Has Apple Finally Become Too Elitist?

Help me with this folks: I need a reason to buy the Apple Watch.

Try as I might, I find no need, no real purpose, no compelling rationale to justify spending hundreds of dollars for a watch that really doesn’t do much more than look good.

I’m trying very hard here to talk myself into pre-ordering it when Apple starts taking orders on April 10.

But the Apple Watch, near as I can tell, is nothing more than a status symbol for those who think they are trendsetters.

Let’s start with these reasons against buying one.

It is ridiculously expensive. The cheapest model, called the Sport, sells for $349 for a 38mm model for skinny wrists; $399 for a 42mm model for thicker wrists. The stainless steel model is $549 for a 38mm model  and $599 for a 42mm model. Think that’s bad? A 38mm version of the Apple Watch Edition with a rose gold case costs $10,000. Move up to the 38mm 18-karat gold Watch Edition, and you’ll pay $17,000. There are also versions in between that cost $12,000 and $15,000. Seriously. Talk about conspicuous consumption. Talk about snobbery. Talk about greed and elitism and everything about Apple I hate.

People today don’t wear watches, anyway. I stopped wearing one abut two years ago. Don’t need to. My iPhone is always handy. My car has a clock. The office has a clock. I don’t think Millenials – always Apple’s target audience – wear watches, either. Will they buy the Apple Watch? Not in any big numbers, I predict.

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One new app will read your pulse through the watch. That’s nice if you work out and want know your pulse while on a run. But my cheap Timex has been doing that for a decade, albeit with a chest band.

The other apps also seem pretty superfluous. Does Apple think we’re really going to draw pictures on our watch? Tap out messages on our watch? Maybe once or twice, as a gimmick. But come on. Yes, you can call an Uber car with the Apple Watch. I live in Detroit. Do we even have Uber here? Does anyone really use it? Do most people even know what Uber is? Maybe in New York and LA they do. But in most places, I think not. Yes, you can open a hotel room lock with the Apple Watch. Locks used by one hotel chain. I’ve never heard a single person say they sure wish they could open a door with their watch. Oh yeah, you can use your Apple Watch for Apple Pay, to buy stuff. Just like you can do with your iPhone, which is probably in your hand or pocket anyway.

Then there’s the battery life. Apple claims it will get 18 hours. Wanna bet? Not with real use.  Not if you’re tweeting and Facebook updating and tapping out messages, reading news and sports scores and working with your watch apps. You are going to have to charge this bugger every single night. Do people really want to have another gizmo that has to be plugged in during off hours? I had the Samsung Gear watch a couple of years ago. It was a clunkier looking version of the Apple Watch. It alerted you to email and tweets and texts and gave your the weather report and stuff like that. I got so sick of charging it every night that I took it off after two weeks and never used it again.

No, friends, I cant find a reason to get an Apple Watch.

I’m still burned after shelling out $1,500 for Google Glass – the stupidest personal tech buying decision I every made.

I’m not going to do the same thing with the Apple Watch.

I bet I am not alone.


Posted in: Gadgets & Gear

About the Author:

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.
  • Trudy Williams Meyers

    Hey Mike even Kansas City has Uber…………you must have it. Would certainly rather use them than the cabs around here. Am disappointed I thought that you would get one……..so would learn even more about it and drool. My budget won’t allow me to. 🙁

  • shabba4detroit

    Mike, I am concerned about you being out of touch, as you are unaware of the presence of Uber in Detroit. It’s here and quite popular. If you drink, don’t drive. Call Uber instead.

  • Lewis M. (Bill) Dickens

    Since you are a lone wolf, precision doesn’t mean much to you Mike, but to some it is very important. Since this is the most precise watch in the world It’s worth something. I have a collection of watches and most are all incorrect. You can call and receive calls from the watch so that’s worth something. Certainly would make Dick Tracy proud but there will be so much more.

    We seem to have a generation that doesn’t care about time, they are sort of sloppy about it.
    When the Amiga came out it was and remained vastly superior to AAPL and MS for many years. The owner was stupid and ran it into the ground. But it showed the way. Brian Reed and i created an app which was a 2 way calendar. In the ensuing 38 years or so no one has come up with anything as good as it was. So coupled with the iCloud this could be magnificent. Keep a record of how you spent your time. Duuh?

    Plus you are unaware of the 141CX+ that was designed and developed by two guys who went to GMI and UofM. It’s the finest calculator in the world. Some say that it’s the real reason to have an I phone. Quick calculations on your watch if you forgot your iPhone? Do you use backup? I’m sure that Antonio will have it going despite the fact that Apple pretends that it doesn’t exist despite the fact that early on it was the #2 best selling app.

    I get it. Jony doesnt like the skins. Well, doing a non skeuomorphic design is easy.

    So rather than waste time digging around in your pants why not just rotate your wrist to see what’s up? It’s about ease just as the wrist watch superseded the pocket watch.


  • wgcarver

    Mike you hit the nail on the head but you didn’t know it. They problem is that you are not the target market for this watch. Timor a tech item. Look at the ads. How is it sold. Uniqueness. The rareness and purity of material. The craftsmanship of assembly especially of a woven metal band And a little eliteness thrown in for good measure. The technology is secondary to all that. The watch is beautiful. The watch is well crafted. The watch is made of valuable material. The watch is unique in design. The watch is jewelry. It’s marketed toward the Rolex and movado crowd, not us nerds. I believe that precisely because of this, it will be a successful run and nerds will scratch their heads wondering why. It also will bring the movado crowd and Rolex crowd that cares about this stuff into the Apple Store where they’ll find other unique well crafted items where technology is second to good design and walk out with the gold MacBook as an accessory.

  • Anon Knee Moose

    After owning an Apple Watch for more than a year, let me tell you why I like it.

    1. I’m old, and accustomed to looking at my wrist to find the time…
    I don’t like digging my phone from my pocket just to look at the time, especially when I’m seated. Not to mention it’s rude when in a theatre or other dark environment.

    2. I’m not mated to my cell phone…
    You won’t find my eyes glued to the screen 24×7, so my phone is usually in my pocket or, when I’m home, at a spot in the house where it gets the best cell reception. I never rush to look at the latest text or email I get. But when someone important texts or emails me, I want to know about it so I can decide whether or not I want to reply immediately. (In my life and at my age, the only people who qualify as that important are my children and grandchildren.) I also receive phone calls on it, which is about as convenient as it gets!

    3. I didn’t pay for it…
    My wonderful children promised it to me for Christmas before it was available for sale. Although I love gadgets, and have worked with computers since the 70’s, I’ve learned to never buy anything sight unseen. I also don’t install the latest release of anything. In the tech industry, being on the leading edge is also called “being on the bleeding edge”. So… I didn’t order it in advance, and I carefully studied the options before making my selection. I bought the cheaper aluminum version because: 1. It’s actually more durable and easier to care for than stainless steel. It doesn’t require constant polishing since it doesn’t have a shiny surface. 2. It’s lightweight. With a metal band, it still weighs less than a standard watch. Steel is much heavier than aluminum. Gold is absurd on so many levels I won’t waste my time even discussing it. 3. You can actually buy the silver colored watch with a black band if you go into an Apple store and ask for it. (no additional charge) Since the face is black, the black band looks better with it than other colors. 4. The price for stainless is silly, IMO.

    3. I exercise regularly…
    It tracks my progress and motivates me to move. Not to mention tracking my pulse throughout the day as well as when I’m exercising. IMO, this feature could be even more useful. For example, I’d like it to tell me when my heartbeat isn’t within normal parameters. I survived one heart attack, and would like advanced notice next time—just a clue would be nice. Lastly, having a phone in my pocket is impractical when exercising as I do. It slips out of my pocket and is too big to be on an arm band. I accidentally dropped a weight on it once, and would rather not do that again, thanks.

    4. It’s not intrusive…
    With my phone on silent, I can’t feel it vibrate when in my pocket. With my Apple Watch on my wrist, I’ve never missed a phone call or important message, even on silent.

    5. I can tell the time in the dark!
    Even with a luminous dial, it’s virtually impossible to tell the time on a standard watch when it’s dark. As I mentioned earlier, it’s rude to pull out a big bright phone in a dark theatre or other similar situations just to check the time. It’s no problem to raise my watch to my lap to check the time without disturbing anyone.

    6. Lots of inexpensive options…
    Since Apple sold millions of these things, there are lots of inexpensive aftermarket bands and such. As long as you do your research, you can find a whole lot of nice bargains on the web, including cases to prevent scratching the face when you bump into a wall. (I’ve ruined many watch crystals that way!)

    I’m sure there are things I’ve forgotten to mention, but I still love my Apple Watch. Every night I charge it next to my cell phone. It rarely gets below a 50% charge anyway, so for me the battery is plenty big.