The highly anticipated Apple Watch was debuted last Monday (March 7). Like everything “Apple”, the event was shrouded in secrecy and surrounded by a lot of buzz from those in the tech industry anxiously awaiting news on the specs & pricing details for the tech giant’s latest piece of innovation. Wearables are quickly trending worldwide it seems, and everyone looking for the next big thing.
I, for one, will not be getting an Apple Watch – and here’s why:
I like Apple products. Check that – I LOVE Apple products, especially when it comes to consuming media. I’ve had an iPhone since 2008 (and my iPad Mini since 2012), and it has had a large impact on my daily life and the way I do things. It’s made me more efficient & productive in my job as a high school math teacher. Like most people, it’s usually the last thing I check when I go to sleep and the first thing I check when I wake up in the morning.
My iPhone really is an indispensable tool. I constantly use it so I don’t get lost on my way to a professional development workshop or to my resort when on vacation. It keeps me in touch with friends and family, my social networks at my fingertips. Workouts fly by while listening to various playlists and podcasts. The pictures I’ve taken from Disney World to China were shot, edited, and shared all through the use of this small, powerful, hand-held device.
I watched the Apple keynote on March 7, 2015, and, was well aware the Apple Watch was going to be introduced. Consequently, by the time it was over, I was thoroughly disappointed with what Apple had to offer, and decided right away that purchasing Apple’s newest “wearable” was not in the cards for me. Apple had spent the last 8 years making products that make me not want to wear a watch – and now they’re trying to convince me to put one on again?
The base Apple Watch model sells for $349 US, which comes with a 38mm display and plastic band, while the high-end Apple Watch Edition model starts at $10,000 US. That’s more than an iPod Touch, an entry-level iPad, and even more expensive than an iPhone on a subsidized contract. Obviously, Apple decided on their Apple Watch price points because they can. While the company has been able to sell its products based on design, quality of materials, and ease of use, it doesn’t add up when you make something like a watch cost more than what many people spend on utilities & transportation combined for any given month. There’s no doubt that Jony Ive has once again hit it out of the park in terms of the Apple Watch’s beautifully simplistic design, but does it warrant such a hefty price tag? I think not. To really give competitors a run for their money, perhaps a $199 US entry level price point would have been more realistic.
The keynote on March 7 seemed to focus on the Apple Watch’s ability to track your activities & give users a comprehensive picture about their overall fitness level & goals. Granted, the device will also do other things (receive text messages, Facebook updates, Twitter updates, etc.), but it requires that you have your iPhone with you so that it can sync. I just don’t see how adopters of the technology will be able to get over this large caveat. The purpose of such a device is to shed some weight when it comes to carrying your device(s) around with you. Being able to use the Apple Watch’s advanced features only if it’s connected to your iPhone via bluetooth just seems a bit redundant to me. Yes, it is new technology in its infancy – developers will need some time to create and produce apps for the Apple Watch, but its primary functions are just not enough to convince me to buy one.
Finally, I’d like to address a few other shortcomings of the Apple Watch. I’m really interested to see how the Apple Watch will work with individuals with bad vision or other accessibility issues. While Apple has made the iPhone & iPad very accessible, The small size of the face display for the Apple Watch will make real-estate a premium. Not only that, the battery is touted to last only 16hrs under “normal use”. Having to recharge a watch on almost a daily basis seems absurd – I wonder if accessory manufacturers will have to create a portable USB-style battery that people can carry around with them to charge their….watch?
Apple’s newest device is an exquisitely designed piece of technology that has been created in the rush for apple to compete with others to try and dominate a new niche in the form of the wearables consumer market space. They are once again trying to create a need for a product that people didn’t know they needed, only to realize that they really couldn’t live without it. It worked once with the iPhone & again with the iPad, but I’m afraid that the Apple Watch will simply not generate the same demand as its other, larger screened predecessors. Brand loyalty is a big thing with Apple, and they know it, which is why they’ve decided on an elevated price point, and while people will buy it for the notoriety, the status, or “just because”, I think that we all may just be missing the point – it’s just a watch.
Perhaps the Apple Watch is really a stepping stone in wearable tech – and what the next big thing will be is the simple communicator that you just have to tap to access à la Star Trek…one to beam up?
‘Til the next post.