Apple’s next big product event is happening on Sept. 7, and while the lion’s share of the buzz is around the new iPhone 7, Apple is also expected to reveal the next Apple Watch. The new device, according to Apple blogs, will get a faster processor, built-in GPS, longer battery life, and better waterproofing. As the Daily Mirror reports, these upgrades suggest Apple “could be trying to market itself more as a sporting wearable.” That could appeal to many people.
But I won’t buy one.
I understand the craze over fitness trackers. People love the ability to map their run using the Nike+ app (or, in the past, the Nike FuelBand, which it discontinued), or count their steps using a FitBit, or learn about their sleep habits using a Jawbone UP. Apple Watch 2, according to Bloomberg, will beef up features related to workouts, which puts it more squarely into the fitness wearables camp, not just the phone-on-your-wrist camp. Everyone wants to feel healthier; I get that.
What I cannot understand is the appeal of taking a phone call or sending a text through your watch. For starters, it looks silly. More practically, what would make it convenient is if you didn’t need your phone, but since (for now) you must have your iPhone close at hand, there’s little advantage or time saved by typing out a text on your Apple Watch.
It’s also a question of individuality. As an urban-dwelling, tech-conscious milllennial working in media (a field that is thought to favor Apple products), I’m already a cliche in how many Apple products I own. I have the same computer (MacBook Air), phone (iPhone 6), tablet (iPad Mini), as everyone I know. Why would I also want to have the same watch?
For many men (not all, of course), a watch is the only piece of jewelry they will ever wear, apart from a wedding ring. It’s the one item I can wear to show a little flair. I own two watches, and both were gifts. One is a Tag Heuer, the other an IWC Schaffhausen. They exude craftsmanship and look distinguished, whereas the Apple Watch, even if customized with different bands, just looks to me like a small phone screen on your wrist. I have a friend who loves his Apple Watch, and is often looking at it as he walks down the street. I don’t see how this is any less egregious than staring at your phone as you walk (either to send a text or catch a pokémon), getting in the way of other pedestrians.
Speaking more on function, my two watches are automatic, meaning they don’t rely on a battery, but keep running based on the natural motion of my wrist. The Apple Watch requires almost daily battery charging. (Perhaps that will change with a future iteration.) That only adds to the sense I have of it being like a second phone, or basically a tiny iPad for your wrist.
To be sure, many Apple Watch owners love the device. Writing last year, an Inc columnist listed his 7 reasons he loves his Apple Watch, including being able to answer a text without removing your phone from your pocket, and the “fun” of using the device. I have enough fun tinkering with my real watch when I need to re-set it or wind it up, and I’ve never had the thought that removing my cell phone from my pocket was an inconvenience I wish I could avoid. If people felt that way, Google Glass, which was basically like having your phone glued to your face, would have been a bigger hit.
An IDC report from July said that Apple Watch sales have fallen 55% since the gadget first launched in early 2015. The watch sold 1.6 million units in Q2 2016, compared to the same quarter last year. After the Apple Watch 2 launches, there will surely be a brief sales bump, but it’s also possible that most people, like me, simply aren’t compelled to have a phone on their wrist.
Daniel Roberts is a writer at Yahoo Finance, covering sports business and technology. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.
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