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Former Apple CEO John Sculley not sold on Apple Watch

Beautiful, but not functional enough, the former CEO says.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Former Apple CEO John Sculley won't be buying an Apple Watch anytime soon.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Apple Watch won't grace the wrist of the company's former chief executive anytime soon.

John Sculley, in a chat with financial news site TheStreet, said the timepiece didn't have enough functionality to convince him to buy one, even though he owns every other Apple product, including the iPhone and iPad Pro.

"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," Sculley told TheStreet.

Sculley ran Apple from 1983 to 1993 but clashed with founder Steve Jobs over product decisions and management style. The friction ended with Sculley firing Jobs, a decision the former CEO has since suggested was a mistake.

The Apple Watch is a major product in the growing market for smartwatches. Samsung, Motorola and LG offer competing products, and traditional watchmakers such as LVMH brand Tag Heuer are making timepieces with connectivity features. Still, smartwatches haven't resonated with consumers as must-have items.

Sculley said Apple could improve the watch by eliminating its dependence on the iPhone. Right now the watch can perform only a limited number of tasks without being paired with an iPhone, though Apple seems to be working on changing that. It recently updated requirements for third-party app developers, saying their Watch apps for the App Store must be able to run without the help of an iPhone.

"When you go jogging, I don't want to carry my iPhone and Apple Watch to count the steps," Sculley told TheStreet. "Apple will solve this though, they are good at that kind of stuff."

The second goal for Apple, according to Sculley, is to take advantage of smart-messaging assistants, like Facebook M. Facebook M has yet to roll out but would act as a virtual assistant to help users purchase items, make restaurant reservations and book airline flights.

"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," Sculley said.

Apple representatives didn't respond to requests for comment.

Apple hasn't said how many smartwatches it's sold, though CEO Tim Cook said sales "met our expectations" in the company's second fiscal quarter.

In February, research firm Canalys pegged Apple Watch shipments at 12 million units for 2015. Shipments of the watch are expected to hit 14 million this year, fellow research firm IDC said in March.