There has been a bit of consternation about Apple’s focus on “fashion” and all that entails, but there is a very practical aspect to this focus: people need to be willing to actually put the wearable on their body. While “form may follow function” for tools, the priorities are the exact opposite when it comes to what we wear: function is irrelevant without a form we find appealing. In this case, design actually is how it looks.
It’s on this point specifically that most critics – including myself – have failed to appreciate Apple’s approach. After last fall’s presentation I compared the Watch’s introduction to that of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad and found it lacking for its lack of focus on functionality. What I now appreciate, though, is that this was almost certainly on purpose: there was focus in that keynote, it just happened to be on the Watch’s appearance; since I’m a geek I dismissed it, but normal consumers, especially in the case of a wearable, absolutely will not.
If you only read one Apple Watch think-piece, make it Thompson’s.