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Why I’m not buying an Apple Watch…right now

What if that guy in Glengarry Glen Ross wore an Apple Watch?

“You see this watch…That watch costs more than your car.”

Update: Find out how I later changed my mind.

I consider myself a tech savvy guy, but I’m not an early adopter. The first personal computers came out in 1977, but I didn’t buy my Commodore 64 until 1983 — after the price dropped to USD 299. The Motorola DynaTAC was introduced in 1984, but I didn’t get my first cell phone until 1999, 15 years later. I got my first smartphone in 2012, 5 years after the first iPhone.

The first of any new technology is expensive, limited, and often impractical. The first automobiles were dangerous playthings for the rich. Early televisions were barely useful as furniture with tiny screens and limited programming.

All of this brings me to the Apple Watch.

I’m not talking about the USD 10,000–17,000 top-of-the-line Apple Watch Edition. Those are only for people who like to show how much they can spend on a watch. (These are the same people who buy designer iPhone cases that cost more than the phone.) If I were to get an Apple Watch, it would be the USD 400 model. The space gray one with the black band looks nice.

The problem is that I already have a perfectly good watch: a two-year-old Casio G-Shock. It can’t answer calls, buy things by holding it up to a terminal, or monitor my heartbeat. My watch can do things an Apple Watch can’t. Like go underwater. My G-Shock is water resistant to 200 meters. (The only time I would be 200 meters underwater is if my ship hit an iceberg. In that case, my watch would last longer than I would.) The practical use of a water-resistant watch is that I can wear it in the pool, something I couldn’t do with an Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch boasts an 18-hour battery life, which is impressive for an electronic device. It’s not as impressive as my G-Shock that never runs out of electricity. My watch is solar powered. I don’t have to charge it because it is always charging whenever I’m in sunlight.

I’m not saying the Apple Watch will be a failure. People have been looking for a connected smart watch that is stylish and easy to use. Apple has been successful at producing products like this. There are also plenty of people who want to be the first with the cool new thing. I’m just not one of those people.

Good technology is useful technology, but it has to be useful to me before I would consider buying it.

Consider another breakthrough product Apple introduced, the iPod. It revolutionized the music world when it came out in 2001. The original iPod wouldn’t have done me any good. It didn’t work with the Windows laptop I used at the time. Besides, I already had CDs that I could pop into my CD player in my car and at home. Why would I go through the trouble of ripping CDs on my computer so that I can transfer them to another device before listening to them? I had no practical use for an iPod or any digital music player.

I only got into digital music in 2005 when I got a Hyundai Elantra that didn’t come with a CD player. My solution was to get a cheap MP3 player and an adapter so I could connect it through the radio’s cassette player. I got my first iPod Nano in 2007 as a thank you gift for completing a project at work. The iPod was a big improvement over my cheap MP3 player, so I made the iPod my main music player. I later replaced the iPod Nano with an iPod Touch and then my iPhone 5S. Each product added capabilities I needed.

Would I ever get an Apple Watch? I suppose if I had a spare USD 10,000–17,000 and people I needed to impress with conspicuous consumption, I might get an Apple Watch Edition. As for the more affordable one, I would get it when it fills a need my current gear doesn’t. It may not be this generation of smart watches. Just as each generation of cars, televisions, and iPods became more affordable and useful as the technology improved, there will eventually be a smart watch that is right for me.

You don’t have to be the first to get the next cool thing. It may be best to wait for a technology to mature until it fits your needs and budget.

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