Feb 18, 2015

4 reasons you don't have an Apple Watch yet

Behind the years of delays that will finally end soon

The Apple Watch is coming. Finally.

Starting in April, you’ll finally be able to buy the elusive smartwatch, first announced at a September event perhaps most remembered for a U2 performance.

It hasn’t been easy road for Apple  AAPL 0.09%  to actually get the product around consumers’ wrists, with roadblocks seemingly delaying the release at every turn. Apple has actually been developing its smartwatch for nearly four years, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal.

Here are a few of the reasons you haven’t been able to show off your new Apple Watch to jealous friends and family yet:

  • No one quite knew what it should do. The Journal story notes that, unlike previous Apple products, there wasn’t a clear-cut reason consumers should want the Apple Watch. It doesn’t offer revolutionary music storage like the iPod, or make web browsing easier like the iPad. Plus, it needs to be near an iPhone, a device that already performs a lot of tasks pretty darn well, to use most mobile services.

  • Features didn’t work the way they should. Apple wanted the Watch to be an all-encompassing health monitor, but some of that just didn’t work out. It was supposed to be a heart-rate monitor and measure stress, but results were skewed for people with hairy arms or dry skin. The sensors could also be thrown off depending on how tightly the device was worn.

  • Equipment delays. This is a more recent problem, which delayed the launch of the watch from early 2015 to its current planned release in April of this year. According to a MarketWatch report from late last year, Apple had trouble getting enough of the parts necessary to build the watch for launch. 

  • Potential regulatory issues. Apple also faced potential problems with a government agency they hadn’t dealt with before: The Food and Drug Administration. If the Apple Watch had given advice for health or diet based on the results of its biometric data, the Journal notes, the FDA and other regulators would have had to approve the device.