New Apple Watch: game changer or just expensive iCandy?

Photo Credit: MCT Wire Service

Allia McDowell, Staff Reporter

Apple, Inc. has a history of re-invention. From iPods to iPhones and iPads, Apple has an impressive track record of creating, or re-creating, technology segments with products that are enthusiastically embraced by the masses. This has driven Apple, as a company, to new heights of financial success as well. In January 2015, The Daily Mail cited the $74.6 billion profit generated by Apple in the last quarter of 2014 as larger than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the countries of Israel, Greece, and Denmark.

So, it’s no surprise that the technology world is anxiously anticipating the launch next month of Apple’s latest product: the Apple Watch. But, here’s the question: will the expensive Apple Watch be a runaway hit like its other products? Or, did Apple misjudge the potential for this category? Watches, after all, have been around since 1511.

“I would not get an Apple Watch if I had the option,” said junior Caitlin Delevie. “I have a few watches I love to wear, and the Apple Watch just seems like a waste of money. I love all the Apple products I have now, but I see no reason to get another one. The features are intriguing, but I am sure the next iPhone will be just as advanced, and I would rather wait for that.”

The features are certainly intriguing. First, the Apple Watch will do a lot more than tell time. It also gives wearers the ability to connect to other Apple devices and includes many of the connectivity options commonly found on an iPhone today, like the ability to check emails, send and receive text messages, and manage calendar dates.

But, the features of the Apple Watch that are gaining the most attention have nothing to do with communication or keeping time. The Apple Watch will be one of the first in a category being called ‘wearable technology.’ Wearable technology promises to benefit users by monitoring and tracking such things as fitness, health, sleep patterns, and heart rates. It even will offer options that can monitor real-time blood sugar levels, or alert you when you have been sedentary for too long. What Apple is hoping to achieve with the Apple Watch is the creation of a device users will adopt quickly, then not be able to imagine doing without.

This sort of flexibility and cutting-edge feedback is what appeals to potential wearers like senior Alex Griffin.

“I would like an Apple Watch because I really like the fitness features. I never know how much I run at soccer or how far I walk between my classes. It would be nice to be able to keep track of everything I do in a day,” said Griffin. Mercy girls walk a great deal during the day, just moving between classes, and the Apple Watch could calculate that distance as well as tell its user how many calories they burn. “It would be nice to have all the information right there when I need it.”

The Apple Watch promises to be revolutionary, but at a price. Starting at about $350 for the Apple Watch Sport and ranging up to $17,000 for the Apple Watch Edition, the device will be sure to leave wallets feeling lighter.

Another issue that is making some buyers hesitate is the Apple Watch’s need to be charged.

“I would not have the discipline to remember to plug it in every night,” explained Delevie. “I already have to remember to charge my iPhone and iPad before I go to bed. I don’t need another responsibility.”

Junior Zoe Menard agrees with Delevie. “I would not get an Apple Watch. It is so expensive and I already have my iPhone and my iPad. I really don’t think I need another Apple device that isn’t much different. Plus, I don’t see why a watch has to do more than just tell time.”

The Apple Watch will also include some communication tools that are unique to the device, like being able to record and send your heartbeat to someone, customizing a ‘tap’ sequence for each contact (taps on your wrist to alert you of a notification), or even the ability to sketch a drawing and send it to someone.

“If I had the money, I would love an Apple Watch,” said freshman Emily Engler. “I think the coolest feature is how it tells you when you have been sitting too long, especially because I sit through all my classes. I also like the new communication features like being able to send a drawing to someone. That is so much more fun than just sending a text message.”

The Apple Watch is available for purchase on April 24. Only time will tell whether this latest Apple product will be a success.