John Sculley isn't a believer in the Apple Watch just yet

John Sculley isn’t a believer in the Apple Watch just yet


The Apple Watch is the only Apple product Sculley doesn't currently own.
Photo: Web Summit/Flickr CC

Even a year on from its launch, former Apple CEO John Sculley isn’t convinced the Apple Watch is a must-have Apple device just yet.

“I think the Apple Watch is beautiful, but it doesn’t have enough utility to be something that I feel I have to have at this point in time,” he says in a new interview with The Street, noting that it’s the only major Apple product he doesn’t use.

Part of the problem Sculley says is that the Watch remains too reliant on the iPhone to achieve full functionality. “When you go jogging, I don’t want to carry my iPhone and Apple Watch to count the steps,” he notes — although he’s quick to point out that Apple will eventually solve this problem.

Sculley’s words echo what he said to us in an interview with Cult of Mac earlier this year. “It’s a beautiful device, but when do I look at a watch?” he told me. “Well, I look at one when I want to know what time it is. In that case, I pull my iPhone out of my pocket and look at it. I don’t even wear a watch. When do I want to be able to get a read-out of activity tracking? When I’m out running. I don’t want to carry an iPhone in my pocket, and I’m getting older so I need glasses — which means I can’t easily see the little tiny screen.”

“Plus you have to charge it every day. For me, there just aren’t enough compelling reasons to get one — although I think there is a future for [smart] watches as sensors get better and better. Over time, I think Apple will be successful with the Apple Watch, but it’s not something I feel I need to own now.”

A lot of people attack Sculley for being the CEO who booted Steve Jobs out of Apple (a decision he has been open about regretting in recent years). In doing so, they often erroneously conflate him with Apple’s disastrous decline in the 1990s, which came after Sculley’s departure. In fact, I think it’s especially interesting to hear his view of the Apple Watch given the multiple similarities between Sculley and Tim Cook: with both men being operations experts as opposed to product visionaries.

The negative response to the Apple Watch in some quarters also reminds me a lot of the criticism which greeted the Newton MessagePad upon its release: a device which has since gone on to become enormously influential and a cult hit among Apple fans.

What do you think of Sculley’s assessment of the Apple Watch? Leave your comments below.