Apple just started accepting preorders for the Apple Watch, which ships April 24, and now you can book appointments to try the device on and see how it works in person. Getting some time up close with the device will go a long way toward helping potential buyers make a decision, but choosing whether to buy now or pass on this round is going to be a tough call.
We’ve covered the Apple Watch announcement and launch events. We’ve combed through the early reviews for details you need to know. Now we weigh the pros and cons to help you decide whether to splurge on an Apple Watch or skip it.
Why you should buy
Because you’re an early adopter: The next generation of computing is going to be wearable, so why not get in on the ground floor? Apple isn’t the only tech company making a big play in the smartwatch space, but Apple Watch is by all accounts the best one iPhone users can buy today.
Because you want a watch, fitness tracker, and tiny iPhone on your wrist: Many of us wear watches. Many of us wear fitness trackers. Apple Watch’s health and fitness features are big selling points, and if its sensors are as good as promised, you’ll be able to ditch other wearables and sport just Apple Watch. Plus, the Watch acts as a notification center for your iPhone, so you can check the time, get updates from your most-used apps, and track your workouts with one device. That’s a compelling reason to buy.
Because it’s gorgeous: Apple is positioning the Watch as a fashion accessory that goes beyond its utility. Unlike other smartwatches, Apple Watch comes in stainless steel, aluminum, and gold, with a slew of band options to customize each model with your personal style. We’re expecting third-party accessory makers to immediately get on board with Apple Watch to give early adopters even more band options. Then there’s the Watch’s sapphire crystal screen and Retina display: Early reviews have all pointed out that Apple Watch’s face is light years beyond its Android Wear competitors.
Because you look at your phone too much: Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that Apple Watch is designed to cut down the amount of time you look at your iPhone screen. Instead of pulling out your phone to check messages or view notifications, the Watch delivers all of that information to your wrist. Then you can decide what to act on immediately and what can wait. If you’re an iPhone addict, Apple Watch might bring your focus back to the physical world.
Because you love Apple products and have $$$ to spend: Well, this is an easy one. If $349 plus tax is no big deal for your wallet and you like to keep up with what Apple’s working on, it makes sense to snag the entry-level Apple Watch Sport to see what it’s like.
Why you should skip it
Because it’s first-gen: The first generation of any product has all kinds of bugs. Those early problems are always solved with later hardware releases, but that means you’ll have to shell out another few hundred dollars (or thousands, depending on which Watch you buy) to get a better version in a couple years.
Because it relies too much on iPhone: Like other smartwatches, Apple Watch has to be paired with your phone to be fully functional. But the dependence can be a problem—advance looks at Apple Watch in the days leading up to preorders indicate that the Watch can be sluggish when trying to pull information from the iPhone. That wouldn’t be so bad except the Watch has to rely on the iPhone for quite a bit of information if you’re using any third-party apps (which you will).
Because there are few accessories for now: If you choose the most luxurious Apple Watch, the Watch Edition in rose gold with a modern buckle band, you’re looking to spend $17,000. The modern buckle is a beautiful accessory, so you might be satisfied with it. But those who pick the lower-priced Apple Watch Sport might want to swap out their bands when they’re heading to events where a fluoroelastomer strap doesn’t seem suitable. Unfortunately, the modern buckle is $250 on its own, and doesn’t exactly go with the aluminum Watch Sport, so Sport owners are out of luck when it comes to accessories on launch day. But we expect that to change quickly. Hopefully.
Because it falls short at telling time: One of Apple Watch’s biggest criticisms from watch people (people who have worn watches their entire lives) is its inherent lack of watchiness. It doesn’t immediately show you the time all the time. This is one of the major criticisms Daring Fireball’s John Gruber leveled at the Watch: Its watch face isn’t always on. It sometimes doesn’t even activate when you raise your wrist, as it should. And there’s a small delay when you do raise your wrist to activate the clock face, a delay that doesn’t exist in mechanical watches. If you are a watch person, Apple Watch might not be the timepiece for you.
Because it’s really expensive: It’s going to be tough for many people, even diehard Apple fans, to justify buying a smartwatch. The Apple Watch Sport’s $349 price tag is more than an iPhone costs with a two-year contract, and you need an iPhone to get any use out of the Watch. As prices come down and the Apple Watch proves its worth, people will be more likely to buy.
Are you buying or skipping Apple Watch? Tell us why in the comments.