By now you’ve probably been exposed to Apple’s initial foray into the smartwatch sector. You are not alone.

Nearly 98 percent of millennials have seen or heard of the Apple Watch and 55 percent have a very positive or somewhat positive reaction to the product, according to a recent survey done by my capstone team with the help of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.  But only 15 percent either own one or know someone who does.

From what you've seen or heard, what is your reaction?We polled 604 students at the University of Missouri about their thoughts, feelings and habits on wearables, particularly when it came to the Apple Watch.

Why do they have such a positive reaction to a product they’ve never dealt with firsthand?

Since the Watch’s release in April 2015, Apple has changed the focus of its video advertising.

Toward the beginning of the year, Apple released four commercials to market its new Watch. While these advertisements targeted younger people, the 30-second videos focused on issues such as childcare, world travel and fitness.

Since then, Apple has rebranded its product by focusing its commercials more on actions such as Dance, Kiss, Play and Move.

These 15-second spots are brief and rarely include dialogue. They seem to appeal more directly to millennials by including young diverse characters, vibrant colors and interesting music. Since the videos are short, they market to a generation constantly on the go. Who has time to sit and watch a commercial?

Given Apple’s marketing refinements, why is the percentage of people who’ve personally experienced the smartwatch so low?

We asked our survey respondents to give more feedback on the Watch. Their main concerns included price and battery life. Some mentioned they didn't see it as a necessity.

“I would not purchase this device at the current market price due to lack of innovation and need to have,” one respondent said. “It's a nice to have but not something that is required in my life.”

Respondents who praised the Watch cited fitness tracking and the convenience of glance notifications.

Watch users evaluation“I wear my Apple Watch every day and it has completely changed how I interact with my other devices and how I interact with other people,” another student told us. “Receiving notifications on my Watch makes it easy to know when I need to check my phone or when I can let it wait. Apple Pay and the fitness tracking features on the Apple Watch are also astounding and have changed how I interact with the world and how I live my life day to day.”

Out of the 92 students in our survey who said they had personal experience with the Watch, nearly 80 percent said their experience was somewhat to very positive.

Although large numbers of millennials aren’t currently purchasing the Watch, most of them have seen it and have a relatively positive attitude toward it.

Chris Mathews shares how millennials feel about the Apple Watch as a news platform in the final post based on our survey.

Samantha Healey  
Guest blogger


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