Has Apple Already Lost the Smart Watch War?

The following video is from Thursday's Investor Beat, in which host Chris Hill and Motley Fool analysts Matt Koppenheffer and Jason Moser dissect the hardest-hitting investing stories of the day.

Samsung and Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM  ) both unveiled smart watches today, both landing around the $300 price point and including features such as instant messaging and taking photos. But with so much expectation around Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) for its up-and-coming smart watch, has Apple now missed the boat? Matt and Jason discuss what they think of Samsung and Qualcomm's offerings in this space, and where the smart-watch market goes from here.

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  • Report this Comment On September 05, 2013, at 7:05 PM, johaba wrote:

    I don't think there will be a war. These watches will be dead on arrival.

  • Report this Comment On September 05, 2013, at 7:09 PM, fauxscot wrote:

    Are you serious or just practicing writing questions?

    Two folks who have a lot of no-profit products introduce (in Samsung's case at least) Sesame Street products for tweens to a market that is complaining already about Apple's "high" prices that add $300 to the cost of their latest premium phones?

    is THAT a recipe for success?

    In all fairness, good for them for being first with something. Blackberry/RIM was, too, once, but really, good for Sammy at least. Looking at the specs, I honestly know not one person who would buy the Samsung offerring at the price/feature points they presented. Not one. And I know a lot of people.

    Apple doesn't always hit home runs. Almost no one else ever gets base hits. I'm not sure ANY smart watch is going to wow anyone. Hell, who wears watches anyway? I'm sure not going back to 1990. Unless the thing includes time travel, money for nothing, and chicks for free, my dainty wrists will go nekkid.

    Lost war, indeed. It's not a war if only one side shows up and loses. So far, that is what you have.

    (Now this is me practicing writing answers); No.

  • Report this Comment On September 05, 2013, at 7:15 PM, bobbydig wrote:

    We were waiting for the Samsung Ad by Motley Fool and Jason Moser, who ever he is? Remember this and the internet will never let you forget it Jason, but your pitching a dun product. Don't you feel foolish?

  • Report this Comment On September 05, 2013, at 7:28 PM, st0815 wrote:

    Smart watches seem to have all the appeal of 3D TVs. The industry is excited about them, but the consumers are largely unimpressed.

    Let's see what Apple comes up with, but if it's not something completely different from the competitors products, I think we can lay "wearable computing" to a rest for now.

  • Report this Comment On September 05, 2013, at 7:47 PM, marv08 wrote:

    @johaba: Exactly!

    @st0815: Right. I sincerely hope Apple does not even bother to release something like this (a watch with, in Samsung's case, less than 12 hours battery life and a pimp design from the 90s).

    The industry seems to think we need more and more second, third, fourth screens. As Mark Spoonauer from Laptop Magazine brilliantly called it on CNBC "Baby steps to putting a smartphone on your face."

    There are definitely applications for wearable devices (e.g. in fitness, health / vitals monitoring), and quite a few could make economic use of the already present computing power and connectivity in your smartphone. Replicating a phone interface on a stamp-sized display is not high on my list.

  • Report this Comment On September 05, 2013, at 8:34 PM, Plimeter wrote:

    Samsung's smart watch is a joke. Too bulky, not very stylish, and lacking in any solid must-have functionality. The bar has been set very ,very low. Apple will have no problem surpassing this.

    This lends credibility to the argument that Samsung is nothing more than a copycat. With no Apple smart watch to copy, the best Samsung could do is this joke of a product.

  • Report this Comment On September 05, 2013, at 10:14 PM, twolf2919 wrote:

    I totally agree with everyone has already said - the Samsung watch is definitely a dud. It's not just that it's too clunky, has a clumsy user interface, and lacks sufficient battery life - it doesn't even work with most of Samsung's own phones! And, if the early hands-on videos I've seen are representative - the darn thing doesn't even keep up with user gestures - it has lag! It's like beta quality!

    The Qualcomm watch - which has gotten very little press - seems a much more thought-out product! There was no lag in the hands-on videos, the user interface was more polished, and with its Mirasol e-ink hybrid color display, it ought to use a lot less power and last longer than the Samsung. The only complaint I'd have with this watch is its size - like the Samsung, it seems a bit too large.

    In order to get decent battery life in a form factor that people would actually want to wear, Apple will either have to go for a low-power display like Mirasol or e-ink, or it needs to find ways of getting more juice without bulk. There were some recent patent filings that might suggest the latter - I saw one for flexible batteries, which could be used to integrate batteries into the watch wristband. Another patent was for integrating solar cells into a glass substrate - which Apple might use on the watch face (but that face is so small, I can't imagine that producing much energy).

    Battery capacity will decide the acceptance of an iWatch...just as it will decide the success of Google Glass (well, in Glass' case, price will also be a factor).

  • Report this Comment On September 06, 2013, at 8:37 AM, jdmeck wrote:

    Being first is not being best. The Samsung watch is ugly (didn't have an Apple version to copy) and it runs Android sort of and is compatible, sort of with some Samsung devices.

    If and when Apple releases it's own similar product, it will be 100% compatible with all but the oldest of Apple products, it will look better and probably do more.

    Still I believe that if the public wants these things, the purchase will be based on what their favorite system is now.

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