For a couple of years I have been reading about smart watches, in anticipation of one day owning the Holy Grail of smart watches, the iWatch. One morning in September 2014, I woke up very very early to watch the Apple Event in which Tim Cook and team announced what the called the Apple Watch. The name change was the first thing that planted a seed of doubt in my mind. Why Apple Watch – they have iMac, iPad, iPhone, iPod…so why not iWatch? It’s just wrong to drop the i. However there were other things that made me reconsider a purchase of the Apple smartwatch:
- Price. The cheapest model is going to sell for US$349 which is around NZ$460. Add GST onto that and you’re looking at a spend of $538. That’s a lot of money for a watch. I haven’t worn a watch in years and don’t want to spend that kind of money if it turns out my wrist freaks out at having something strapped to it.
- Availability. It’s due out in early-2015 in the United States. Well, it’s very early 2015 now and I haven’t seen any update on how soon we can expect the watches to be on sale, or even to preorder. I think Apple were pushed into announcing their contribution to the wearable market long before they were ready, hence the long gap between the announcement and the availability. The last I read, the Apple Watch won’t be available until April.
- Functionality. I’ve been comparing the Apple Watch with it’s competition. There are a few options for Android users but for Apple users there is 1 watch (Pebble) and 1 band (Microsoft band) plus an assortment of almost unheard of options like the Cookoo and the Martian. I keep coming back to what the Pebble will offer me in terms of functionality, style and battery life compared to the Apple Watch. I could buy 5 Pebble smartwatches for the price of one Apple Watch and if I didn’t like it it’s not a huge deal and I could probably on-sell it easily anyway.
So, last night I took the plunge. I was in the movies, my cellphone was turned off and I was without wristwatch. Even though it was a good movie, I still wanted to know the time. Yes, I could have worn my Casio Baby G, but a Pebble smart watch offers me so much more. Such as:
- custom watch faces. I’ve already been trying out some Watch face Generators and glanced at some tutorials showing you how to programme your own watch face. There could be some income generation in there for me.
- loooooong battery life – like 5-7 days between charges. The Apple Watch at the moment seems to need charging overnight. I’m not happy with that.
- Apps. It comes with a stack of Apps such as Movable that turns it into a pedometre, fitness tracker, etc., Twitter and Facebook updates, Pebblets for RSS feeds and the weather, PebGPS for the next time the Wellington streets confuse me, Presenter Wireless for controlling my slideshows next time I speak at a conference, Pebble Snap to remotely control the camera on my iPhone. And, it will tell me the time on sunny days (no bother with glare on the Pebble screen) and in the movie theatre with the Motion Blacklight enabled.
- Platform compatibility. At the moment I own an iPhone 5s but if I ever switched to Android the Pebble can be reprogrammed to work with an Android phone. I don’t expect an Apple Watch will ever work with an Android phone. The only reason I can think of at the moment for a switch to an Android phone will be if Apple continue making larger phones. The iPhone 5S is perfect sized for me. The iPhone 6 is similar in size to the Galaxy S3 I use for work. It’s a nice phone but too big to hold comfortably (it might be OK in big man hands) and very bulky in a pocket. The Apple iPhone 5S fits in my hand and most pockets comfortably and I hope smaller sized iPhones will return in future, although I’m expecting to me using my 5s for quite some time yet. It’s a beautiful quality phone and I take good care of it so hope it won’t putt out the way my Android phones always have.
- Reputation. The Pebble has been around for 4 years now and is still going strong. I won’t be buying a brand new product but one that is tied and tested. I might still get an Apple Watch one day…but version 2.0 perhaps.
So, last night I ordered my Pebble Smart watch and it would be here in 3-5 business days. it has now been 1 business day and it’s still “In Processing” so I’m thinking perhaps 4-6 business days. I hope it won’t be longer considering I paid an extra US$25 for shipping. There is free worldwide shipping but that takes ‘several weeks’.