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Need proof that Apple will unveil the its second-generation smartwatch at next week's product-launch event? Here it is:
For a limited time, and while supplies last, Best Buy has the refurbished Apple Watch (42mm stainless steel) for $199.99 shipped (plus tax). The last time I wrote about one of these, it was $269.99.
Apple is overdue for a Watch announcement, so Best Buy clearing out refurbs ahead of next week is all the evidence I need. That said, the Watch 2 will almost certainly have the same $349 starting price as the original did last year, so why not scoop up the latter on the cheap? A year from now, you can upgrade to the Watch 2 when it goes on sale. (You don't become a cheapskate by being an early adopter. You do so by adopting late.)
I'm an Apple Watch owner, and I find it useful for two things: telling me the time and relaying notifications from my phone. Everything else: meh. I don't use the fitness features at all (because I already exercise regularly), and I find most apps pointless. In fact, I'm pretty angry that Apple limits me to just a smattering of watch faces, most of them pretty dull. (Android Wear utterly destroys Watch OS in this respect.)
So why bother with this thing at all? Like I said: notifications. Although watches like the Martian Notifier and Pebble Time can deliver them as well, neither of those integrate as well (or as reliably) with iOS -- and neither make it as easy to kick back replies to text messages. Indeed, I love being able to reply using canned text, emoji or a dictated response. That's insanely handy.
As for the battery, well, you'll almost certainly have to recharge the Watch every night. (The same is true of most Android Wear products.) But this isn't the hassle I thought it would be; I just plop it onto its inductive charger on my nightstand. (If only charging an iPhone was that easy!)
Best Buy was briefly offering the smaller (38mm) Watch for even less, but those appear to be sold out. I suspect these will get snapped up quickly as well. If they do, don't sweat it -- once the Watch 2 goes on sale, we'll certainly see more deals on this model, and maybe even cheaper ones.
Giveaway! CNET's Brian Tong is celebrating the 400th episode of his Apple Byte show by giving away two Apple TV streaming boxes. You've got until September 8 to get your entry in, and that entry is little more than a form with your name and email address. You'll also receive a unique link you can share to score up to 10 additional entries per person who uses it. Hit the above link for all the details -- and good luck!