Monday, October 13, 2014

I'd buy the Apple Watch if...

There's no doubt that the Apple Watch is a beautiful consumer smartwatch. They're also offering a "sport" version that replaces the stainless steel casing with aluminum, but otherwise basically offers the same features. So, for a "serious" athlete who is looking for that next fitness smartwatch, the Apple Watch looks very attractive, but I'm going to wait to see if Apple will incorporate these other key features into future versions of the Apple Watch.

I'd be willing to buy an Apple Watch if:

1. The watch is waterproof for swimming. I'm simply too active to wear a watch that's only somewhat water "resistant." The upcoming first-generation Apple Watch will not be waterproof enough for swimming.

2. The watch has a built-in GPS. I'm on the fence about this feature because I'm not a serious triathlete. But, I do enough running and swimming that It's almost essential to have a built-in GPS on my wrist. I almost always run outside with my iPhone on my arm or waist, but I'm not going to swim with my iPhone. Newer triathlete watches incorporate built-in GPS and also swimming metrics to measure swimming performance when you're inside (swim strokes) and outside (GPS). I realize that the Apple Watch is not being positioned to compete against serious triathlete watches like the Garmin Forerunner 920XT or the Polar V800, but maybe Apple will eventually offer a "serious sport" version in the future. The triathlete watch market is a very small, niche market while the general running watch market (with or without heart rate monitoring and/or GPS) is significantly larger, so it would make sense to have Apple focus their efforts towards the broader crowd.

3. Battery life is sufficient. Right now, there are many speculations about the battery life specs on the new Apple Watch. A serious smartwatch should last several days so that you can actually sleep with it and measure your movement and heart rate during sleep. Some people have purchased wearable activity trackers just for the sleep tracking function. Quantifying sleep is not just an academic exercise. Changing your habits and lifestyle to improve your sleep can directly impact your health. I also appreciate the wrist vibration alarm to wake me up in the morning.

4. The watch offers compatibility with Android. In our household, we have both Android and iOS mobile devices. This year, I was seriously thinking about switching back to Android, but the new iPhone 6 compelled me to stick with iOS for another few years.

The new Basis Peak that's priced at $199 looks like it'll be a nice watch for runners who always run with their phones. It's not designed for the serious triathlete, but it also offers some unique features that go above and beyond the average running watch.

I'm sure the new Apple Watch will be very nice, but I'm also certain that the next version of the Apple Watch will be even better. If that next version is waterproof and has sufficient battery life, then I may take the plunge. Until then, I'll stick to my waterproof GPS fitness watch.

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