Swatch CEO Calls Apple Watch An ‘Interesting Toy’ That Has A Privacy Problem
When it comes to smartwatches, the Apple Watch is the 800-lb gorilla in the room. Sure, there are excellent smartwatches from competing platforms like the Android Wear-based Motorola Moto 360 and the Tizen-based Samsung Gear S2, but they all eventually get compared to the Apple Watch.
It should come as no surprise that the Swiss watch industry feels bit threatened by the smartwatch phenomena, and much of the vitriol has been aimed at the Apple Watch. The latest to take aim at the Apple Watch is Nick Hayek, CEO of the the Swiss watch giant Swatch. In speaking with Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger, with the comments translated by The Guardian, Hayek railed against the Apple Watch, stating that it’s “an interesting toy, but not a revolution.”
With many people wary of first generation smartwatches, these comments shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The rise of mobile phones and especially smartphones persuaded many to abandon traditional wristwatches. Now, we have companies that are not only trying to sell you smartphones, but also expensive smartwatches that seemingly do little more than duplicate functionality that we already have.
But Hayek took his comments further, criticizing the Apple Watch’s battery life, which he says “[lasts] no longer than 24 hours without needing to be plugged in.” Hayek then pivots and talks about privacy concerns, questioning how wise it is to trust your health data with tech companies. “The user immediately loses control of their data,” Hayek added. “I personally don’t want my blood pressure and blood sugar values stored in the cloud, or on servers in Silicon Valley.” Those comments are interesting considering that 1) health data is encrypted and stored locally on the Apple Watch and 2) the Apple Watch doesn’t measure blood sugar levels.
While Hayek doesn’t trust tech companies with his own health data, he seemingly wants potential Swatch smartwatch customers to trust his company with equally precious data: financial information. “We will bring a watch to market this year that acts as an alternative to the credit card, using near field communication. The technology works, we’re just finalizing details with our partners from the credit card industry.”
It’s funny to see how the “old guard” responds when technology companies come moseying into their hallowed stomping grounds. Companies like Apple and Motorola by no means have introduced perfect first generation smartwatches with the Apple Watch and Moto 360 respectively, but they will by no means stand still as the wearables market heats up.