Former Apple CEO John Sculley: Apple Watch 'Doesn't Have Enough Utility'

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Former Apple CEO John Sculley went on camera yesterday to give his thoughts on Apple's current product lineup and offered a couple of interesting tidbits on where he thought the Apple Watch could be improved.

In an interview with The Street, Sculley said he still loved Apple products and used his iPhone, iPad and MacBook daily, but that he'd so far passed on owning the company's smartwatch offering. "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 said.

jobs_and_sculley

Steve Jobs (left) and John Sculley (right) in 1984.

Asked what Apple would need to change to make it a worthwhile purchase for him, Sculley said that first the company needed to de-connect the hardware from the dependency it has on the iPhone. "When you go jogging, I don't want to carry my iPhone and Apple Watch to count the steps – Apple will solve this though, they are good at that kind of stuff."

Secondly, Sculley said Apple needed to take advantage of the "incredible excitement" over smart messaging which he called the "next big thing". "Whether it's WeChat or Facebook M, we are starting to see a move to an era where messaging could be an intelligent assistant, and that could be a perfect application for the Apple Watch if they can incorporate it."

"I don't think an Apple lover has to have every product, but the ones I have and use I love," continued Sculley, expressing a particular fondness for the iPad Pro. "I think it's a spectacular experience to read the newspaper on it every day and even read books, I much prefer it to a Kindle."


Sculley was vice-president and president of Pepsi-Cola before he served as Apple's CEO from 1983 to 1993, where he is famous for forcing out Steve Jobs from the company, something he has since called "a mistake". In 1987 he was named Silicon Valley's top-paid executive, with an annual salary of $2.2 million. When he left Apple, the company had $2 billion in cash and $200 million in debt.

He is widely considered an expert at marketing, and continues to speak and write about disruptive marketing strategies. He also has investments in a number of high-tech start-up companies, including Zeta Interactive and WorldMate. Jeff Daniels portrayed Sculley in the recent movie Steve Jobs.

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
56 months ago
I think the Apple Watch has (or tries to have) too much utility.

Smartwatches that try to replicate the functionality of phones will always be compromised and overly complicated.

Instead, it should try to be more like, say, a Fitbit. Lots of health sensors, but keep everything else really simple. Pair it down to only the most essential functionality and keep everything else on the phone.

Make it beautiful and really light-weight. Give it a battery that lasts weeks so that you barely even need to think about it being there.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
56 months ago
I saw an ad on Facebook "Ex-Apple Guru Releasing Android phone" ... I felt like pointing out the "guru" was the man who nearly caused the company to go bankrupt.

Does he comment this much on the goings on at Pepsi?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
56 months ago
As an Apple Watch user, the product is simply not there yet

Shockingly slow, making all apps useless. If the information isn't on the watch screen to see instantly it's too slow
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
56 months ago
Clearly, he never used one.

You only need your iPhone when working out the first time, so it can record GPS data and understand your pace, then you can leave it at home.

If a Fitbit has "utility", then the Apple Watch has much more, even in the current 1.0 form.
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I think a lot of Apple Watch owners keep telling themselves this, but in reality - once the novelty has worn off - they usually reach for the phone. It's just easier and faster for most interactions.

Nope.

It's super useful when your hands are busy. And the other day I replied to a phone call under the shower.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
56 months ago
His example of where the Watch could be improved is incorrect. It counts steps just fine without needing an iPhone connected to it. It would need an iPhone to give you walking directions, but not to count steps or tell time or to even play music. This is a misconception that so many get wrong.

Isn't Sculley the father of the Newton?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
56 months ago
Sculley appears to be misinformed:

"...When you go jogging, I don't want to carry my iPhone and Apple Watch to count the steps..."

Apple Watch counts steps by itself.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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