I am, admittedly, a hardcore Apple Fanboy™. The first websites I visit every morning are CultOfMac.com and MacRumors.com. When Apple announces an event is coming, I’m guaranteed to be streaming it on my computer, as well as my iPhone or iPad. I’m the guy that everyone comes to about what phone to buy, what tablet to buy, and “Hey, what’s cool about the new Apple whatever?”
I’m also a wristwatch collector. I’ve been in love with horology and wristwatches in particular for the last six years or so. My collection ranges from the mundane Citizen’s and Seiko's to the beautiful luxury of Omega’s (and their amazing co-axial movements) and Tag Heuer's. I also have owned two Pebble smart watches - the first, original plastic model that came out last year, and the Pebble Steel.
I’ve also undergone a huge lifestyle transformation over the last 11 months. In May of 2014, I decided to get my weight under control, and began a diet and exercise program that has resulted in my going from 330 lbs to 225 lbs today. I’ve stuck with it, and I’m living a happier, healthier life. Part of that has to do with the fact that I’ve been using a Withings Pulse O2 to track my exercise and sleep, and MyFitnessPal to track my caloric intake.
With that in mind, you’d think the Apple Watch was the perfect crossover for me. It’s Apple. It’s a smart watch. It’s a fitness tracker. It’s everything that I love and use daily. And yet… I’m not buying one. At least, not yet, and probably not for a while.
Don’t get me wrong - I think the Apple Watch is amazing. It’s beautiful, it’s extremely functional. It does a lot of great things. I love the fitness tracking, the design of the interfaces (I’m a UX guy, after all). I love the sheer amount of thought that went into the materials they chose to use, the bracelets & straps, and even the innovative system of swapping out straps easily with a clipping system.
Where they lose me is battery life. 18 hours with “average use”. Less than a day. My Pebble, which doesn’t do all of the things that the Apple Watch does, I can easily get five or six days of battery life before I have to charge it. That’s with getting a bombardment of notifications every day from e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, my Withings, and other apps that I’m constantly using. In the year that I’ve used a Pebble, only twice has the watch been so overwhelmed with notifications that the battery was drained in less than a day, and I could’ve prevented it by simply disabling notifications in Facebook Messenger and Twitter for a few hours.
I can’t imagine how the Apple Watch would do under that kind of bombardment, and because I’d use it to replace my fitness tracker as well, I’m not a fan of potentially losing track of my activity for any span of time when it’s become so important to my life. I go over the fitness tracking data with my doctor every few weeks when we do a weigh in. The data that I gather from the Withings, and MyFitnessPal, all compiled neatly in Apple’s Health app, have helped me make smart decisions with my health, and have resulted in amazing changes to my life.
The other concern I have with the Apple Watch is the upgrade path - or lack thereof at the moment. When you buy a phone or a tablet, the expectation is that you’ll replace it at some point. It’s the way of the technology world. You enjoy the features and the speed of the devices over some extended period of time, and as things start to slow down, or new features appear on next gen devices, you want or need to upgrade.
For the Apple Watch Sport, that makes sense. It’s relatively cheap at $349 - for something that you don’t need to have (though the need to have a phone is, to some, debatable). But, for someone who buys the Apple Watch Edition - the one that starts at $10,000 - I have to wonder if Apple has an upgrade path. Could you swap out the battery and the logic board ever year or two, and keep the very expensive gold and sapphire watch? Pay a few hundred for an upgrade? Or will you have to buy a brand new watch - and if that’s the case, what about the resale value?
Ultimately, I love the design of the Apple. I’m quite literally watching @LanceUlanoff doing a live review of the Apple Watch on Periscope right now, and it’s definitely an amazing device. I know that at some point I’m going to get the Apple Watch. Just... not yet.