buying an apple watch – or not

There are some things where it’s not such a bad idea to be an early adopter. It’s pretty safe to buy the newest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy – the technology in them has been vetted for several generations, and they’re not making revolutionary leaps, their advances and changes are strictly evolutionary.

They (and can we trust “them”?) always say not to buy a car (or motorcycle) in its first couplefew model years. While the experience with my 2005 BMW R 1200 GS might prove that out – bad final drive, bad driveshaft, 2nd bad rear wheel carrier/flange, possible/probably ABS/brake servo unit failure (which has happened to many of the bikes from this MY), the well-publicized fuel strip issue (though from later MY bikes than mine), and the crack-prone fuel pump fitting – many auto experts naysay this early-purchase myth.

When it comes to the iWatch (or Apple Watch, as it’s more likely to be called, based on EVERYBODY SAYING SO), I’m very much going to avoid being an early adopter, and in fact, I may never really get around to buying one. Here’s why.

1. I already have a watch.

Actually, I have FOUR of them. Two digital and two analog. The analog watches – one of which I’ve had for probably 20 years – do only a few things. They tell me what time it is, of course, and the date. One of them does only that. The other one has a stopwatch (chronograph) on it. That’s it. The digital watches do those things (and with my preference, the 24-hour clock; I know it’s weird, but I really do prefer knowing it’s 15.30 even though the sun is out and I clearly know which 3.30 it is) and other things as well – I can set multiple clocks on them, alarms, and more.

The truth is, even the digital watches I only use to find out what time it is and occasionally remind myself of the date. (The vagaries of my job keep me up-to-date on tomorrow’s date – which means I usually know today’s date. Usually.)

My point is, I already have a timepiece, and STILL I will occasionally pull the phone out of my pocket to look at the time on it. That’s stupid, yet I still do it. What’s even worse is that I wear my watch on my right wrist and keep my phone in my right front pants pocket – so I actually snag the watch on the edge of the pocket getting the phone out of my pocket. Like I said – stupid, but that’s me.

The #1 reason I continue to wear a watch is because I have a pretty ardent no-electronics policy in my classroom and the last thing I want to be doing is whipping my phone out every 15 minutes during class. If I’m going to ask (forcefully) my students to put their phones away during the lecture, I should adhere to the same rule.

2. I don’t have to charge my analog watch.

I’m right on the edge of charger overload. MacBook, iPad, iPhone, bluetooth earpiece, GPS, camera batteries – hell, even my motorcycle helmet has a communication system in it that has to be recharged. Only the helmet and the GPS use the same cable, which means any time I travel with my electronics, I have to have a brace of chargers and cables just to keep up. While it’s likely the iWatch will charge with the same USB-to-Lightning cable used by the current iPad and iPhone generation, it’s just one more device to keep charged. That means another cable and another wall wart taking up space, if nothing else. It’s all just too much.

My watch batteries last for several years. No charging – and almost always a few days’ warning that the battery is dying.

3. Data security.

Just last week there was a report of yet another security flaw on smartphones – including iPhones. Security breaches and data theft are a huge issue for us right now, and frankly, nobody’s giving us very good answers. The iWatch and its accompanying iPhone will share a wireless connection – which means my personal/private data (whatever it is) will be streaming back and forth between my wrist and my pocket. Apple has not, so far as I can tell, offered any guarantee that my data will be protected or secured. Sure, maybe only my heart rate is flying back and forth, but I set up Apple Pay on my phone. I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before some industrious hacker figures out how to bounce a signal off an iWatch to get data off an iPhone. If they can do that, maybe they can nab my credit card number. Having had my credit card number stolen over a wifi connection once made me incredibly wary of unfamiliar wifi networks. Now I’m much more protective of my data.

4. Cost.

Most estimates say the iWatch is going to come in north of $300. I probably haven’t spent $300 on all the watches I have right now – combined – and since I’m saving up to buy a house here in a couple years, I definitely can’t justify the expense.

Plus how pissed are people going to be once the iWatch is out and somebody reverse-engineers the thing, coming out with a nearly-as-good-but-much-cheaper version? It won’t take long for that to happen, and hell, Apple is pretty well known for deep-discounting its last-gen devices. If I decide I really want an iWatch, I know all I need to do is wait til they come out with Mark 2 and I can get Mark 1 at a deep savings.

5. It’s not a wearable version of my phone.

Face it – Dick Tracy (audio trans/receive) and the Venture Brothers (audio AND video trans/receive) still have the coolest watches in the history of watches.  Frankly, the iWatch is still just a watch.  Sure, it’s a watch that can stream music like an iPod and record your pules, but I can’t see your face on it and you can’t talk to me through it.  I’d be a lot more excited about it if it could do those things.

6.  It’s not left-handed.

It’s a silly thing, I know, but I wear my watch on my right wrist.  My favorite watch is an analog piece that has the crown (that’s the button you pull out to set it) on the left side of the face – towards the hand.  If I wear an iWatch, that means I either have to switch my watch over to the left wrist (which is awkward and uncomfortable for me after 30 years of wearing watches on the other arm) or adjust to forever using any function that starts with a button push in an awkward fashion.  This seems like a petty thing, but when you throw that at the bottom of a list of reasons not to get one, it kind of seals the deal.

It is nice to see Apple developing a new platform, even if they weren’t the ones who pioneered it.  I hear the Pebble is a pretty awesome smartwatch, and there’s others out there that have intriguing feature sets and decent reputations already.

I won’t lie and say I’ll never want or own an iWatch. We all pretty much know that I’m an Apple fan and have been for a long time. I even stuck by them when they dumped the Motorola chipset. Right now I’m working hard to break the grip of craving and desire, though, and writing all this down has helped me solidify that I won’t be buying an Apple Watch.

This year.


Photo courtesy of



3 thoughts on “buying an apple watch – or not

  1. So I have a couple of comments to make but let me be clear – I am not suggesting that anyone who does not want an Apple Watch buy one. If you don’t think it’s something you will use then by all means, pass it up. But you have a couple of things wrong and I think it’s important that you make a decision based on facts.

    But before I delve into that –

    “(or Apple Watch, as it’s more likely to be called, based on EVERYBODY SAYING SO)”

    Um….it’s called the Apple Watch. That’s what Apple named it. Yes, I know, we all love the iThing naming convention, but it’s called The Apple Watch.


    1) It absolutely can be worn left- or right-handed.

    I personally tend to wear things on my left hand, but I can switch pretty easily. Still, there’s no reason you can’t wear it on your right hand.

    2) Suggesting someone can get your credit card number by sniffing the connection between your watch & phone is not possible because that’s not how Apple Pay works. The whole advantage here is that your credit card number is never, ever transmitted to the merchant, or stored on any server (including Apple’s), or on your phone. Your device has a unique account number assigned to it for each card and when you use it, a transaction-specific security code is dynamically created (so even if you could somehow get that code for my $90 purchase at Sephora (don’t judge me) you cannot then use it at Target).

    Of course no security is perfect but for now Apple Pay is way safer than using your actual credit card at any merchant.

    Also, it’s really funny that you say that buying a new smartphone doesn’t carry the early adopter risk. I stood in line for 6 hours to buy the original iPhone and never regretted it. This coming April, when I’m sporting my Apple Watch, I’m sure I won’t be regretting it then either. 🙂

    • Thanks for the lefty link. Excellent news!!

      I admit/confess I have no concept of how Apple Pay truly works. I haven’t patronized a single business that accepts it yet – not even Sephora (which I had to look up). Having had my cc# stolen off a wifi network once, though, I’m a LITTLE wary.

      I don’t think buying a new smartphone now carries early-adopter risk. You’re one of the people I know that bought an iPhone first-first and had very little (or no) trouble. I didn’t get one until the third generation, but I picked up an iPad when they first came out. I’m looking forward to hearing about your experience with the iWatch (which I’ll keep calling it because it irritates people).

  2. I have a Samsung Gear Fit, and having lived with it for a while I can speak to *some* of your issues — at least for samsung. 1. It priced at Christmas at 100 bucks. Currently $125. 2. It takes a 3 day charge — apropos of nothing it’s also safe to wear in the shower. 3. You can set the wrist orientation right or left. 4. You get a pedometer if you care (which is what they nominally sell it for — fitness) 5. More important to me, I can read texts without grabbing my phone. They show up on my wrist. 5. I can reply with a short set of fixed/customized replies (I use Yep, Nope, :), I’m driving. Give me a few, In a meeting call you when I’m done. 6. I am forever (as a girl) not hearing my phone in my purse. My wrist vibrating helps cut down on missed calls. 7. When running with my phone strapped to my shoulder, I can pause or next-song or go back from my phone. 8. I use a bluetooth headset and I can actually place calls from my phone and then talk using my headset.

    The point of the Gear Fit (I can’t speak to any other smart watch) is that if your handset is large (and mine is a Note 3, so it’s BIG) and also generally pass code locked (which mine is) you would rather be able to do a few quick things conveniently. And OBTW, also tell time.

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