About a month ago, one of my colleagues said he was looking to sell his Apple Watch Sport, which he had casually worn on and off again for the last year.
He was asking $100 for the device, which is a good chunk less than a new one, even after Apple’s recent decision to drop the price to $299.
My first instinct was that this was a no-brainer, an easy yes, and that the savings alone meant I was getting a great deal on a first-generation Apple product. I would be foolish not to buy it for $100 before one of my coworkers decided to snag it out from under me.
But then I began to plot out how and when I would actually use the thing, and I realised the only time I might wear it would be at home, where no one would see me wearing it. That’s because the biggest gripe I have with the Apple Watch is its overall design and appearance. Sure, it’s well-constructed from premium materials, but it still looks pretty much exactly how I was hoping it wouldn’t. I can still vividly remember watching the livestream for the Apple Watch keynote, and how there was a horrible second or two during the reveal video when I thought this was all a joke, a fake reveal before the true one like Apple did for the first iPhone — surely Apple wouldn’t have created something that looks so alike the smartwatches that came before it.
And yes, I know Apple’s been pushing the watch’s fashionable side and that there are those who would argue its design is brilliant, but at the end of the day I secretly think anyone wearing one is making a compromise when it comes to their appearance. It’s nowhere near the same ballpark as someone wearing Google Glass, but it’s easy to spot an Apple Watch, and I’m not sure it’s for the good sort of reasons.
I’m the furthest from a watch obsessive either, so it’s not like I have a thing against smartwatches. For the past few years I’ve been wearing a $150 Skagen watch that gets the job done with a nice minimalist look. Sure, it’s scuffed up and the battery needs replacing, but it still looks far more stylish and professional than any of the Apple Watch models in my opinion, its form factor is a fraction of the Apple Watch. What exactly was I hoping the Apple Watch might look like? I’m not sure, but it certainly wasn’t a square attached to a band.
But what about the added functionality and benefit to your day-to-day life? I have yet to be convinced such a benefit exists, and I think a lot of people outside the tech industry are asking the same question. I like the idea of being able to casually read a text message as it comes in or dismiss notifications, but at the same time, I hate the idea of adding yet another device into the mix. Sure, it will cut down on how may times you use your phone, but seeing as it won’t completely replace it anytime soon, the Watch is still another device jockeying for my attention, even if its alerts are more subtle. The health tracking I can just get from my phone.
I really wanted to like the Apple Watch, and maybe in another generation or two I will, but Apple’s phones are just too good at the moment for me to feel any real desire for one. I can’t see myself using any of the apps over their iPhone counterpart, Apple Pay still has zero draw on my phone let alone on my wrist, and at the end of the day I just don’t like how it looks. This could change with the Apple Watch 2 expected later this year, but I’m curious how much the form factor will actually change. Is it enough to simply make it slimmer? How much will watch apps change in the next two years? Will there ever be a circular alternative?
I ended up passing on the $100 Apple Watch, and another one of my coworkers also said no to the offer. We’re both still waiting for a smartwatch that we actually want to wear, and I think a lot of people feel the same way.