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Should Tim Cook be telling people what Apple Watch can do?

February 27, 2015, 7:20 PM UTC
The Apple Watch is displayed on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Photograph by Marcio Jose Sanchez — AP

Allister Heath’s account Friday in the Telegraph of Tim Cook’s visit to an Apple Store in London reminds me of the free advice Above Avalon’s Neil Cybart gave last month about how to sell the Apple Watch.

People are overthinking it, he says. This talk about monitoring heart rates or opening car doors — two things Cook mentioned Friday — has its place. But ticking off a list of use cases, says Cybart, is not the marketing message that will sell the thing.

According to Cybart, Apple’s customers will buy the Watch because:

  1. It’s a cool watch. The Apple Watch is a watch with a customizable digital face and a selection of interchangeable bands.
  2. It looks nice. The Apple Watch has a clean, fresh, design that strikes a balance between luxury and technology.
  3. It’s made by Apple. The Apple Watch is designed in California by the same company that is responsible for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.


Over the past few months,” says Cybart, “I’ve learned to change the way I explain Apple Watch to friends and family. Instead of starting out with a list of reasons why they may enjoy an Apple Watch, I now begin with a pretty simply explanation:

“Apple is making a watch with customizable faces and bands.

“I then let that person respond, and depending on their answer, I mention how Apple Watch can serve as a communication device, a health and fitness tracker, or a mobile payment facilitator. As a result, I now get a much more open response from people that want to see and learn more about Apple Watch.”

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple AAPL coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.