The Apple Watch seems to be everywhere: on television, billboards, magazines, and online. While it’s gaining a lot of attention in the media, it seems to be missing from one crucial place: Consumers’ wrists.
When was the last time you saw someone wearing an Apple Watch? Many of you have never seen one in person. Some of you might be able to answer the question quickly when the image of your techy friend pops into your mind wearing the brand new timepiece. Yes, you might know someone with an Apple Watch, but that doesn’t compare to the vast majority of average consumers who didn’t purchase an Apple Watch this year.
According to the market research company Slice, sales of Apple’s wearable are down 90% from the week of its debut. Slice goes on to note that 2/3rds of the watches sold were Apple’s lower end Sport edition, which features less precious metals in order to keep costs down. This leads me to my first thoughts regarding the issues facing Apple Watch.
The Cupertino tech giant’s least expensive watch is still very costly. Retailing for $349 plus tax means that you’ll be shelling out more than your car payment for a watch. That doesn’t even include the price of the bands you’ll want to purchase to mix and match with your outfit-of-the-day. If Apple wishes to make the watch a success, a price drop is crucial.
It Doesn’t Work That Well
The Apple Watch is troubled with a steep learning curve that will take some time to master. Farhad Manjoo, a tech writer for The New York Times, stated “first there was a day to learn the device’s initially complex user interface. Then another to determine how it could best fit it into my life. And still one more to figure out exactly what Apple’s first major new product in five years is trying to do.” Even when you do master the art of navigating the Apple Watch, getting it to do what you want it to do, can be frustrating.
The watch relies heavily on Apple’s digital assistant, Siri. And while Siri is a great companion for your iPhone, she doesn’t work that well through the Apple Watch. Siri will get your requests wrong almost as often as she’d get them right, requiring you to take out your iPhone to achieve the proper function. Taking out your iPhone ultimately defeats the purpose of the Apple Watch entirely.
The truth is you don’t need an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch is entirely dependent on your iPhone, which means that it has no native apps. Everything that you do with an Apple Watch can be done on your iPhone alone (minus the heart rate function).
You might want a heart rate monitor, but there are tons of other options out there to track your heart rate. Fitbit’s line of heart rate monitoring activity trackers are continuously taking a huge chunk of Apple’s sales and for good reason, they are inexpensive and they work well. If Apple wants to sell a lot of these watches, they are going to need to get creative. The watch needs to have a function that metaphorically begs people to use it. Until then, the watch will certainly be a luxury item no one really needs.
It Can Make You Look Bad
Any item that is expensive and unnecessary can do one special thing in particular. It can make you look like a jerk. Many people struggle to pay bills and would feel lucky to have a Swatch, let alone a watch as ostentatious as an Apple Watch. In an increasingly sensitive country, we are becoming more tolerant and aware of other people’s opinions and feelings. Wearing something like the Apple Watch could send the wrong message.
People Already Feel “Over-Connected”
Phantom vibration, the feeling of getting a notification on your phone when you never actually received one, is a real phenomenon that clearly signals we are overly attached to our technology. We are constantly expecting notifications, and checking them even when they aren’t real. This eventually takes a toll on our mental state.
Often, we’ll decide that we spend too much time using technology, and even dream of “life off-the-grid” without access to loads of emails and constant business calls. While this dream is often unattainable, we do try to limit our access to the internet in effort to pay more attention to the real world around us.
Because we often try to limit our access to the internet, why would we want one more thing to remind us of the iPhone in our pocket. With an iPhone, you can leave it in your pocket and only check it when you feel like it. With an Apple Watch, the information is always there, and always begging for your attention.
History Repeats Itself
Its might be too early to call Apple’s wearable a flop, but it’s certainly getting close to jumping into that category. In the past we have seen new technology, such as the iPhone, deemed “slow to take off.” It wasn’t until the iPhone 4 was released that we saw the Apple branded handset becoming a popular choice for everyone in the family. We can’t say for sure that the product line will become a hit, but we can say sometimes the fourth time is the charm. Should you wait for the Apple Watch 4? Maybe.
Popular opinion states that the Apple Watch isn’t really that great. A watch owner from our own office mentioned to me that “the watch must be charged daily” and that he is “not impressed with it overall.”
It might be in your best bet to steer away from the Apple Watch, at least in its current form. We know that Apple’s products always improve over time. More useful features, slimmer designs, and lower price points make playing the waiting game a valuable venture.