The Apple Watch is cool. There’s no doubt about it. Since Dick Tracy talked to his pals on his signature two-way wrist radio in the 1930’s, wearable communications and computing devices have remained a coveted dream. The Apple Watch goes beyond cartoon wishes though. It’s beautiful. Built to last. It keeps time within 50 milliseconds of the definitive global time standard. You can send someone a tap, or your heartbeat. Track health and fitness. The Apple Watch is really, really cool. It’s $349 dollars worth of cool, on your wrist. And that’s the basic sport model. The Edition model tops out at a sky-high $17,000 for the 42mm 18-Karat gold case version.
The problem is, you can’t afford $349 dollars of cool. Here’s why:
1. You’re Going to Have to Buy Another One Soon
Sure, the cheapest Apple Watch at $349 isn’t going to break anyone’s bank. The lowest model also don’t cost much more than an ordinary luxury watch, and the Apple Watch can do so much more. Let’s take a Tag Heuer Men’s Formula One watch for $869 on Amazon. It’s more than twice as expensive as the Apple Watch, and it doesn’t measure your heartbeat.
But a Tag Heuer is a Tag Heuer. It’s not going to go out of style anytime soon. The technology behind it won’t be outdone by next year’s model.
We can’t compare an Apple Watch to an analog watch. All an analog watch does is look nice and tell time, while an Apple Watch does that as well as runs apps, measures your health and fitness, and can be used to call friends, among many other functions. Someone who buys a Tag Heuer for $869 can wear that same watch for the next 40 years if they like and still be in style. But the technology inside an Apple Watch will go out of date fast.
Knowing Apple, they’re likely to come out with a new watch every year or so. It’s true that not everyone who buys an Apple Watch will need a new one each year. However, how far out of date will this year’s Apple Watch be in five years or ten? Will anyone be wearing it then?
If you end up buying a new Apple Watch every three years, the cost of the bottom-of-the-line Apple Watch isn’t $349. It’s $349 every three years. Assuming Apple keeps making watches for thirty years, that watch is actually $3,490… and that’s at the cheapest.
2. Your iPhone Already Does Most of This Stuff
Just about everything you can do with an Apple Watch you can already do with your phone or tablet. The Apple Watch can call friends. So can an iPhone. Yes, but the Apple Watch is more portable. So is a bluetooth headset with voice controls.
There’s definitely something to be said for not having to remember to drag a phone along every time you leave the house. The trouble is, for many functions you still need your phone along for the trip to tell the watch what to do. It’s already been revealed you’ll need your iPhone’s GPS at the start so the watch can learn how far you run. Another argument in the Apple Watch’s favor is, the killer app hasn’t been found yet, and once it is, the Watch will really come into its own. That’s a great reason for buying the watch down the road. Buying it now based on the expectation that the killer app will be found is like buying a stock now because the company might come out with a really good product someday.
3. You Can Buy a Cheaper Smartwatch Right Now
Want to know how many steps you’ve taken, track your sleep or your swim? There are other, cheaper alternatives that sync up to your iPhone right now. Consider the Misfit Flash which can be found for as cheap as $49 or the Withings Activite Pop for $149. Both offer good looking forms and save you hundreds of dollars. Bank that extra money into a savings bond or invest it, and you’ll be a lot happier in ten years.
4. Wait For Prices to Drop
If you’re willing to wait, you’ll save even more. As competitors scramble to catch up to the Apple Watch you’ll be able to pick from a host of competitors that offer many of the killer functions you want and a variety of designs for cheaper than an Apple Watch. Wait even longer you can just buy a refurbished Apple Watch from the Apple Store online. Wait even longer than that, and you’ll be able to buy this version of the Apple Watch when the next version comes out.
Additionally, you’ll be able to see if there are any major issues with the very first version of the hardware. Nothing could be worse than spending money to find out the Watch has a bug that will prevent you from fully enjoying it. Either way, patience is rewarded when it comes to gadget cycles.