Thursday, 19 March 2015

Pros and cons of the Apple Watch

apple watch afp
Durban - In the six months since Apple chief executive Tim Cook unveiled the company’s entry into the smartwatch market, fanboys and tech watchers alike have engaged in speculation about how much each model would cost, the app selection, battery life and when it would arrive in stores.
Recently, Cook took the stage at the company’s HQ in Cupertino, California to flesh out these details, unleashing a deluge of media coverage that’s probably left you more confused than informed.
I have trawled through it all and distilled it to its essentials. Here are four reasons you’ll want to go out and buy the Apple Watch… and four more you may want to steer well clear.
It’s an Apple
For many Apple fans this will be enough of a reason for them to snap it up. I predict long queues at Apple stores when it goes on sale in several countries (but not SA) on April 24. This adulation is not without merit. Apple products have a reputation for being superbly crafted and a joy to use.
Design and build quality
By all accounts from the journalists lucky enough to have handled it at the Cupertino event the Apple Watch is a marvel of industrial design. From the entry level aluminium bodied “Sport” model to the top-of-the-range 18-karat gold “Edition”, these wearables seem to be true works of functional art. Moreover…
It feels like a real watch
While many smartwatches already on the market feel like clunky smartphones shrunken down just enough to fit on to a wrist strap, the Apple Watch feels like a premium wristwatch.
Quality doesn’t come cheap and for many Apple fans that’s a plus, not a minus. After all, what’s the point of owning a prestige timepiece if everyone’s wearing one tomorrow? Never fear. With prices starting at $349 (R4 300) for the smaller sized aluminium “Sport”, climbing to $549 (R6 800) for the stainless steel model, all the way up to an eye-watering $17 000 (R210 000) for the gold version with all the optional extras, you won’t battle to find one that sets you apart from the rabble.
It’s an Apple
However good the Apple Watch is, it needs to be paired with a recent model iPhone. But most smartphone owners in South Africa own an Android-powered device. If you’re one of them you’ll have to ditch that phone and shell out for an iPhone, hardly an attractive option with top notch Android-compatible alternatives available, several now in their second or even third generation.
It’s a first generation device
As such, you can expect all manner of glitches and bugs. Most will be patched and ironed out over time, but the second generation Apple Watch, whenever that comes, will be leaps and bounds ahead of this version.
You’ll have to wait for it
The Apple Watch goes on sale in the US, the UK, Australia, and several European and Asian countries on April 24. There’s still no word on when it’ll land in South Africa but you can expect it to be weeks, maybe even months after that.
The premium price tag that’s a selling point for Apple snobs is a turn-off for more down-to-earth techies. With several smartwatches with all the functionality – in some cases more – of the Apple Watch on the market for half the price or less, it may not be the smartest choice.