News flash: The 'Apple Watch vs. Android Wear' battle is not and will never be a real thing

Don't be fooled: The real battle within the smartwatch realm has nothing to do with Apple against Android.

Apple Watch vs. Android Wear

Boy, oh boy -- the Internet sure does love a good smackdown. 

With word that Apple's long-awaited Apple Watch is set to hit store shelves in April, the World Wide EchoTubes are filling up with all the headlines you'd expect -- anything and everything related to the Apple vs. Android "smartwatch war" and which company's wearables will "win the battle."

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but listen closely: Smartwatches are not the same as smartphones. Aside from silly fanboy arguments and meaningless analyst ramblings, there is no direct Apple Watch vs. Android Wear rivalry. Not in any way that's actually relevant in the real world.

Think about it for a minute: With smartphones, consumers actively make a choice. Do I want an iPhone, or do I prefer one of the Android-based options? You look at the devices and/or the platforms and decide which appeals the most to you.

Smartwatches -- in the Android Wear and Apple Watch context, at least -- don't work that way. No one is going to walk into a store and say, "Hmm. Should I buy the Apple Watch or an Android Wear watch? Which do I like better?"

Moto 360, Apple Watch

Watch closely: Android Wear devices like the Moto 360 (left) won't compete against the Apple Watch (right)

The reason is simple: Both the Apple Watch and Android Wear watches are designed to work only on their respective platforms. The question isn't which smartwatch a consumer will want to buy but rather if a consumer wants to buy a smartwatch in the first place. The Apple Watch is relevant only to those who own iPhones and are invested in the Apple ecosystem; Android Wear watches are relevant only to those committed to Android.

And let's be honest: As of now, no smartwatch is a "must-have" gadget. It's a luxury accessory -- a neat tech toy that supplements your phone and gives you a more convenient way to handle functions you already have. It can certainly be useful, but it's by no means essential.

The real "battle," then, isn't between the Apple Watch and Android Wear. It's within each platform -- the battle to convince consumers that they should drop their hard-earned cash on a wrist-based accessory for the phone they have. And that's a battle each company will be fighting on its own.

UPDATE [8/31/15]: Well, how about that?

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