Why Millions Will Buy an Apple Watch They Don't Really Need

NEWS ANALYSIS: Millions will want to buy Apple's new smartwatch even though the mobile device maker didn't hype the Apple Watch's best feature—the thrill factor.

Apple Watch Need 2

My prediction is that the Apple Watch will sell better than all previous smartwatches combined within a few days of its release.

Critics will say that Apple Watch market success is due to Apple's marketing mojo or because Apple fans are sheep who buy anything Apple sells.

Some will say that it shouldn't succeed because it merely duplicates existing iPhone features while still requiring an iPhone. The Apple Watch is redundant, pointless and unnecessary.

In other words, nobody needs an Apple Watch.

The "need" argument is the worst argument against the Apple Watch. And here's why: Nobody needs lots of things. Nobody needs smartphones, sports cars, nice clothes, HDTVs. Nobody needs to go to restaurants, bars and nightclubs or to watch movies.

We spend huge sums on all these things we don't need because they make us feel good.

And this is why the Apple Watch will be a runaway hit. It will make us feel good—in fact, better than alternative smart watches will make us feel.

The Apple Watch will— literally—be the feel-good product of the year because of Apple's integrated user interface that combines amazing touch capabilities with sound, high-definition visuals and unique tactical experiences.

Critics reading this column will dismiss the UI as mere window dressing. But this dismissal will be the exact point of failure to understand the Apple Watch phenomenon.

If you want to succeed in understanding why the Apple Watch will succeed, read on.

Why the Apple Watch Is Like a Drug

The Apple Watch will eventually do a lot of jobs. It will monitor fitness, unlock and start your car, control home automation devices, keep you notified of calendar events and messages, pay for things and much more. All these tasks could be enabled by a smartphone or an alternative smartwatch.

However, the Apple Watch will dominate the wearables market not because of what it can do, but how. Its superiority lies not in which tasks can be accomplished, but its impact on human psychology.

User interface elements working together will provide the constant minor thrill that will make the Apple Watch compelling. But the star of the symphony will be Apple's so called Taptic Engine, which buzzes to let you know something is happening as well as a high-definition haptics chip which drives a linear actuator that provides subtle, high-speed vibrations that the watch uses to prompt users.

Unlike other devices, Apple's Taptics feature enables a new form of communication. You can send your heartbeat to someone and they will feel it on their wrist. Or you can draw a picture, and they will see and feel the drawing of it.

The most popular use I believe will be simply tapping someone on the wrist from afar. One friend can do the old "shave and a haircut" routine, with the other responding with the "two bits" part. This feature will be as compelling as it is needless. You won't be able to communicate much, but the instant gratification and immediacy of it will be off the charts.

The Apple Watch supports Apple Pay. After a transaction is complete, the Taptics engine, combined with a specific sound, confirms it. Instead of the cashier telling you the payment is done, you tell the cashier.

Turning the Digital Crown, a small control wheel on the side, will reward your nervous system with a specific feeling; you'll feel the wheel turning.