Ashleigh Allsopp at TechAdvisor:
I've been an Apple fangirl for several years now and never once questioned myself, but it was the launch of the Apple Watch that made me take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Many of my friends and colleagues were raving about the smartwatch, and making excuses for its poor battery life and extortionate price tag and it got me thinking for the first time ever that I'm never going to call myself an Apple fangirl again.
That's not to say that I don't like Apple any more. Far from it, in fact. I love my iPhone and despite using many different Android smartphones in recent months I've always been eager to go back to iOS. I also think the iPad is the best-looking tablet around and you wouldn't be able to convince me to go back to using a Windows PC.
But when it comes to the Apple Watch, I just get annoyed. Yes, it's good looking. I'm not going to pretend otherwise. But spending more than £299 on a smartwatch that'll be replaced within a year by something a thousand times better is something I just cannot justify. Worse still is the fact that there are smartwatches out there (and there have been for years) that can do a better job at many things than the Apple Watch can and for at least half the price.
I've got a lot of time for Ashleigh Allsopp of Macworld UK/TechAdvisor et al. and I'm a fan of her writing in general, but her recent rant on the Apple Watch — entitled 'Why I think the Apple Watch sucks and you'd be mad to buy one' — left a lot to be desired. I think it was ill-thought out, deliberately inflammatory and little bit clickbaity. So, ironically channeling my inner Macalope, I'm going to break her piece down a bit and see where we disagree (and I know, I know, that I'm only perpetuating the whole thing by replying to it at all).
Concerning the above, Apple Watch's battery life easily lasts a full day, from leaving your bed to getting back into it, judging by most early adopters' usage. I'd hardly say that's poor. Compared to the Pebble, yes, but compared to everything else, no.
Ashleigh's "extortionate price tag" being $349 on the entry level is $100 over what the most popular Android Wear smartwatch, the Moto 360, launched at last year. But Ashleigh makes no mention of the Apple Watch's much more advanced hardware (particularly on the health and fitness side) and how the fit and finish is much greater. If you opt for the more expensive stainless steel Watch (or the not-for-normal-people Watch Edition), you're straying into fashion territory and that's where prices creep up and they are admittedly expensive here. Unless you compare them to most traditional watch brands where Apple Watch isn't expensive at all even though it looks as good (to my eyes) and does way more.
We also don't know it is going to be replaced "within a year" by anything, never mind something "a thousand times better". Apple has in the past released version 2 products that were far superior to their predecessors — iPad 2 and iPhone 3G being the key examples — but the first-generations of those two products were nowhere near as good as the first Apple Watch is.
Also, good luck finding a better smartwatch for pairing with your iPhone.
This is the killer, though, for her 'think' piece:
Admittedly, I haven't spent loads of time with the Apple Watch. I wore it for one weekend and gave it back.
I've also never been its biggest fan. Back in February I wrote about how bored I was of the Apple Watch already, and that was before it had even been released to the public.
A weekend is not long enough to form these kinds of judgements on a product in this category. Heck, the first reviews that came out were evidence of that and most had spent closer to a whole week with the device. Apple Watch is a personal device, and it needs to disappear and become part of your life in order see where it is truly useful and where it is not. There are problems with it, areas for improvement, but these nuanced criticisms are not explored by Ashleigh as she hasn't really lived with the device she is talking about. Plus, it sounds to me like she had formed her opinions about the product long before she had chance to even try one out.
Ashleigh goes on to point to a ludicrous article from TechAdvisor's Matt Egan (that gets no link here) in which he names Apple Watch as the number one most useless gadget of all time. That is, before immediately leading with "Okay. The Apple Watch is clearly not the most useless product of all time" and proceeding onto a rant of his own. If this is supposed to add credibility to Ashleigh's argument, I'm afraid it has backfired.
As a final nail in her think piece coffin, she goes on to discuss the Pebble Time Steel — made of steel, don't you know? — and how it is cheaper than the Apple Watch, lasts longer on battery and works with standard 22mm watch bands. Great, except for the fact that its design is ugly, its build quality doesn't come close to that of Apple Watch (that steel is only the bezel, the rest is plastic) and its features are so much more limited. It's not even close, and I haven't read a review yet that says anything different. I haven't seen one in person yet, so I shouldn't pass judgement. But if Ashleigh can, then I suppose I can too.
This is all to say that, in essence, if you use an iPhone and want a best in class smart watch, you're going to want an Apple Watch. If you use Android, your options are more varied.
I don't have a problem with people not liking the Apple Watch — it's not for everyone. Mat Smith at Engadget had a great, thoughtfully considered write up on why he regretted buying the Watch. But rolling out the old trope that Apple was not first to released a product and that it is more expensive than the competition, as Ashleigh does in her post, is not a reason to say it "sucks". It also does not change the fact that many people do buy Apple products because they find value in them, they are worth it to them. If you don't think Apple Watch is worth it, don't buy one. Just don't try pass off your half-formed opinions as fact in order to get clicks.