so far, bloggers and self-aggrandizing industry “experts” have unanimously proclaimed the Apple Watch to lack a killer app… the imaginary tool or function that makes it a “must have” gadget. sorry folks, but it’s not coming. ever. at least not a single, universal capability that sends everyone out to wait in line on launch day.
realize the Apple Watch was purposely designed to be useful to a small few. it was expressly designed for the person whose notifications pane is so overwhelmed, their iPhone becomes a real obstacle when trying to maintain interaction with others on both a social or personal level. activity monitoring is purely a secondary function, one that can never be truly great because the device is a watch that’s worn on one’s wrist. until there’s a technological breakthrough on the horizon, all wrist-based activity monitors will fail to be more than a glorified, wrist worn pedometer.
that said, the killer app is actually the product of its design: the easily replaceable bands and straps. like few other smart watches currently available, the Apple Watch features easily swappable bands of common proportion. using a standard 24mm width for the 42mm Apple Watch and 22mm for the 38mm version, bands of all different materials and styles can be found in abundance, especially if you’re handy with a micro screwdriver and spring bar pry tool.
Apple’s selection features a majority that are priced prohibitively for most of us, leaving shoppers with a single style in an array of colors. for example their link bracelet, although beautiful in both design and function, retails for $450 to $550, and varies based on your needed size and desired finish, be it brushed stainless steel or PVD space black. the latter commands a $100 premium over the former.
yes, Apple chose to use a proprietary connection format on its bands, but for very good reason. they created a system that’s easy to use but most of all is secure. wisely, they created an adapter that accommodates most any standard band of the necessary width specified previously. no, you can’t buy these adapters directly but third parties have managed over the past year to refine their designs, resulting in a high quality adapter that matches Apple’s in both finish and durability. plus, some have landed on a design that utilizes the watch world’s ubiquitous spring bar attachment system with the result giving your Apple Watch a sleeker look that works especially well with chunkier, padded leather straps.
going beyond the necessary to adapt a band of your choosing and you’re even slightly mechanically inclined, once you’ve installed the necessary adapters, there’s a world of buckles and clasps to choose from, easily swapped via spring bar, to create the strap combination you desire. with a $5 spring bar pry tool, you’re no longer limited to someone else’s “creations.”
when it comes to leather, specifically the thinner, softer types, a buckle can often do more harm than good over time as repeated wearings will overwork a strap at its weakest point: the pinholes. this can result in discoloring, fraying and cracking as the strap is constantly folded over and pulled on as you work it through the buckle. an available option is use of a deployment clasp; identical in concept to clasps on metal link bands, these are designed to clip semi-permanently to both ends of a leather or fabric strap. a push button release mechanism opens the strap enough to slide the watch over your hand and, unlike a traditional buckle, prevents wear on the strap itself.
so let’s talk cost. fashion is universal with prices to match but here’s a chance to get high-end looks at a fraction of the cost. because of Apple’s pricing structure on their bands and straps, many third parties are also pricing their options at levels their brand names haven’t yet earned. some iPhone accessory makers that have been in the business for less than 5 years and lack the cachet of truly premium players using bogus stories about the development of their products to justify a premium. take Nomad for example: they were born from a Kickstarter with an idea for a $10 stubby USB to Lightning cable that fits on your keychain. with Apple Watch, they quickly followed with Pod, a travel battery and charger Apple Watch. they also released Stand, a design that quickly became obsolete as it doesn’t accommodate WatchOS2’s Night Stand mode. also wanting in on the profits a line of Watch bands can deliver, they released a $130 leather strap along with a bogus backstory about its assembly by Italians with leather from European cows and fitted with your choice of custom, hand polished buckles. the reality is that they don’t even use authentic Apple band adapters. the raw deal is the fact that you can buy the exact same bands, fully assembled with the same stamps and markings on the underside of the leather, off Amazon for under $20. another $12 will get you the same third-party band adapters to fit the strap to your Apple Watch. yes, the market for Apple Watch straps and bands features a lot of wannabes and hooligans out there, not trying to simply make a buck, but are straight lying and ripping people off.
so do yourself a favor: put in literally 10 minutes of extra effort and make your Apple Watch truly yours while saving yourself hundreds. just one of those $130 rip offs from Nomad can afford you 3 or even 4 bands of different style to match your mood or wardrobe. so what’s Apple Watch’s “killer app”? it’s the first Apple product that’s truly customizable to fit everyone’s taste. and when I say everyone, I mean the 5% who need the watch and the rest of us who just want one.