The Apple Watch rather than fill a niche provides a fifth screen. According to Wikipedia the four first screens are the cinema screen, the television screen and the mobile phone and tablet screen. The fifth screen is the smart watch as designed by Apple, Samsung, Sony and others.Â Apple and others have designed phones that bring the mobile phone experience to the wrist.
Suunto, Garmin, Fitbit and other brands fill the wrist worn niche effectively because they have designed devices with energy efficient displays that provide tracking whilst at the same time giving extended battery life.
Extended battery life in use
Health trackers by fitbit and other companies have been designed to last for a week or more whilst tracking movement 24 hours a day. Suunto, Garmin and other brands have designed watches that can track activities for hours or even days before they need charging.
Long stand by time
When not in use all of the devices mentioned above can last for weeks. In the case of the Suunto Ambit two I have found that it loses one percentage of charge per day. As a result of this it can be used as a watch for three months before I need to think of charging.
All of these tools are for collecting data about the routeÂ you took, the intensity of the exercise tracked, heart rate and complementary information. When synced on the computer or website a lot of information is presented. Garmin syncs with Runkeeper, Strava, Garmin connect and other services, Suunto syncs with Movescount and Strava intuitively. Fitbit syncs with the fitbit site and other fitness apps. The most interesting data is analysed on a computer rather than the wrist unit. This leaves the device to track information cost effectively, where cost is battery life, and effective is defined by how long you can track an activity.
My passion for “smart watches” stems from scuba diving. I bought a Suunto D9 to track dives and loved taking dive data and analysing it in view of improving my diving ability. I tracked training at the gym, hiking and other activities with various phones and their weakness was battery life. When you go for a hike in the mountains, go for a via ferrata or do a number of other sporting activities for extended periods of time you want a device that can last as long as you do.
Suunto’s Ambit 2 filled that need very well, so well that I upgraded to the Suunto Ambit 3. As an android user I can’t Â take advantage of all the features yet but that will come soon, this month in fact.
The Apple Watch does not fill any of the requirements I have listed above and for this reason I am not tempted. I see it as a fifth screen that does not fill a niche. Fitness trackers, fitness watches and other devices cost the same price or less and fill niche requirements effectively. Why would I want a gimmick?