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5 reasons NOT to buy an Apple Watch!

10 Mar 2015

Should you buy an Apple Watch or not? I have to admit that I am excited about the launch of the Apple Watch, even though it appears almost two years later than I originally predicted. I love gadgets and I love data and the watch will surely be a gadget and will help to collect a lot of data. But before we all get ready to go stand in line to buy one, it might be worth considering the reasons why you might NOT want to buy one.

When it comes to gadgets these days — that can practically tweet your doctor when they sense you’re coming down with a cold — I think it pays to look at both the pros and the cons of being an early adopter. And for me – I’m afraid – the cons slightly outweigh the pros at this point.

Here are my top five reasons for NOT buying an Apple watch (yet):

1.     A lot of sensitive data in the hands of a commercial giant. Of course, I’m a data guy, so my first question is this: would we really be happy with a corporation collecting and storing so much personal data – activity levels, geographic position, calorie intake, heart rate, sleep data etc.? Is it really clear who owns and can access our data? Do we really trust Apple and Apple’s systems to be hacker proof?

2.     Features (or lack thereof). Let’s be honest: What a smart watch really does at this point is tell you to look at your phone. I have no doubt that as the technology develops, the uses and usability will grow, but for now, it’s a bit of an expensive status symbol for early adopters. And speaking of status symbols…

3.     It won’t replace your Rolex. For lots of people, the watch they wear is a status symbol. Especially men who sport luxury watches become a part of a sort of brotherhood of the successful and well accessorised. The Apple Watch is not likely to buy you into that club any time soon. And people who are already accustomed to wearing their status watch are not likely to down-trade, no matter how sleek the design or cool the image.

4.     You don’t necessarily want to be an early adopter. Remember the first iPod? Compare that to the latest generation iPod Touch, or even the iPhone — they’re like two completely different products. When the first iPhone launched, there was no app store, so it couldn’t do a whole lot other than look super cool. Smart watches are no different. If they catch on, they’ll get better and better, and the improvements will come quickly. You don’t necessarily want to be stuck with a $300 first gen model when the much faster, cheaper, better models start rolling out.

5.     You already have something better. It can tell the time, give you directions, track how many steps you take, and make phone calls. And if you really want to, you can buy a smart armband to track your body functions. Your smart phone is about a thousand times more powerful and more useful than any smart watch at this point, so you might be better off just sticking with that — for now.

I am all for gadgets but I want them to primarily be useful not just look cool. If I had to make a prediction, I’d guess that smart watches will develop at least one amazing application that will soon convince me to buy one, but until then I will stick to my phone.

Bernard MarrFounder and CEO, Advanced Performance Institute, is a globally recognised expert in business data. He helps companies improve decision-making and performance using data.