Poll of 1,000 Engineers Finds Not One Will Buy an Apple Watch

Don Tennant
Slide Show

Five Ways Smartwatches Will Change E-Commerce

Here’s an Apple Watch factoid for you: A recent poll of 1,000 engineers found that zero percent—that’s right, zero—think the watch is worth the $349 price tag, and zero percent plan to buy one.

The poll was conducted on March 19 by Owler, a San Mateo-based startup that provides data services related to company profiles and information. Also responding to the poll were 8,000 marketing professionals, and the difference between the responses of the marketers and the engineers blew me away. Check this out:

Among marketers:

  • 85 percent have a favorable view of Apple CEO Tim Cook.
  • 83 percent believe that Apple's stock direction will go up.
  • 11 percent will buy the new watch.
  • 50 percent think the new watch is worth the $349 price tag.

Among engineers:

  • 50 percent hold negative views of Tim Cook.
  • 57 percent believe that Apple’s stock will go down.
  • 0 percent will buy the new watch.
  • 0 percent think the new watch is worth the $349 price tag.

I had the opportunity to speak with Owler founder and CEO Jim Fowler, and director of product marketing Brett Miller, and I asked them what their takeaway from the poll was. Fowler was blown away, too.

“I was amazed at how few engineers are interested in this thing,” he said. “I just couldn’t believe that zero percent will buy an Apple Watch. I think of those guys as techie gadget geeks, so it was pretty amazing.”

Apple WatchMiller said he was surprised, too, and he chalked it up to his sense that engineers tend to be practical people, so having one more thing to worry about isn’t particularly appealing. But he said that might change.

“From a development standpoint, it will be really interesting to see if that number starts to change, if the watch gets a lot of traction, and it becomes a great market for developers,” he said. “I think we’ll see more adoption from engineers.”

“And the engineers just hold a negative view of Apple, and Tim Cook,” Fowler added. “I’m mind-boggled by that. What do they know that I don’t?”

I asked them for their own thoughts about the Apple Watch, and Fowler said he’s just not a watch guy.

“Now that Apple owns my pocket with my iPhone 6, I’m personally having a hard time seeing a difference, other than all the biometric and health stuff that the watch does,” he said. “I won’t buy one. My iPhone does everything I need. I think Apple already owns enough of my life with my desktop and my phone.”

Miller said the deal breaker for him is battery life.

“I have a Pebble right now, and I don’t use it because the battery is just too much of a pain—it’s just one more thing to charge,” he said. “That thing lasts for a week. So suggesting that there’s going to be a new watch where the battery lasts a day, I just don’t see it. We’ll see.”

Owler is all about making crowdsourced company data and insights available online and on mobile platforms, so I asked Fowler if Owler plans to develop an app for the Apple Watch. He seemed genuinely taken aback by the question.

“Wow. We haven’t even thought about that,” he said. “We still want to get our mobile strategy—phone and tablet—square before we do that. It’s a great question. The answer is, I don’t know. It certainly is not on our roadmap at this point, but you’ve actually asked me a question I have not even thought of.”

What Fowler has given a lot of thought about is his company, and where he wants to take it. I’ll cover that in a forthcoming post.

A contributing writer on IT management and career topics with IT Business Edge since 2009, Don Tennant began his technology journalism career in 1990 in Hong Kong, where he served as editor of the Hong Kong edition of Computerworld. After returning to the U.S. in 2000, he became Editor in Chief of the U.S. edition of Computerworld, and later assumed the editorial directorship of Computerworld and InfoWorld. Don was presented with the 2007 Timothy White Award for Editorial Integrity by American Business Media, and he is a recipient of the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for editorial excellence in news coverage. Follow him on Twitter @dontennant.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Apr 13, 2015 12:28 PM John John  says:
While things like Google Glass had a 'wow' factor, smart watches are now in the 'me too' phase. Engineers can see through the marketing hype and look at functionality. While some things have a 'geek' factor, an iWatch simply doesn't carry that factor. Apple also killed the 'wow' factor on the $349 models by offering the high-end expensive models. Reply
Apr 13, 2015 2:19 PM Eric Goff Eric Goff  says:
What was the pool of engineers? Redmond I expect? On my totally non-apple row of Engineers, at least 3 would buy the watch. Reply
Apr 14, 2015 5:26 PM Jim Felder Jim Felder  says:
I live in a town of engineers. They buy pickup trucks as a canvas for self-expression. I mean stupid-big pickup trucks. Watches of any kind simply don't measure up to a big, slick diesel dually that's never had even a grocery sack in the bed. Reply
Apr 21, 2015 8:41 AM Brad Jones Brad Jones  says:
For fun, we asked the same question on our developer/tech forums (Codeguru, VBForums, Flashkit). The results were not zero, but rather that about 11% said they were planning to buy the Apple Watch. About 13.6% thought the price was okay, with 86.4% thinking it was too much. It will be interesting to see how the watch does and for how long. Reply
May 1, 2015 8:32 AM Terry Terry  says:
The Garmin Vivoactive is a smartwatch has a ton of features over and above the Apple watch and costs less. As an engineer I look for the best value not the latest fad. That's why I wear the Garmin. Reply
Jun 1, 2016 11:44 PM Karizma Karizma  says:
there is lot buzz about the apple watch...whether a worth product or buy or not Reply

Post a comment





(Maximum characters: 1200). You have 1200 characters left.



Subscribe to our Newsletters

Sign up now and get the best business technology insights direct to your inbox.