Apple Watch Sport

Why I won’t be buying an Apple Watch Sport – yet

Back on March 10 2015, Apple announced when they much awaited Apple Watch would finally be available and the pricing. The entry level model, the Apple Watch Sport collection, is touted as a sports watch – Apple even wheeled out a celebrity to prove it. But I’m not convinced. Here’s why I won’t be buying an Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch Sport comes in two versions – one with a 38mm display and one with a 42mm display. Then there are five different bands for each size giving a total of ten possible models in the Sport collection.

Apple Watch SportFrom 10 April 2015, customers in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US, will be able to preview, try-on by appointment at Apple’s retail stores, or pre-order through the Apple Online Store. On 24 April, Apple Watch will be available online or by reservation in Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorised Resellers in China and Japan.

Apple Watch Sport will be priced at recommended retail price AUD$499 inc. GST and RRP AUD$579 inc. GST.

Waterproof?

waterproofThe Apple Watch Sport is not waterproof. It’s certified to the IPX7 standard which suggests the Apple Watch will be able to withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.

Apple says

Apple Watch is splash and water resistant but not waterproof. You can, for example, wear and use Apple Watch during exercise, in the rain, and while washing your hands, but submerging Apple Watch is not recommended.

So, wear it when you sweat or wash your hands but don’t swim or shower with it.

GPS?

gps-satellitesThis is the big omission for me. If I’m running I need a sports watch that can measure how far I’ve travelled. Whether that’s for total distance or to measure out intervals I rely on GPS.

Some people might argue that its pedometer capability will be good enough but that’s not satisfactory for serious runners. Even Apple wheeling out a celebrity runner like Christy Turlington isn’t enough to convince me!

Sure, you can calibrate a pedometer but stride length changes depending on conditions so the best you can hope for is an approximation.

In order to use the Apple Watch as an exercise tool, I’ll need to carry my iPhone. I don’t carry my iPhone when I run. Arm bands are a potential chafing hazard and, frankly, I don’t need to take a simple activity and make it harder by carrying extra stuff.

Cost

cash-registerAt almost $500, the Apple watch is more fashion accessory than sport watch despite the moniker on the entry level model. I’m a bit of a watch junkie – I have several that I wear depending on what I’m wearing and the type of occasion. And the Apple Watch does appeal on that score.

But, as a sport watch, it’s very expensive – a lot more than the Garmin Forerunner 620 which is probably the best watch for runners I’ve tested. And the Apple Watch is not nearly as useful for serious runners.

What will change my mind?

My gut feeling is that the Apple Watch will fit into Apple’s typical release cycle for its main consumer products. The iPhone and iPad typically get a minor refresh every other year and a major update in the other years. My suspicion is that GPS will be added in the second release of the Apple Watch – if not in every model certainly in the Sport collection.

Water-proofing will also follow but probably not for another release or two.

Apple Watch will also be closely tied to Apple’s Health application and it’s not much of a stretch to expect their recently announced ResearchKit to heavily leverage the Apple Watch for all sorts of applications that, frankly, I can’t even imagine.

I can see a future where coaches, health professionals and other allied support will develop applications that will leverage the Apple Watch.

When that comes, I’ll start thinking about the Apple Watch more seriously as a training aid.

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