The wait is almost over! Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) first post-Steve Jobs product, the Apple Watch, ships on April 24. We asked a few of our Motley Fool specialists of their plans to buy the watch, and the overall results pointed to a tougher adoption path for Apple than its iPhone and iPad models. Here are a few of their responses.
Andrés Cardenal: Probably.
I need to get my hands -- my wrist, more precisely -- on an Apple Watch before I can make a final decision, but chances are I'll be interested in buying one. There are many compelling uses I can think of for an Apple Watch; fitness and health monitoring are clearly two important areas. Also, it could be quite useful when you need to quickly check an email or some other piece of information without getting your phone out of your pocket.
The watch's battery life, estimated at around 18 hours, is shorter than I would like, but it still offers an acceptable duration. Charging the product every night is not exactly ideal, but it's not the end of the world, either.
Maybe I can be described as an "early adopter," but one of the main reasons I'm interested in buying an Apple Watch is that I believe Apple could be leading the wearable-computing revolution with this product. Being able to participate in this new trend from the beginning is a major decision driver to me.
I'm more about functionality as opposed to fashion, so I'll probably go with the Sport model, with a starting price of $349. However, I can definitely see why many customers will be willing to pay up for a more exclusive design. In case my wife is reading this, I want to make it quite clear that she needs to keep her expectations at reasonable levels.
There is one thing I know for sure: You can't really make a sound decision about Apple products by analyzing specifications and reading press reports. It's all about the user experience, an area in which Apple usually excels and surprises its detractors.
Alex Dumortier: I don't think so.
I have to confess at the outset that I haven't bought into the Apple ecosystem (yet) -- my phone runs Android -- so the Apple Watch is that much less compelling for me. However, there is at least one reason I wouldn't buy one that may be a legitimate obstacle to widespread adoption, whether or not one is already inside the Apple bubble ... er, ecosystem: battery life.
My colleague Andrés mentions that Apple Watch's autonomy is estimated at 18 hours. One of the reasons many people find wristwatches practical is that they need never leave one's wrist until it's time to replace -- not charge -- the battery. (I sleep and shower wearing mine, for example.) Managing the daily charging of yet another device that's meant to make your digital life more convenient is a turn-off.
With that said, there's little reason to think that Apple is aiming for mass adoption with the first iteration of its watch. I've read that analysts are looking for roughly a 10% pick-up rate from users who already own a compatible iPhone, which sounds achievable. Furthermore, I've learned not to extrapolate my own experience with and reactions to technology devices to a broader audience.
Between that observation and Apple's record of delighting consumers, I can confidently state that I won't be buying an Apple Watch, but beyond that, it's difficult to predict consumers' reaction.
Jamal Carnette: No.
In full fairness to Apple, I wouldn't classify myself as an innovator when it comes to the diffusion and adoption of new technology. Rather, I'd classify myself as part of the early majority -- buying in when the full benefits and costs are well known and a strong ecosystem is fully developed.
That said, when Apple's watch was initially announced, I found its health benefits particularly interesting. After all, I use a number of fitness-based apps on my iPhone and the haptic, periodic activity prompts seem interesting in a Pavlovian sort of way.
Unfortunately, outside its fitness capabilities, I find the watch to be mostly complementary to Apple's iPhone. And, even worse, most of its capabilities appear redundant. The vast majority of the features were sold under the assumption that your iPhone wasn't nearby. For me, that's simply not an issue. In the end, I'm not willing to pay $349 for an iPhone extension with a haptic prompt and the ability to send animated drawings.
Numerous sites reported that Apple initially had more ambitious health-related capabilities in mind -- including monitoring blood pressure, heart activity, and stress levels -- but that the technology wasn't feasible yet. That's the smartwatch that redefines the genre, not the ability to send your heartbeat to another Apple Watch owner. When Apple is able to add this functionality, the watch becomes well worth the $349 for the entry-level Sport edition; I'm holding off until it does.