Personally, I love to see the growing assortment of Apple Watch versions and models, but even I am a bit overwhelmed. For example, Apple seemed to quietly change the naming conventions of the Apple Watch (Apple Watch Sport doesn’t seem to be a title they use anymore) while adding new ones such as Apple Watch Nike +. What models you can get paired with what straps is a matrix logic puzzle that I don’t want to play. I’m not saying that I could necessarily do it any better, but the smart minds at Apple may be assuming too much about how much the consumer knows and, more importantly, that the consumer knows exactly what they want. It is possible that many people have a clear notion of the specific Apple Watch that is best suited for them, but I’ve spoken to an awful lot of people who continue to express interest in the Apple Watch but aren’t sure why they need to spend anything outside of the entry-level price or why to get one version over another.

Finally, my other gripe is that Apple did not mention a peep about an expanding universe or available watch faces for download, or even Apps. Apple seems to be admitting that downloading apps to the Apple Watch is not something which is a major part of the experience for many users. Yes, they did focus on Pokemon Go and promoted the fact that they are working with Nintendo on new games, but not everyone wants to play games on their watch (or their phone, for that matter). If the point of the Apple Watch is to be about functionality and style, where is my ability to further customize the watch face?

Advertising Message

The partnership with Disney and now Nintendo feel like missed opportunities to create beautiful watch dials that people can download for free or at a cost. I would gladly spend a dollar or more to have a cool watch face that reminds me of an entertainment property I like or something a bit different than what comes stock on the device. Apple has made billions taking a cut of the money people dedicate to applications on the App Store, but that part of their strategy seems to be currently missing to a large degree in the Apple Watch.

At any time, Apple could easily change all that and suddenly announced that people can download Apple-authorized watch dials for the Apple Watch, but now two years after its initial launch, there are only a handful more watch faces available for the Apple Watch than were initially debuted.


It isn’t as though there is no evidence that people want additional watch faces. There are literally thousands of available watch faces available for Android Wear and Tizen smartwatches available. The community that makes them is both dedicated and robust. There are even a slew of start-up companies whose entire focus is on making smartwatch faces. Apple has thus far totally neglected this area, and while I don’t think it will be forever, I see fewer reasons for them to refrain from creating downloadable watch faces than there are reasons for them to participate. Again, it’s just a matter of wait-and-see, as logic dictates Apple will eventually offer this type of experience for the Apple Watch – just not yet.

Advertising Message


Fitness First, Play Second, And Work Somewhere Else Down The Line

I’ve personally identified that the two most active users of the Apple Watch are fitness and activity tracking enthusiasts, and regular travelers. Some people I’ve spoken with claim to have only seen a scant few Apple Watches in the wild, but that hasn’t been my experience. Go to the gym here in Los Angeles or visit any airport and you see them in droves. I’ve mentioned before that, in my view, smartwatches are more readily being adopted by niche user groups versus the mainstream. That isn’t surprising or anything, but it is interesting to see how Apple is taking advantage of this knowledge.

Apple has been quite dramatically positioning the Apple Watch as a health and fitness device. Of course, this isn’t bad, but I only wish people actually exercised as much as Apple seems to portray them as doing. Apple focuses a little bit on getting people to be active in the first place, but right now is focusing a lot on people who have already made the decision to live more active lifestyles. The Apple Watch Nike +, for example, is all about runners – just runners. Now with built-in GPS, the Apple Watch Series 2 has a bit more independence from your mobile phone. With Apple Pay and GPS tracking, you can go out on a run, or jog, or just walk around and pretend to exercise, as many people in big cities do, and track your path as well as have the ability to buy a snack along the way without your phone or wallet.


GPS isn’t something new in a smartwatch, but it is new for Apple and it is an important step in the direction of “phone independence.” With that said, the Apple Watch is far from being able to operate on its own without a host iPhone device. That isn’t the point, however. The fact that Apple is specifically catering to specialized fitness communities is the point. Apple actually wants people to wear the Apple Watch while moving around and exercising because the data it is collecting is extremely valuable. Not just to the people wearing the watches but to Apple. I don’t mean this in some type of nefarious “they are selling your data” sense, but rather that Apple is genuinely trying to make conclusions about human behavior, health, and society based on this data. The result, in my opinion, is a future where using “big data,” companies like Apple can work in tandem with healthcare providers to not only offer specific healthcare feedback to individuals, but to make broad conclusions about living better, which it can then apply to suggestions for people on what to do with their lives in order to feel better and be more healthy.


If that all sounds a bit Big-Brother, then I guess it is, but I am willing to exchange some relatively meaningless personal activity data in exchange for a future where humans are a bit more aware of how to live healthy lives. Better living through data, right?

It felt as though a majority of the Apple Watch Series 2 presentation focused on something related to fitness, even if the Apple Watch Series 2 (other than native GPS tracking) isn’t actually able to collect any type of new or enhanced activity or health data. The takeaway message for me here is that Apple knows a lot of its customers use the Apple Watch for fitness needs, that this category leads to a high level of consumer satisfaction, and they are trying to further penetrate a market that they are already successful in.

So what does that mean from the perspective of pretty much all other types of lifestyle activities. Other than being a useful “always on the correct time” travel companion, smartwatches in general haven’t found a huge amount of adoption by other groups, and I think Apple is actually waiting for application developers to help in this area. Perhaps the only other area where people might use the Apple Watch is gaming, but I take personal issue with that as I feel that most casual gaming is less about “making time” and being productive, and more about immediate satisfaction and time distraction. I grew up in what I feel was the golden age of video games, and the stuff people get hooked on today is often both derivative and intellectually stimulating, in my opinion.

If people want to use something as magical as a smartwatch to play simplistic computer games (that at best encourage them to walk around – as though that were the only good incentive), then it isn’t going to be something I personally promote. While I risk sounding crotchety and unhip speaking negatively about mobile gaming, I do feel that given my standards, these games are hardly interesting or worth the alternative of doing something like… well, being productive.


Where Apple and others still haven’t found an overwhelming amount of success seems to be in positioning smartwatches as productivity tools. I suppose that travel and wrist notification alerts do relate to work, but I’m not sure that Apple has at this point cracked the code of how to make the Apple Watch an indispensable item for today’s enterprising business professional. It isn’t that they aren’t trying. The ability to use Siri right on your wrist and to theoretically handle notifications much more quickly should help, but I think there is a sex appeal issue in that people might not feel a smartwatch conveys the particular type of message of status or success that they want with their more formal office attire. That’s just a guess, but it is true that Apple spends more time talking about how the Apple Watch is a good toy for play versus a useful tool for work. Again, that is just a developing area for the Apple Watch, and an environment that I am sure Apple and third-party Apple Watch software developers will continue to look into.


A Matrix Of Apple Watch Prices

Starting at $269 for the 38mm ($299 for the 42mm), the Apple Watch Series 1 in aluminum is at a new low price for the original Apple Watch (with the new twice-as-fast S2 processor). The various colors of the Apple Watch Series 2 in aluminum are priced at $369 in the 38mm-tall case and $399 in the 42mm-tall case. The same prices will get you the Apple Watch Nike + which has some special straps and software. In steel, price for the 38mm Apple Watch Series 2 is $549 and $599 for the 42mm model on the Sport Band strap. Prices for the various (non Hermes) leather straps with the Apple Watch Series 2 watch in steel will run from $649 – $749. Steel metal bracelet options with the Apple Watch Series 2 watch will range from $649 – $1,049. The Apple Watch Hermes Series 2 steel watches with a range of Hermes strap styles range in price from $1,149 – $1,399. Finally, the Apple Watch Edition in white ceramic in the 38mm case is $1,249 and for the 42mm case it is $1,299.

Advertising Message

Subscribe to our Newsletter