As with past products, Apple is once again offering a pre-order window for the Apple Watch. Starting sometime in the wee hours of April 10th, we’ll witness the symbolic closing of the Apple Store, only to open a few hours later filled with new products for sale. When it comes to iPhones, pre-orders are a fantastic way to get your ideal iPhone. Just enter your cellphone number, check your eligibility and you’re set. That’s assuming that in the previous years time, you’ve settled on a color and storage size. Though with the iPhone 6, there was no good decision but to upgrade to the 64GB model. Yes, I’m still bitter about Apple’s insistence on shipping 16GB models in the year 2015. The only real major sticking point when choosing an a new iPhone 6 was whether you wanted a human sized phone or the iPhone 6 Plus. There are no storage capacities to worry about with the Apple Watch (there is local storage, but you cannot upgrade by spending more). That being said, it’s the most personal device ever released by Apple and that’s because you wear it. An iPhone usually resides in your pocket or purse. Considering a good number of folks use a case, the color is less of an issue. The Apple Watch is an entirely different animal, one that you’d be wise to shop for in-person, while bypassing the convenience of the pre-order process.
No one size fits all
It’s bizarre, but the iPhone is responsible in part for people no longer needing or wearing a watch. The classic timepiece had been a one-trick pony and the iPhone has proven itself to more than capable to tell time and the date. Less and less of us are wearing watches, since there hasn’t been that need. We’re jumping into the age of smartwatches, so it’s time to strap on a device.
The Apple Watch comes in two distinct and vastly different sizes. You can opt for either a 38mm or 42mm version. We’ll explore this in more depth in a future article, but there’s lots to consider when making this choice. For one, this a a screen that will provide you with information and that you’ll be interacting with. If you have larger hands, tapping on the smaller of the two screens might be troublesome. A second consideration is the size and appearance. Some have suggested the 38mm is for women and men should opt for the larger 42mm. These are at best, generalizations that you’re better off disregarding.
The Apple Store app has a nifty feature that will let you view the actual size of the two models. Place your iPhone over your wrist and you’ll have a sense as to what might work. Unless you have a 3D printer at home and the plans, this is hardly a great way to get a feel for either. There is no substitute for wearing one on your wrist.
When you first view the three different Apple Watch models, the first thing that jumps out is the price. Staring at a very palatable $349, you can easily work your way up the pricing ladder. For the crazy ones, that’s $10,000 and up. For most, the decision lies between the Apple Watch Sport or the most inexpensive model and the step to Apple Watch. That gets you a stainless steel watch case and a more scratch resistant surface. The cheapest Sport model comes with a fluoroelastomer bands. When was the last time you wore anything made from fluoroelastomer? Point being, you’re going to wearing this watch each and every day, save for the time it’ll be on its charger. In a worse case scenario, you could purchase a watch band to your liking. When you add things up, you’re not getting near the value on your investment.
Let’s say you buy the basic watch for $349 and you’re not thrilled with the band. The 38mm classic buckle is $149, putting your out-the-door cost at $498. That same band is available in the stainless steel model for $649. That brings the difference between your two options to $151. Granted you don’t get the sport band, but it’s easier to justify the step up to the stainless steel and a more scratch resistant sapphire crystal display cover.
When a pre-order makes sense
There are some cases where a pre-order makes sense. If you have lukewarm feelings about the Apple Watch, but your gadget lust is in high gear, you might be unlikely to stray from the Apple Watch Sport. Setting a budget for the watch isn’t a terrible idea. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and this author is certainly quite good at justifying technology purchases. The stainless steel model will last longer. The link bracelet will go better with my fashion style. I could go on, and on. You should also feel comfortable going this route if you are comfortable returning and/or exchanging products. It’s been my experience that Apple is great about returns, provided your product is in the same condition as when you left the store.
April 10th is coming. That’s when you’ll be able to pre-order your Apple Watch. This is a product unlike any in Apple’s history. It’s their most personal device yet. There are so many choices. Size, material and costs all play a role, making it difficult to buy before you try. This time around, you might want to circle April 24th and skip the pre-order frenzy.