Here's why I think Serenity is right. There's a certain amount of inertia that comes with picking something up in your hands and holding it. I remember as a college kid being so nervous about calling a girl for the first time. I found that if I actually picked up the handset, I would always follow through. The physical actions from your body will set off a chain reaction in your brain. Likewise, runners always say if you don't feel like running on a certain day, simply decide to win the battle of changing your clothes and lacing up your running shoes. After that, you kind of get on auto-pilot which leads you out the door to a run you'll be glad you finished.
So how does this apply to the Apple Watch? The watch will short circuit the process that leads you to mindlessly surfing the web. If you get a notification that buzzes on your wrist, you can easily see what it was without pulling your phone out of your pocket. That much is obvious. The part that is not so intuitive, however, is the fact that your brain doesn't have to decide to put the phone away. If you normally pull your phone out a dozen times a day to catch up on news, connect with your friends via texting, etc, your brain is hardwired to follow these paths when it senses the phone in your hand and sees the screen. Maybe you just wanted to see what buzzed in your pocket but once that phone is in your hand in front of you, your brain has kicked off the launch sequence, and the next thing you know you are at ESPN checking the latest football news.
If I get a buzz on my wrist because JC Penney is having a sale on housewares this weekend I'm going to go back to whatever I was doing. Because I never pulled my phone out of my pocket, I don't have to decide to put it away. I don't have the phone in my hand so I didn't kick of the launch sequence that leads to some mindless web surfing. It's almost as if humans dislike making decisions. Your brain says "Hey, I just decided to pull your phone out, now you want me to decide when to put it away?" By allowing me to see that I don't care about JC Penney's sale this weekend, my brain doesn't have to make two decisions. 1. Should I stop what I'm doing and grab my phone? and 2. Am I done with my phone now and should I put it away?
Marketers have known about this muscle memory for years. It's why clothing retailers have fitting rooms and auto dealerships allow you to test drive the vehicle. If a customer is indecisive about what to do next, get them to touch the product and the brain will follow. Whereas, if you're window shopping, it's all to easy to leave and move on to the next window. Window shopping is like store triage, you make a decision whether you want to go in the store or not without touching anything.
This is what the information age is missing. The ability to window shop our data. Right now we are doing the equivalent of walking into every store.
By my analysis, the Apple Watch needs to sell at least 21 million units to be financially relevant to Apple. This represents roughly around 10% of current iPhone owners. If the pool of iPhone owners perceive this new device as the missing piece of their digital world that allows them to "window shop" their data, it could be huge. Apple has always had the philosophy that their devices really represent something else that you really want. In the case of the Apple Watch, you really want your time back. No pun intended.