10 Apple Watch Questions That Need Answers
10 Apple Watch Questions That Need Answers
by Don Reisinger
What Is Apple Watch's Long-Term Future?
Arguably the biggest question surrounding Apple Watch among both consumers and shareholders is what the long-term plan for the Apple Watch is. A smartwatch isn't necessarily a product the people will purchase and upgrade year after year. In fact, it's possible people hold on to the product for several years, like they do typical time pieces. For Apple, however, such a scenario would be troubling if it crimps sales growth and volume. Like the rest of the mobile device industry, Apple has built its business on planned obsolescence. Will the same scenario to play out with Apple Watch?
Will We See Apple Watch at Big Box Retailers?
Apple at its special press event would say only that customers would find its wearables at its own stores in the coming weeks. Apple did not say if it would be on sale at other stores, as the iPhone and iPad are. It would make sense for Apple to make its smartwatches available at third-party retailers, like Target or Best Buy or Walmart. So far, Apple hasn't said whether it will do so.
AppleCare+ Will Be There, but for How Much?
According to Apple, its customer service offering AppleCare+ will be free to Apple Watch Edition owners, but it's unclear how much it will cost for those who buy the standard model or the sport edition. AppleCare+ carries different prices depending on the product. So, Apple needs to tell potential customers in the coming weeks how much it costs to get higher-grade customer service support for the product.
What Should We Know About Supply?
Supply is obviously a major concern for Apple, but it should also be one for customers. If demand is strong, will certain editions be in short supply, or will Apple make enough available at launch time so anyone will be able to walk into a store and pick up a unit? Apple has kept its production plans close to the vest. But if the device is hard to come by at launch, that won't be well-received. Apple should inform consumers if it expects certain editions to be in short supply before preorder day so users can make decisions on what to buy and how much to spend.
Will Repair Costs Be Exorbitant?
Repairing the screen on an iPhone or iPad can be very expensive. But at least Apple provides pricing so customers know what they could expect if they don't properly safeguard their devices or if they are just unlucky enough to lose or break their devices. So far, though, Apple has not said how much it would cost to fix Apple Watch components, like the screen, the buttons or the wheel. It could be awfully costly to fix Apple Watch, but so far, Apple hasn't said just how expensive it might be.
What About All Those Third-Party Accessories?
The Apple Watch seems ripe for third-party accessories. Whether it's third-party straps, covers for the screen or charging adapters, Apple Watch would be an attractive target for companies trying to profit off the product. Apple, however, has only focused its accessories talk on its own offerings. Hopefully, that changes sometime soon.
How Much Storage Is Built In?
Apple has indicated that Apple Watch will ship with some built-in storage to allow buyers to start storing music and other content, but exactly how much is unknown. One recent report from 9to5Mac said that the device will have 8GB of storage and just 2GB of that will be usable for music. But Apple has not confirmed that report. Chances are that the company will announce that before launch.
What 'Select Retailers' Will Carry Apple Watch Edition?
Apple has said that its gold Apple Watch Edition will be coming to "select retailers." Exactly which retailers will be carrying those products, however, is unknown. Considering that the model starts at $10,000, it's likely that the device will be available in high-end luxury goods retailers or jewelry stores in addition to the Apple Store. But no retailer has come forward yet to say it will carry Apple Watch.
Is This Mainly a Ploy to Get Us to Buy More iPhones?
To provide full functionality, Apple Watch needs to be connected via WiFi or Bluetooth to an iPhone. So, it's not beyond the pale to ask whether Apple Watch is little more than a ploy on the company's part to get us to buy an iPhone. Presumably, nearly all Apple Watch buyers will be iPhone owners. If people are interested in an Apple Watch on its own but don't have an iPhone, Apple would double-dip and sell both products. It's a good deal for Apple, but is it a good one for consumers?
What's the Point of Buying One?
Apple failed to answer what might be the most important question: Why buy an Apple Watch? So far, smartwatches have proven to be niche devices, and no other device maker has demonstrated they have the potential to become huge mass-market products. Apple had a chance to answer that question at the Spring Forward event and gave it a try. But it still might be difficult for average consumers to determine why they need to pay hundreds (if not thousands) for a smartwatch that requires an iPhone to realize its full potential. Apple Watch is an interesting device on paper, but many are wondering whether, for once, Apple has failed to give consumers compelling reasons to buy it.