Recurring Non-Problem: Cheap alternatives supposedly spell trouble for Apple

by Uluroo — 13 February 2018

In a shocking turn of events, it appears that a lower-priced competitor is set to dismantle Apple's lead in a market!

No, it's not the PC market. No, it's not the smartphone market. It's the smartwatch market, and it's going to be totally different from everything else Apple has ever done!

Writing for Inc, Kayla Matthews says, "A Smartwatch With a 30-Day Battery Life? Why Apple Will Have to Up Its Game."

Although adoption levels in the smartwatch market are not as widespread among the target audience as some people had hoped, Apple is undeniably one of the most prominent players.

Uluroo will point out that the Apple Watch is the biggest deal in the smartwatch industry by the same standards as the iPhone: It has lower market share but ridiculously high profit share. And the iPhone still has high profit share despite lower-priced competitors.

However, a just-released smartwatch that looks similar to the Apple Watch and offers numerous enticing features just might be the thing that makes the Apple realize it's time to keep a close eye on a formidable competitor.

In the same way Apple should keep an eye its low-margin competitors in every other market who can't take profit share from it.

Known as the Huami AmazFit Bip, it weighs only 1.1 ounces and offers a battery life of up to 30 days per charge with typical usage or 15 days more on a minimal notifications setting.

Okay, let's talk about the weight. The AmazFit Bip weighs 1.1 ounces with the band on. The Apple Watch Series 3 weighs about 2.2 ounces with the band on. So if the 1.1-ounce weight is practically nothing on your wrist, will you really notice another 1.1 ounces? Uluroo is currently wearing an Apple Watch and cannot feel its presence. The weight is impressive but not a major selling point.

Now for the battery life. It's certainly mind-boggling that a smartwatch can last a month on one charge, but Uluroo takes no issue with charging his Apple Watch nightly. He's found that he never sets it down to charge with less than 50% battery remaining, and after a 14-hour day so far, his watch is still at 73%. One could even turn the brightness down or use a less information-rich watch face (Uluroo uses the Modular face) to save even more battery. And the Apple Watch charges from 0% to 100% in two and a half hours. Although Uluroo would love extra battery life, it's not worth it to give up his Apple Watch for a cheap clone of it with less functionality.

Matthews goes on to mention the Apple Watch's heartrate tracking and accuracy in detecting heart rate abnormalities:

Since the AmazFit Bip has a sensor that detects VO2 max and whether a person is in the optimal heart rate zone, it could theoretically offer similar monitoring capabilities.

Theoretically. Nobody really knows because no one's tested it, but the theoretical is just one step from the actual.

Many people may resist buying the Apple Watch because even the cheapest model costs $329.

(see iPhone)

Scratch that; see Apple Watch Series 1, which Uluroo would take over the AmazFit Bip any day.

Additionally, the watch features an IP68 rating, which means it's dust-resistant and can tolerate accidental submersion in water deeper than one meter.

Fun fact: Unlike the Apple Watch, the AmazFit Bip is not rated as a swim watch, so you can't get it wet beyond accidental splashes.

The attractive combination of a feature-rich watch available at a lower price could make the AmazFit Bip heavily responsible for making more people want to use smartwatches if indeed that trend occurs.

Uluroo will point out that with the Apple Watch, you get more by spending more. The AmazFit Bip isn't going to attract users who would be interested in an Apple Watch because it isn't a better product. Just like Apple's smartphone competitors, this is a product that aims at the low end, low-margin portion of the market; the Apple Watch is a high-end product. It can barely be considered a competitor. If anything, the AmazFit Bip will merely grow the smartwatch market; that's not Apple's main goal.

However, due to the product's extremely recent release, it's too early to say if it'll make a substantial impact on smartwatch adoption levels.

So everything you just said is conjecture.

Even so, it'll be fascinating to see if the watch makes people realize they can afford smartwatches after all -- and that they should look for cheaper options beyond what Apple provides.

Apple's market strategy with the Apple Watch is not to capture as many users as possible, it's to capture as much money as possible. It's succeeded at that. Even if this cheap competitor does take some market share, it won't be Apple's. This product isn't an Apple Watch competitor. It's not even playing the same game.