3 Reasons You're Not Buying the Apple Watch This Month
There are plenty of reasons it should be a hit. It's a product that piggybacks on the success of the iPhone, Apple's hottest product accounting for more than two-thirds of its sales. Apple's latest mobile operating system update even plants an Apple Watch icon in every updated iPhone.
However, there are also plenty of reasons to worry about Apple's chances to hit it out of the park right away. Let's go over a few of the things that may keep you from wrapping an Apple Watch around your wrist later this month.
1. The Battery Life Is Weak
One of the biggest knocks revealed during last month's unveiling is that the watch will require nightly charges. Apple's March preproduction tests show that an Apple Watch paired up to an iPhone has a battery life of 18 hours under normal conditions.
Folks may be used to charging their smartphones every day or every other day, but it may be a tall order when it comes to a piece of wearable jewelry. After all, the selling point for fitness bracelets is that they hold their charges for several days, allowing them to be worn through the night to monitor sleeping patterns. That won't be the Apple Watch. The original smartphone -- Pebble Watch -- can last as long as a week between charges.
It also bears pointing out that more active users will need more than just nightly charges. Apple's 18-hour day consists of 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute musical workout. It's hard to fathom anyone checking the time 90 times a day, but there will certainly be people going through a ton of notifications and spending more than 45 minutes on smartwatch apps.
2. The Price Is High for a Nonessential Gadget
No one "needs" an Apple Watch, and it's not cheap. Forget the high-end 18-karat-gold $17,000 model. Even the low-end $349 is pretty pricey in the realm of smartwatches. The only company that has been successful in the smartphone niche starts its price range at $99, and most of the Android devices that initially hit the market close to $349 can be had for a lot less these days.
Apple deserves a market premium, of course. However, it's going to be hard to justify $349 for an Apple Watch when even an iPad mini or a subsidized iPhone can be had for at least $100 less than that.
One can argue that the iPad succeeded despite being more expensive than rival tablets, but that happened over time. It didn't hit the market when there were much cheaper Android rivals already available, but that's what is happening now with smartwatches.
3. Apple Will Put Out a Better Model Soon
Everyone has pretty much figured Apple out. It will update its products with better versions every year, and if it's not selling well it may put out the next generation even sooner. That could very well happen here, and if the market starts to speculate that Apple will roll out a cheaper Apple Watch or one that has a more reasonable battery life or even a more seamless charging solution, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Folks don't care when it comes to the iPhone, since wireless carriers in this country subsidize the devices, so it makes a point to upgrade every two years. However, consumers apparently tired of the perpetual obsolescence of Apple's nonsubsidized mobile gadgetry, since iPad and iPod sales have been declining for more than a year.
Early adopters may not mind spending $349 for the original Apple Watch, but mainstream consumers might wait until the kinks get worked out -- and likely so will you.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Check out our free report on the Apple Watch to learn where the real money is to be made for early investors.