Talk about a PR mess: Apple's new smartwatch goes on sale Friday in stores as the company scrambles to fix a glitch with its biggest new feature, reports the Wall Street Journal. The $399 Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE is supposed to allow users to connect to cellular networks while on the go, but reviewers have repeatedly run into problems connecting. The upshot is that they were unable to do such basic tasks as making calls, sending texts, or using Siri. (Read a first-person account at the Verge.) Apple acknowledged the problem Wednesday and said it's working on a fix, one expected to arrive in a future software upgrade.
The assessments aren't kind. As the Washington Post notes, it's exceedingly rare for Apple to begin selling a product with a major glitch, though the 2012 launch of Apple Maps also had buggy issues. What's more, the Journal sees the watch "as a bellwether for the company's ability to create new devices that diversify Apple's revenue," noting that it's the first new product completely under CEO Tim Cook's reign. And a post at Business Insider sees a bigger-picture problem: This is a "sign that Apple has lost sight of the principle that led to its meteoric rise: Apple doesn't sell technology for technology's sake," writes Kif Leswing. "It figures out what people want to do ... and provides technology to make it possible." (Read more Apple stories.)