A View from Rachel Metz
The Apple Watch Cometh
Thinking about strapping on Apple’s latest gadget? Read this first.
Pre-sales for the Apple Watch begin Friday, though the wrist-worn gadget won’t actually be delivered to early buyers until April 24. If you’re considering buying one, here are some things to keep in mind.
- If you want to check out the Apple Watch in person—which makes sense, since the gadget starts at $349 (aluminum watch body, glass face) and goes all the way up to $10,000 and beyond (solid gold body, sapphire crystal face)—you’re “encouraged” by Apple to make an appointment to do so at your local Apple Store through its website. You’ll have to wait until 12:01 a.m. on Friday to make that appointment, though.
- It sounds like during the pre-sale days you’ll only be able to buy the Watch online, also through Apple’s website.
- If you do end up buying an Apple Watch, you’ll need to charge it at night, which means you won’t be doing sleep tracking with this version. Apple says the Watch’s battery should last a maximum of 18 hours, and reviewers seemed to get a day’s worth of use out of it, on average.
- Like any smart watch that’s dependent on a paired smartphone, the Apple Watch can’t do much when it’s away from your iPhone. Things it can do without your phone include telling time, playing music that’s stored on the Watch, and pay for things using Apple Pay.
- While this may sound obvious, it’s worth mentioning anyway: the Apple Watch will only work with an iPhone. Furthermore, it will only work on an iPhone 5 or newer, so people like my husband who are still clinging to an iPhone 4 or 4S won’t be able to use it unless they get a new phone, too.
The first crop of reviews seem to agree that the Apple Watch is generally better overall than other available smart watches (see “So Far, Smart Watches are Pretty Dumb”), and that it’s beautifully designed, has some cool features (“taptic” haptic vibrations, a force-touch display, and Apple Pay), and may make you a little less obsessed with your iPhone. But they also point out plenty of shortcomings at this early stage (unimpressive battery life, pricey, sluggish apps, a complicated interface, and general nice-to-have-but-not-need-to-have-ness) that should make shoppers pause before handing over their credit cards. I played with it at an Apple event in March and hypothesized at the time that it might be too overwhelming for some users (see “Apple’s Lovely, Potentially Overwhelming Wristwear”); I’ll report back once I try it out on my own wrist for a week or so.