The Apple Watch is a “nice-to-have” accessory.
It’s not a “must-have” — yet.
That seems to be the takeaway from Monday’s Apple Watch event, when Apple made its big, best pitch to buy the new device.
(Apple Watch’s price ranges from $349 for the entry-level Apple Sport model to $17,000 for the high-end Apple Watch Edition.)
And the Apple Watch looks cool. It can take calls on your wrist. It can cycle through the music and emails on your iPhone. It opens hotel doors!
But when it came down to Apple’s closing pitch — that the device would improve efficiency, health, and fitness — a number of experts just weren’t buying it. So to speak.
The Apple Watch officially goes on pre-order on April 10, a month from today.
I talked to a half-dozen people in health care and tech to see if they were going to purchase the Apple Watch, and if they think it’s right for you.
Why you should buy the Apple Watch
1. If you need extra motivation to get moving
The Apple Watch’s simple killer app is that it tracks your movement and sends reminders, via both the on-screen display and haptic pulses, to get standing, walking, and exercising.
There’s also a perverse theory that the sunk cost of purchasing an Apple Watch is further motivation for would-be gym rats: You spent a couple hundred bucks to buy it, so you’ll be more likely to use it.
2. If you’re looking for a new way to be organized
Writer Farhad Manjoo made an interesting point in the New York Times: The Apple Watch is intended to “liberate” us from our smartphones.
That’s partly because of its nominal convenience; a few clicks on the Apple Watch could eliminate some of the emailing, texting, and music browsing that users normally do on their iPhones. But the device also might allow us to be slightly less socially awkward than when we stare at our phones, and better integrate technology into our days.
“I am definitely planning to buy an Apple Watch,” said Adam Powell, president of the Payer+Provider Syndicate. “I am attracted to its notification functions and have the desire to experience its use cases firsthand.”
3. If you’re in the industry
As Apple’s first new product line in five years, and with sales expected to top 10 million units in 2015, Apple Watch will be a hugely important platform for all developers — and especially firms in the health care and technology sectors.
“As a member of the Internet of Things (IoT) community, I will buy the Apple Watch since I want to try its features and experience it for myself,” says Masanari Arai, CEO of Kii, an end-to-end backend provider for mobile applications and IoT devices.
“It will also provide me with insights unique to the Apple Watch, so I can provide guidance to chip and device manufactures and allow them to work with Apple Watch.”
4. If you have disposable income, and need to be the trendiest Apple fanboy on the block
While sales may end up being mediocre, per Forbes‘s Parmy Olson, the device is definitely the must-have gadget of the year for Apple loyalists.
“I’m totally buying one, but not for any health reasons at all,” says Dr. Aaron Carrok, a health services researcher at Indiana University and co-editor-in-chief of The Incidental Economist blog.
“I need a watch and I like the cool stuff that comes with it!”
5. If you’re an early adopter
This almost goes without saying.
“The Apple Watch is on the cutting edge,” said Derek Newell, CEO of Jiff, which works with companies to improve benefit design.
“Of course, I’m buying one.”
Why you shouldn’t buy the Apple Watch
1. If you’renot interested in being an early adopter
The experts universally understood that the Apple Watch v 1.0 would be flawed, from limited battery life to a slightly blocky, imperfect design that should be revised in future generations.
But given the price point, tolerating these flaws probably isn’t for everyone.
“Today’s big reveal didn’t change my opinion on the Apple Watch, and you won’t find me in line to buy one at this stage in the game,” said Andrew Flanagan, CEO of Telcare, which specializes in mobile applications to treat chronic illness.
2. If you’re expecting groundbreaking health care improvements
The device’s lack of health care sensors is well chronicled at this point, but it remains incredibly important when you think about what the Apple Watch was hoped to do for patients versus what it actually does. And it’s made the Apple Watch somewhat of a disappointment to the health care industry.
“Right now consumers are clamoring for health care apps and devices connected to their professional care network, but the Apple Watch isn’t the answer,” said Telcare’s Flanagan.
“The Apple Watch is not ready to be used by the average patient,” said Kii’s Arai. “I also don’t see any features that are special to the Apple Watch, and not already included on the iPhone. However, future iterations of Apple Watch have the potential to appeal to the average patient.”
3. If you’re already pretty fit … and you’re reasonably price-conscious
Most experts thought you could get most of the same fitness functionality as Apple Watch with a less expensive smart watch or wearable band, like a FitBit. (And many workout warriors may not need an Apple Watch if they already have one of these devices.)
4. If you don’t have the money to spend
I was struck by Sean Hollister’s review of Apple Watch for Gizmodo, where he laid out the challenge of purchasing a multi-hundred dollar device based on a limited use case.
“If I can get things done quicker and more easily from my wrist, if it can save me time, I’d definitely consider shelling out,” Hollister wrote. “[But] personally, I’m not going to pay money to check my wrist just so I don’t have to check my phone.”
“The Apple Watch is an expensive fashion statement that I don’t see helping patients manage chronic conditions like diabetes,” adds Telcare’s Flanagan.
“Right now it’s an expensive App organizer and the bottom line is that Apple has major work to do in terms of security and FDA clearance.”
This article was written by Dan Diamond from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.