The Apple Watch SE is the ultimate microwave oven
Is the SE the most important watch in the world today?
We found evidence that most countertop microwaves sold in the US are manufactured by just one company, Midea. We confirmed with Midea that it makes and sells Toshiba, Comfee, and Black+Decker ovens. We’re also confident that GE, Whirlpool, Sharp, Breville, Insignia, Magic Chef, Hamilton Beach, and others also sell microwaves that were originally built and probably designed in large part by Midea, though all parties that we contacted declined to comment. But here’s why we think Midea is the original manufacturer... More here.
Interesting stuff and the microwave situation reminds me of Nespresso coffee machines in the UK. They are basically all the same beneath the hood, but you pay more depending on the design, exterior materials and brand. A sales / manufacturing setup that was used extensively for music players a few decades back- I remember stories of certain brands like JVC selling higher-end players for much more money than related brands which looked cheaper on the outside, but which had the same internals.
After playing with an Apple Watch SE for the past week I am getting the same vibe when I compare it to my Apple Watch Ultra, and previous watches such as the series 7, 6 etc.
Many writers have stated that the SE is by far the best value in the Apple Watch range and I now understand why. Take a look at the image above and my unprofessional annotations showing the differences between the SE, series 9 and Ultra. There is no way that the costs make sense in any logical way and crucially you are not paying extra for the look of the watch because to most people all Apple Watches look the same. They are so commonplace that they have no visual impact anymore and if you are not a big person the Ultra will make you look like Ben 10.
The SE offers everything the (much) more expensive models do apart from ECG and Blood Oxygen and even those two features are debatable. If you need an Ecg you are likely better off getting a proper one done and my testing with Blood Oxygen on the Apple Watch has proved that a small amount of money on a finger monitor makes much more sense.
You will get a better chip on the series 9 and Ultra, but the SE is super quick anyway. You get 100 metres of water resistance on the Ultra, but 50 metres is doable on the series 9 and SE. Temperature sensing is useful for half the population potentially, not on the SE, and the same battery life appears on the series 9 and SE. The pricing makes little sense in terms of the specifications and even less so when you try the SE.
What has surprised me the most is the sense that the SE feels so well made and how it wears identically to all other Apple Watches (bar the Ultra of course). It has 95% of the features the Ultra has and everything 95% of people need on their wrists. It genuinely feels premium when worn and if anything it makes the series 9 and Ultra look overpriced. Apple has said the quiet bit out loud with the SE because it is so similar to the pricier models and I for one was shocked by what £249 (44mm model) would give me. Shocked to the point that I am selling my Ultra and will be wearing the SE from now on.
Part of that decision came from wearing a real watch on my left wrist which makes the Apple Watch a fitness tracker and not much else, but mostly it is down to the money and the obvious value contrast between the two. To buy an Ultra over the SE would be to concentrate on gimmicks apart from the much better Ultra battery life, and if the better battery is worth £550 to you that also makes little sense.
The Apple Watch has little heritage and is not an accessory which completes the argument that buying the cheapest version makes the most sense, but perhaps the SE is much more important than most of us have realised.
£219 (40mm version) is a small amount of money in the watch world. You can spend a lot more than that on a sh*t fashion watch which only tells the time, badly, and five times as much on a still not very well made watch which will only give you a few years of use. If I was 20 years old and wanted a watch today, the Apple Watch SE offers so much for such a (relatively) small amount of money that it makes it the only choice.
Potentially, the SE could be looked back on in a decade as a pivotal part of the decline of non-luxury watches and the start of Apple growing even bigger over the next few years. This is possibly the first time I have been able to write that Apple has created one of the best value products within a specific market, but that is exactly what it has done with the SE.