Where do you buy your Apple goodies? For me, it’s a combination of locations. Either the Apple Store nearby, or the Apple Store online. And Amazon. Why? Amazon is a good place for Apple accessories and I have half a dozen Apple Watch bands that are priced as much as 10-percent of a similar band at the Apple Store. I don’t mind Apple being profitable, but no matter how you slice it, money is an object.
For new Apple products, the Apple Store is hard to beat. From where I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan I see nearly a dozen stores on Apple and Google Maps, most a quick subway ride away, and a couple within walking distance. Those locations make it easy to check out the latest new products– including MacBook Pro, Apple Watch Series 2, or anything else that’s new– with some hands on time.
Recently, I came across another shameful example of misinformation on the misinformation superhighway from Matthew Miller, who writes for a major tech magazine, and who takes a contrarian view on far too much these days; views that move readers farther away from reality.
These days, we have far more fake news, fake outrage, and fake perspective than we need. Take the Ticwatch 2 as an example.
The wearable market continues to struggle and its tough to justify a smartphone companion priced at $350 to more than $1,000.
Now, I’ve read the so-called news headlines which say wearables are taking a bath, that barely 30-million have been sold, but that Apple has sold about half of them, and some makers– Pebble and Motorola– are exiting the segment. Yes, with 15-million or so sold, Apple Watch is a dud. Yet, far fewer Microsoft Surface PCs are sold and that’s a hit. And far fewer Amazon Echo’s have been sold, and that’s a hit.
See the problem? Oh, and Apple Watch, the industry leader, starts at $269, about $69 more than the Mobvoi’s Ticwatch 2 at $200.
Mobvoi’s Ticwatch 2 offers all you need, including GPS, music storage, a voice assistant, vibrant display, and heart rate monitor. At just $199.99 for all of this, it is the watch to get for those with any interest in wearable technology.
Wow. That’s an impressive list. What does it have?
- Processor: 1.2 GHz MediaTek 2601 dual-core
- Display: 1.4 inch 400×400 pixels resolution MOLED, 287 ppi
- Operating system: Android 5.1 with Ticwear OS layer on top
- RAM: 512MB
- Storage: 4 GB internal storage
- Wireless technology: 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1
- Sensors: Optical heart rate, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS
- Other features: IP65 dust and water resistant, integrated microphone and speaker
- Battery: 300 mAh battery with wireless charging dock
- Dimensions: 42 x 42 x 11.95 mm and 44 grams
Wow. Why would anyone buy an Apple Watch? Ticwatch 2 has everything and more but for much less. It runs Android-whatever but it also works with iOS. It doesn’t have as much storage as Watch, but water resistance is better than the entry-level Watch Series 0 (the original). Battery usage seems similar and it can track heart rate and stream music via Bluetooth at the same time.
What’s not to like?
If all you can afford is $200 then Ticwatch 2 may seem like a bargain, especially since it does not lock you into Apple’s ecosystem. Therein lies the rub. The ecosystem. Not only will you find far more accessories for every Watch model, you’ll also be able to see and touch a Watch at an Apple Store (and, there’s a generous return policy if you order online but can’t figure out how to use Watch).
Apple’s ecosystem is worth investigating, even if you’re of the Android persuasion. That Google Pixel smartphone? It’s not so easy to get someone to show you how to use. Folks at the Apple Store are willing to show you almost everything you need to know about any Apple Product. If you’ve got the time, they’ve got the time– if you can track down an associate. There are plenty, but those stores often are busy; especially at this time of year.
The Apple Store is part of the ecosystem which is the total that is greater than the sum of all the parts. It’s where you get quick and friendly service. It’s where you get some hands on time with new products. It’s where you get questions answered. It’s where you can return a product you don’t want.
Many people buy what they buy based on price, and at $200, Ticwatch 2 is priced about as low as anything called a smartwatch can go, but there are caveats when compared to Apple’s Watch ecosystem. Apps. Accessories. Stores. And with Pebble and Motorola out of the smartwatch business segment, one much consider how long Ticwatch 2 can survive, because it’s not likely to prosper and that’s what’s needed to make a newcomer a competitive player. That also separates the wannabes from Apple.
One other thing bothers me. Mobvoi, which makes Ticwatch 2, is a Google-funded and Kickstarter project. Google seems to want to own the low end of most Android products because a larger user base means more data collected, more advertising, and that’s where Google makes money, yet it reserves its own brand, Pixel, to compete with Samsung and Apple at the premium end of the spectrum.