Apple Watch a Dud on Release
Apple has dominated the smart phone industry for years, but its other devices and accessories are quickly going out of fashion. iPods are nearly obsolete while the iPad is consistently outdone by other tablets from manufacturers such as Toshiba and Windows. Apple has not released a new product since 2010, not counting annual iPhone upgrades, until now.
The selling points of the Apple Watch are convenience and speed as it eliminates the need to constantly hold your phone. The Watch includes Force Touch, a speaker and microphone, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability and is water resistant. It comes with the standard applications of any Apple product including Messenger, Mail, Maps, Music and even Siri. The Watch, however, has one major setback that Apple is trying to downplay: you must have your iPhone on your person to use the Watch. Is being able to talk to your wrist like Captain Kirk worth the additional, expensive device?
The Apple Watch hit the market in mid-April with millions of pre-orders despite the watch market becoming stale. Three case styles are available ranging from the basic Sport style to the luxurious Edition. While the applications for each are the same downloaded from the iTunes store), the price tags could not be more different.
The Sport Watch starts at $349 and hardly meets the marketed standards of “unscratchable” with a simple aluminum case and Ion-X glass protecting the face. No batteries necessary, but you will need to plug in your Watch every 18 hours so it can recharge. Providing the basis for the other styles, the Sport features a heart-rate sensor, accelerometer and retina display.
The other models have the same technological features, but boast available style points that raise the price, drastically. For an additional $200 one can purchase the mid-level Apple Watch which uses a stainless steel case and a sapphire crystal display to protect the hardware. Three bands are available to choose from: link bracelet, fluoroelastomer and the Milanese loop.
What if stainless steel and the renowned fruit logo are not enough? What if a loyal consumer has $10,000 to throw at whatever comes of the Apple production lines? That is where the Edition comes in. With the top model costing $17,000, the Edition is encased in 18-karat yellow or rose gold. This style does not need to be plugged in because it charges inductively via a leather battery station that comes with the purchase. Do not be fooled, the price difference does not mean faster downloads or better applications; it has almost the exact same features as the Sport.
Those features include the Activity and Workout apps designed for the Apple Watch. Activity helps the wearer get the most physical exertion out of their day as possible while Workout measures time, speed, distance and calories burned across a range of exercises. This is Apple’s attempt to draw customers of the FitBit and similar products while they expand into the watch market.
Several applications in the iTunes store have been formatted to fit the 45 mm screen (with 35 mm as the other option) such as: Instagram, Twitter, American Airlines, Evernote, TripAdvisor, CNN and The New York Times, Green Kitchen and eBay. More are added each day, however, they may be premature as the Watch is having trouble getting out of the factory.
Out of 1.7 million Apple Watch pre-orders, only about 22% have reached their destination. This is due to a faulty component of the watch known as the Taptic engine. The piece is similar to what makes your phone vibrate; it gives the sensation of being tapped on the wrist when you receive a notification. The Taptic has caused backed-up shipments with some customer’s not able to enjoy their Watch until June. 38% of consumers who pre-ordered their device are still waiting on a delivery date.
Customers who have been able to use the Watch report another strange occurrence which could cause Apple stock (down 2% at published date) to drop further. Users with tattooed wrists find the Watch cannot get accurate fitness readings due to the sensor being blocked by dark ink. This newly found issue combined with the poorly constructed Taptic are sure to influence the future of the Watch.
The Apple Watch is already being called a “status symbol” rather than the “next big thing” due to its absurd price tags and pesky release bugs. Loyalists will no doubt flock to Apple stores to try out one of these devices, however, sales will be harder to come by as the Watch does not introduce any new technology. Unless you have several hundred to several thousand dollars waiting to be spent, stick with your iPhone.