years, but only for an iPad. I simply would not expect an Android tablet to last that long and still be usable to the point that it was not incredibly slow.

Smart watches are similar in my mind to tablets. 3-4 years seems reasonable, but again Android Wear worries me in terms of longevity.

Maybe it is an Apple thing in my mind, but I do tend to expect Apple products to last longer and people I know tend to hold on to their iPhones for much longer than Android people I know. The iPhone 5s still seems common and I know a couple of people with an iPhone 4s. I do not know one person with an Android phone from the same period.

Also, it could be that my trusty iMac influences everything else and that Apple should think about their overall image when it comes to reliability. Macs are proven to work for many years and the lack of investment in them recently is a real shame. I just hope that one more really good iMac will be released so that I can run it until 2023.

So, what longevity scores would you give for the various tech products available today?