An Apple Watch On The Side?

I was just sitting at home thinking about stuff… like laptops, and desktops, and iPhones, and Watches and iPads and well all of it really and thinking about how we view the ROI/value proposition when we start the process of considering a purchase.

We all love our Apple gear, and we accept that such quality demands a good price and we tend to accept that. I paid over £1000 for my MacBook Pro i7 - but years of experience with Macs have taught me that a good Mac will last me a good number of years (maybe 5 or so) - and it can then be handed down and give a few more good years service. Every time I have “cheaped out” and bought a “value” laptop in the £300-£400 range it has ended up dead, broken or otherwise “poorly” inside 2-3 years and it was always a let down. Overall I don’t think we have a problem expecting a Mac to last us many years, certainly longer than any likely finance deal we might take out in order to purchase it… and we also know that the Mac will still have a reasonable resale value when we come to move on to a newer model (not everyone out there feels they have to be on the “bleeding edge”).

In my household our first, and until very recently only, iPad was the basic iPad 2 and it cost about £400 and it is still going strong. Recently my wife bought herself an iPad Mini 2 for £250 (because she was sick of trying to track down the iPad and pry it out of the kids hands) and if that has a similar working lifespan then that will also be a damned good return in my opinion.

And then there are the iPhones… I admit to paying £450 for my first iPhone - because that was the only way to get one and I always hated every other mobile phone I had ever owned. After that they cost me less and less up front as the carriers either subsidised the purchase to attract/retain customers or just worked them into the cost of the contract. I am now on the 6 having had the iPhone, the 3G, the 4 and the 5… and I consider what I pay to be reasonable for what I receive in return.

The thing with a phone is we tend to accept that although there will be nothing wrong with it we will trade it or otherwise replace it in about 2 years... because (here in the UK at least) the true cost of the phone is masked in the service charges. I am pleased to note that of late however some providers are now stating in their literature exactly what they are charging per month for the phone, and what they are charging for service. Even so we tend to think of it as buying a service... and a regular replacement phone is a part of that service for a large percentage of us. So we accept that in reality the phone is not a cheap item, but we don’t fund it in the same way and we don’t think about it in the same way. Of course the fact that a 2 year old iPhone is still a perfectly resalable item or makes a great “hand me down” for someone is just a bonus for many of us.

And now we have the Watch… and it isn’t a cheap gadget. I like the idea and I would dearly love one. But my experience of NOT buying the original iPad tells me I should hold out for v2. Besides that I can’t afford or justify the cost right now; no matter how much I would like one.

With a gadget costing that sort of money I would be wanting it to give me at least an iPad type of lifespan. Perhaps 5 good years of use, a watch isn’t a phone and at the moment I for one would not be happy with something that cost £300-£500 every couple of years. 

But here is a thing - you need an iPhone to use the Watch and after a while people may start to think of the iPhone and the Watch as a tied pair. When that happens how do you drive “mass adoption” amongst those that can’t or won’t pay out £350 and up for a “watch”. Unless its getting subsidised somehow... Can we see carriers offering contracts on an iPhone and an Apple Watch as a paired deal? Would you pay maybe 50%-100% more on your phone contract to get an Watch chucked in on the deal? Do you think I am crazy? Or do you think, perhaps in a year or so, carriers will be offering deals on an iPhone with an Watch as an enticement? Or an Watch as an optional extra on the contract?

Simon Parnell