The Apple Watch is flirting with feature bloat, putting sublime simplicity at risk

13 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

4 questions to ask yourself before you buy an Apple Watch.

If I were Tim Cook right now, I wouldn’t be worrying about Apple Watch sales potential. To observers of the secretive Swiss watch industry, its quiet, seemingly passive response to Apple Inc.’s plan to attack their centuries-old business could be mistaken for submission before an overwhelming adversary.

THE Future of the Watch will soon be upon us, as Apple’s much-hyped announcement earlier this week made clear, and this future has touchscreens, app integration and a sexy interface.With Apple’s Watch finally to be released, with pre-ordering starting April 10 and watches to be on store shelves – or on consumer wrists — from April 24, now is the time to ask yourself: Do you need the Apple Watch to change your life? But luxury and fashion groups Richemont, LVMH, Swatch Group and Guess Inc. have been busy in the past year tinkering with smartwatches of their own, while aiming to preserve their products’ more timeless appeal. There are a number of competitors in this fast-growing market, some that even work with Apple devices, which if you’re already firmly ensconced in the Apple garden is an important factor.

When Apple Watch was first announced last September, some experts dismissed such devices as appealing to a different class of customer – those who prize technology over prestige. Like many others, I already use an iPhone, my work computer is a MacBook Air and there’s an iMac on my kitchen counter for displaying recipes, family photos, watching funny YouTube videos that family members want to share and keeping track of the digital deluge that’s part of a every family’s life these days. The most detailed data on this problem, a July 2014 Endeavor Partners study, tells us that about a third of all smartwatch and fitness band owners abandon their wrist wearables after six months. And then I plug it in and forget about it for days or months until all this talk about smartwatches reminds me I have one that I mostly like to use to track activities, so I drag it out again. An iPhone tends to lose half its value within the first year after it is introduced, while Rolex’s flagship Submariner model has risen in value, analysts at Berenberg Bank noted in a recent report.

Montblanc, owned by Richemont, announced in January the launch of the TimeWalker Urban Speed e-strap watch, which combines a traditional mechanical watch with an interchangeable strap containing a Bluetooth connected device. The water’s … precisely 71 degrees.”) The watch also comes equipped with Indiglo illumination for pre-dawn baitfish raids, a compass, and a tide tracker for timing and aligning all your seaborne adventures. Neatest Trick: Activate its compass mode and the second hand will point due north while the digital display shows the cardinal direction that the watch’s 12 o’clock position is facing. How much are you willing to pay for a watch that will let you open doors remotely, share your heartbeat with other Apple Watch users, or prompt you to get up off the couch? He said this is less risky than the strategy of LVMH’s Tag Heuer, which has partnered with an as-yet-undisclosed U.S. tech company to produce a watch outside Switzerland. “It creates a bit of a grey area between Swiss-made and probably made-in-China products, so that could be a bit difficult to manage over time,” Mr.

There’s also a digital thermometer, five alarms, a stopwatch and a countdown timer — to get you first-away-from-the-stoplight bragging rights every time. It starts at $449 – about the cost of a gym membership for a year – if you really want to splurge you can shell out a whopping $13,000 for a gold Apple Watch. By comparison, the new Pebble Time, which you can get on Kickstarter now starting at less than half that price, has many of the functions and apps you may want – plus because it’s an e-paper screen, its battery lasts much longer, up to seven days. Trust me: I’ve been reviewing smartwatches since they became a thing, and once you run out of juice the first time, you’re already on the path to giving up. A year ago, it said it would produce a smartwatch based on Google’s Android Wear software, and in September it said it had partnered with chipmaker Intel Corp.

And several smartwatches on the market or coming soon are also water resistant – at a rating that actually lets them be submerged up to one meter for 30 minutes, which I figure is more than enough to survive a little snow melting in my jacket cuff, rain pelting on a run or even the shower. The threat that Apple will cannibalize existing watch demand is most acute for Swatch, analysts say, because it has the highest proportion of products selling for a few hundred dollars, instead of several thousands as high-end names do.

Baktidy, owner of two auto body repair shops in New York and two dozen watches by luxury brands including Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Breitling and Omega. But it’s also essentially useless, as none of these watches’ heart rate sensors can provide accurate real-time readings during the jumping and jostling of physical exercise. Now, sure, you could argue that some smartwatch features are must-haves, that a smartwatch isn’t a smartwatch unless these features are present and accounted for. Indeed, Apple’s small, ostensibly trivial surprise-and-delight tricks (taps, sketches, stickers, and custom animated emojis) might be all the Watch requires to be a resounding success. So while you might buy the upcoming Apple Watch, you may not buy its second-gen follow-up if you feel you didn’t get your money’s worth, or some borderline features just didn’t work.

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