Is the Apple Watch for you?
It's fair to say that, until now, the jury has remained out on the topic of smartwatches. We've seen some brave efforts including Samsung (the strongly marketed Galaxy Gear brand), Motorola (the well-regarded and stylish-looking Moto 360) and Pebble (the indie pioneers we covered last issue). But in truth very few people have bought these devices.
Australians for the most part seem content with smart phones and dumb watches. Apple is hoping to be the first company to galvanise a change in this space, and given its success in manufacturing rampant demand for the iPhone and iPad, we'd have to say it's got as good a chance as anybody of making the smartwatch a mainstream must-have.
The Apple Watch, which has just gone on sale in Australia after years of speculation and rumour, looks fancy, fun and innovative. But it's not cheap, will require daily charging and ultimately its usefulness remains rather unproven. Is it time for the smartwatch? Put another way, are you ready for tech to be something you wear?
What is it? Apple Watch Sport (pictured) How much? From $499 Pros: In other areas "sport" branding can sometimes denote paying extra for bonus features but the Apple Watch Sport is the cheapest entry-level version of the device. It has the same technical specs as the other variants but is housed in a more affordable aluminium frame with plastic bands. It's bright and colourful and likely to be the most popular choice given the lower price. Cons: Funky but not as stylish as its pricier siblings.
What is it? Apple Watch How much? From $799 Pros: The mid-tier Apple Watch is made from stainless steel and features a sapphire crystal display. Like the other versions, it's available in two sizes at 38mm and 42mm. It is said to feature 8GB storage (not all user-accessible) with 512MB RAM, and is reputed to last an 18-hour day before requiring charging (with light to moderate use). Cons: You can customise your Apple Watch with a number of svelte bands but you'll pay for the privilege.
What is it? Apple Watch Edition How much? From $14,000 Pros: If there's a controversy surrounding the Apple Watch, it's the pricing of this upper-end model. The Edition starts at a staggering $14,000. But is that price truly so unfathomable? Well, yes and no. For a consumer electronics gadget, yes, but for a luxury timepiece made with 18-carat gold, it's not out of the ordinary. Cons: Remains unclear how Apple will address the impending obsolescence of the technical components inside the valuable exterior.