The Apple Watch is a tantalising piece of hardware. After years of rumours, you can almost finally slide one onto your body. I’m here to throw a wet blanket on your wrist; almost no one should buy one of these things.
Yesterday’s Apple Watch presentation was an exercise in empty spectacle: A big old show by a company that had nothing to say. The Apple Watch isn’t all that impressive. Definitely not compared to the rumours of an omni-present life-pal that loomed so large before its release. It may get there eventually, but it definitely isn’t amazing yet.
As tech fans we have a tendency to think about successful gadgets in terms of the polished products they become after several iterations. We forget that version 1.0 kind of sucked.
Consider a few examples from Apple’s past:
Released in 2007, the original iPhone was an incomplete revolution. It didn’t have 3G or a front-facing camera. It didn’t have GPS or a gyroscope. Shit, it didn’t even have an App Store!
The original 2010 iPad didn’t have any cameras at all; They didn’t show up until the iPad 2. No Skype with Grandma, no FaceTime from the top of the Empire State Building. Even worse, the iPad 1 had no multitasking at launch. Have fun relaunching an app every time you want to use it. When the original iPad did get multitasking with an iOS update, performance slowed a painful crawl.
The original iPod Touch was missing key features like Bluetooth connectivity, and it didn’t get a camera until 2012.
Today, the MacBook Air is revered as a powerful machine in a tiny package for a very reasonable price. This wasn’t always the case. The little computer’s compact, streamlined design was impressive from the start but he computer didn’t become a legitimate workhorse until Apple upgraded the processors from the cheaper Intel Core Duo processors to the Intel Core i5 chipset in late 2011. And though you could get decent performance from the Air before then, the good configurations ran close to $US2000.
You should chill out on plans to buy an Apple Watch. Even if future versions of the Apple Watch eventually offer wildly unique and valuable features that range far beyond the power of alternatives like the Pebble and are more than just gimmicks, the first generation version you buy this year won’t ever get there. But if you hold on even one year for version two, it is all but guaranteed to be measurably better in countless ways. Granted, this is always true to some degree, but it’s extra true for first-gen gadgets.
For some people the glee of being the first jabroni to own the hottest gadget will cancel out all of the rational reasons that you shouldn’t buy an Apple Watch. These souls will pay whatever it takes to be the first in line. And I hope they have got plenty of cash because they will be buying the same thing next year. That or turning green with envy.