Let me guess. You’ve followed all of the Apple Watch coverage, and now you’re torn. Your brain is telling you to wait, and that you probably don’t need an expensive smartwatch… but your deeply irrational heart has bought into the hype hook, line and sinker.
Don’t worry – I’m there too. But there’s some very good reasons why your brain probably has some rational doubts at the back of it.
First off, you only have to look at new technologies to realise that first generation devices are never quite perfect – and it is only when updated versions are released that all of the bugs are worked out. Remember the original iPhone? It didn’t even have 3G!
As a new category, it is likely that there will be things in the Apple Watch that either haven’t been anticipated or will not be good enough. At the moment, it looks like battery life could be a major issue – with Apple only promising 18 hours of usage, which isn’t even a full day. And that 18 hours is probably a generous estimate once you actually start running apps and things on the watch.
There are other unknowns too: Will it be powerful enough to run everything as promised? Once developers get their claws into it will the hardware match the software aspirations? Will the screen be big enough or will users decide (as with phablets) that bigger screens are better? Until the Apple Watch is widespread, we simply won’t know.
If you decide to wait for the inevitable Apple Watch 2 next year, you’ll probably get a better battery and better functionality.
Another reason to wait is upgrade cycles. We can look at tablets for this. One of the big trends over the last year has been people not buying tablets in such vast numbers as before – even iPad sales are down. The reasons for this seems pretty clear to me: Aside from the fact that phone screens are getting bigger, negating some of the utility of a tablet, you simply don’t shell out to upgrade a tablet with the same regularity as a phone. When you buy a phone, you pay a contract so that you can get the latest gadget with a smaller upfront cost – whereas the vast majority of tablets are wifi only and rely on an upfront purchase. As such, people just aren’t upgrading in the same numbers.
The same will be true for the Apple Watch. Even though our phone contracts will let us pay monthly for our iPhone 8s in 2 years time, we’re still going to have to save up the cash for a new Apple Watch, which isn’t as essential as a phone anyway.
So don’t be surprised if in a few years we start to see stories about falling Apple Watch sales – and that we’re still trying to sync our first generation Apple Watches, which have terrible batteries compared to the Apple Watch 2 and 3, to our shiniest new iPhones.