The Apple Watch is finally official and like practically every other Apple launch it is attracting a lot of controversy. Comment sections on most tech sites are inundated with scornful comments and praise alike. It is coming from both camps – Apple fans who expected a bit more and Android fanatics in “we told you” mode.
Love it or hate it, the Apple Watch is coming next year and it is a big deal. It is the first time Apple entered an entirely new market segment in years and it is a watershed moment for Tim Cook's team. As a result there is a lot of FUD floating around and since Fudzilla thrives on it, we’ll take a look at some of the misplaced critiques as well as blatant hype and fanboyism.
Battery life concerns
Battery life remains a big concern and it is a valid question, no FUD or fanboyism involved. How long before your $349 watch turns into a dead, oversized bracelet? We don’t know yet, although Apple hinted at all-day battery life and CEO Tim Cook mentioned overnight charging.
While Apple fans tend to expect a bit more from their shiny toys, the laws of physics still apply to Cupertino. All smartwatches with proper high-resolution screens and speedy processors will suffer from this issue for years to come.
There is some good news though. Unlike Motorola, which used an ancient Texas Instruments chip in the Moto 360, Apple chose to develop a custom SoC, the S1 module which includes all the bits and pieces in a single package encased in resin. We don’t know whether this is a 20nm part like the Apple A8, but if it is, the manufacturing process and optimisation should give Apple the upper hand.
Is it waterproof?
This silly question was raised in numerous online discussions and the answer is yes, of course it is. We don’t even have to look at the spec – Apple is not that daft, no company is.
Need proof? This bloke would have a very, very bad day if it wasn’t and Apple probably wouldn’t use this press shot. The fact that there is no waterproof rating on the back and that Apple hasn't revealed the standard (eg. IP67) does not mean it is not water resistant or waterproof.
What about lefties?
This is an odd one. Since the Apple Watch sports a functional crown, dubbed Digital Crown, and a physical button next to it, the watch is not really ambidextrous.
Many people assumed that it was all a matter of flipping the watch when it is used on the right hand, but it is not. This is where it gets a bit weird, as the issue exposes the bad side of Apple's 'digital crown'.
News Corp has learned that the watch will come with an option to place the crown at the opposite side. This may create resale or gifting issues. Lefties will have to find a lefty buyer for a second hand watch, or a lefty to pass it on to.
Is it really stylish?
Style is another concern. The Watch doesn’t look bad, but it does not look spectacular either. The Moto 360, the LG G Watch R and even the humble Asus Zen watch look very good too. However, it is not round, the oversized crown and button don’t help its case either, as the Apple Watch just doesn't pull off a discrete watch look like the Moto 360 or LG GWR.
Reuters talked to a few fashion journos and industry leaders following the event, only to find that the fashion world is as divided as the tech world. Some like it, others are not impressed.
Apple is giving consumers a lot of choice, with two different sizes, three series of watches with different materials and wristbands and a range of different faces. However, either way you look at it, the Apple Watch is not round and moreover it does not really look like a proper watch.
Why aren't more people talking about the price?
Here’s a question – how come more people aren’t talking about the price? At $349 the Apple Watch costs $100 more than the Moto 360, but it still comes a bit cheaper than the rumoured $399 price tag. That's not bad, it's not great but Apple products always tend to cost a bit more than the competition.
However, that’s just part of the story. The real question is what kind of Apple Watch $349 will actually buy?
A quick glance reveals that each collection has a range of different options in two sizes, with numerous different bands. The plain watch comes in a stainless steel case and sapphire crystal on top, while the Watch Sport has an aluminium case with Ion-X glass. The tacky Watch Edition comes in two different gold finishes and sapphire glass. Even the backs are different – composite on the Sport, ceramic on the Watch and Edition.
The $349 price tag does apply to all of them and it will be months before Apple reveals the actual pricing. There is no way an entry level watch with a simple sport band and composite back will cost as much as a standard watch with a stainless steel case, ceramic back and a metal band.
A lot of choice comes at a price and getting something fancy will undoubtedly cost quite a bit more than $349. Unless people are willing to spend more, everyone will end up with an entry level watch, which sounds like a bad idea. Differentiating from the crowd will come at a premium, but we still don’t know what sort of premium.
Bottom line - few people buy the entry level iPhone 5C and few people will buy the $349 Apple Watch.