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The Apple Watch: a giant waste of money


Apple is amazingly revolutionary in one respect: the way they over-hype their products.

Their new smart watch possesses a mile-long list of features. You can share your heartbeat, for some incredibly creepy reason. You can check the time, just like a $5 watch you can buy at Target. You can text just like on the phone you already have sitting in your pocket. You can try to look at pictures on a tiny two-inch screen. You can even spend $349 minimum on a flashy, yet basically absurd piece of technology.

When it comes down to it the watch, or at least the first generation, will easily become a very expensive paper weight. Granted, many the features seem cool, but one thing they failed to advertise is that the majority of the apps on the watch itself are sitting in your pocket, on the phone for which you paid exponentially less money.

It may be a different story if users didn’t actually have to own an iPhone 5 or above to use the device, but that’s not the case. Instead, by buying a watch you’re essentially buying an iPhone 5 and a mini iPhone strapped to your wrist and using both.

Truly, the only feature different from old iPhone models that anyone would actually use on a regular basis is the heart-rate monitor. If that’s one of the major selling points, buy a Fitbit instead. It costs about $250 less and it doesn’t require an iPhone to use.

Despite the “unparalleled level of innovation” that Apple flaunted, they failed to mention one other minor detail: the battery life. Mechanical and digital watches use very little power, so charging them is never an issue, but the Apple Watch works pretty similarly to the iPhone. The fact that they haven’t advertised the battery points to the fact that it may not be as “revolutionary” as everyone hopes.

Older, not-so-successful models of smart watches like the Pebble generally had a battery span of about 4 days. The catch? They had black and white displays, much like digital watches. With the level of modernization and portability that the device is supposed to possess, you’re most likely going to be rushing for a charger cable on a regular basis.

In fact, there’s a good chance that your over-priced and way over-hyped “smart watch” probably only has an overall lifespan of about 5 to 10 years, while a $50 “dumb watch” could probably outlive your great-grandchildren. Or you could do what nearly everyone else does today and simply check the time displayed in giant bold numbers on the home screen of you phone.

It’s an interesting idea, a smart watch. However, Apple jumped into this field a little early in the game. Their other successful products, like the iPhone, launched into the market and made a splash after watching other smart phone brands work out all the kinks. They found out what worked and then amped up all those qualities on their own products.

This is a fairly new market, one where previous products have had a high history of failure and a very low rate of success. In this sense, the biggest piece of advice for anyone actually interested in buying this product: wait until the second generation.

Along with their notoriety for innovation, they’re known for their second generation successes. The iPhone went from a toy to a device with GPS. The second generation iPad was about half as thick as the original. In terms of technology, Apple is a second-generation superstar.

When it comes down to it, the Apple Watch is more of a component of nerd-fashion than anything else. After the hype dies down it will probably end up similar to the Google Glass: an innovative failure.

While the products launch video, ridden an obscene amount of slow-motion pan over shots, makes it almost impossible to not crave the device, the smart watch is best left for the future.

Reach the columnist at mjanetsk@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @meganjanetsky

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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