Why You Should Not Buy the Fancier Apple Watches
If you’re in a position to spend $10,000 on an Apple Watch, whatever we say probably won’t stop you. We aren’t arguing against buying an Apple Watch — since they’re a pretty interesting piece of technology — but are simply advocating sound financial decisions when it comes to where you spend your cash. And all logic points to the argument that you should spend only hundreds, not thousands, on an Apple Watch. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t buy the fancier Apple Watches.
1. There is a sizable mismatch between cost and value.
Depending on your budget, you could argue than any of the watches in the Apple Watch lineup are expensive. But that goes double for the top-of-the-line models, where you’re paying a lot of money for a watch without that many features. It’s easy to argue that the Apple Watch will just become more useful as developers build more apps for it. But even Apple isn’t sure yet what the smartwatch’s “killer app” will be, and the first generation of the Apple Watch will likely prove to be very underpowered for the great apps that will eventually emerge, a generation or two into the Apple Watch product lineup.
That problem doesn’t make it a flawed gadget, just a first-generation one, and we’d pretty much never recommend buying the pricy, gold-plated first generation of anything. The real issue with the cost/value proposition of the high-end Apple Watch models is that you’re paying a lot of money for a gadget that isn’t any better in terms of functionality than the cheap(er) versions. With any other untested technology, would you go for the gold-plated version first, or settle for stainless steel until the hardware and software makers had things a little more figured out?
2. It’s subject to planned obsolescence.
Inextricably tied to the mismatch between the Apple Watch’s cost and value is the fact that the smartwatch is going to depreciate in value and functionality very quickly. Like any Apple product, you’ll likely be able to get years of use out of the Apple Watch if you don’t mind passing up on upgrades. But just as the iPhone’s hardware better and adds new features each year, expect new generations of Apple Watches to steadily outpace the one you made a huge investment to purchase. Eventually, the first-generation Apple Watches likely won’t be compatible with the newest software, and after that, Apple will likely quietly remove them from its website as generations of new watches take their place.
Think of the problem this way: today, eight years after the original iPhone was introduced, it would be practically unusable when you take into account the demands of modern apps and connectivity. The Apple Watch will likely be the same eight or ten years from now — regardless of whether you paid $350 or $10,000 for it. This isn’t a new problem, or one that’s unique to the Apple Watch, but it’s a problem you should consider if you’re thinking of spending a large amount of money on a product that may not last as long as you imagine it will.
3. The Apple Watch is not built to be an heirloom piece.
Some may argue that it’s unfair to compare the Apple Watch to a traditional timepiece, but since no one is likely to wear both a luxury watch and the Apple Watch, at least at the same time, it’s a comparison that bears making. The Apple Watch is constructed as a piece of technology, not as a beautiful accessory meant to be worn for a lifetime and passed on to your son. Even if the technology wouldn’t become quickly outdated, the Apple Watch won’t have the staying power of a classic wristwatch.
For that reason, we’ll offer the advice that fans of heirloom timepieces have proposed since the Apple Watch was first introduced to the world: buy a real watch. It may not enable you to track your workouts, call your mom, or share your heartbeat with your girlfriend, but a classic watch that’s built to last will not only work today, but will be just as good decades from the day you bought it. It’s not just about the money — you can find well-made timepieces at prices both above and below what Apple’s asking for its high-end Apple Watches — but about the fact that a luxury watch should continue to feel like a luxury watch, not an outdated piece of tech, years after the initial investment.