Apple Watch Series 4 - final thoughts
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  1. #1
    Member stmcgill's Avatar
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    Apple Watch Series 4 - final thoughts

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    I feel like a man in 2007 who doesn't want to give up his basic Nokia phone. I can see the future coming and I don't want to admit that one day I may need a smartphone.


    The future will overtake me and I will own an iPhone or Android phone like everyone else and wonder why I ever thought my Nokia was enough for me.


    I kind of feel this way about the Apple Watch. I can see a time when it could be essential, when it could be a product group that is viewed as an oddity if you do not have one strapped to your wrist. With time and the advance of technology it is conceivable that smartwatches will offer so many benefits that they becomes a must have item, and at that point they will also become fashionable and potentially luxurious.


    It is hard to imagine at this time, that a device so small can be so essential, but open your mind just a little to consider the advancement of voice control, the miniaturisation of technology and the progression of power management, and it feels possible that the usefulness of such devices will outweigh the pleasure some of us get from mechanical timepieces.


    Balancing gaining pleasure from a mechanical object against the sheer utility of a gadget is not easy because it is like comparing oranges and bricks, but with only two wrists and the propensity to cover just one of them at a time, something has to give.


    While it is possible that a watch on one wrist and a smart device on the other could become normal, I suspect that will not happen. The inconvenient truth is that the smart one will make the elegant one feel redundant, even for those of us who love mechanical watches, and it will be a no-brainer for the rest of the population (98% minimum) who care little for watches.


    There is, however, a difference between watches and phones, and history cannot be a completely accurate guide here. No one had emotional connections, not strong ones, to their basic mobile phones. There is no sense of real history, no passing down through the generations and thus they are automatically replaceable. You will never see a vintage Apple Watch that is valuable or that can even be used in the future, and at no point will one ever be seen as an emotional object which is kind of strange for something you wear.


    I suspect that the Apple Watch, and the other smartwatches, have come along at the right time. In a moment when young people tell the time with their phones and when even many older people do not bother with a watch. The time is ripe for a new product category and those of us who love the tradition of mechanical watches are in the most minor of minorities.


    Onto the Apple Watch itself.


    I was hugely disappointed with the Series 4 at one point because of the battery, but that seems to have settled to the point that 45 minutes of charging per day will likely be enough to keep it running the rest of the time. It still irks me when compared to the likes of Fitbit and Garmin, but it is manageable.


    The Series 4 is a huge improvement design-wise over the previous four models and that screen matters more than you may expect for making touch points feel natural and for displaying the information you require without the need to squint. The way it hugs the wrist has been improved a great deal with a flatter sensor at the bottom, the Series 3 sensor lifts the entire watch from the wrist, and a more consistent form throughout.


    It is extremely fast, extremely convenient and for a variety of tasks could be considered essential. For runners who want music and podcasts on the move and who do not want to carry a phone with them, the cellular version will be close to perfect.


    For those who are new to fitness and who do not realise that Fitbit and Garmin do a ‘much’ better job in this area it could help them become much more healthy. And for those who for whatever reason find the iPhone impractical to use when working, the notifications and basic interactivity will feel more than a little useful.


    Apple has moved the Apple Watch up a huge notch with the Series 4 and it feels like the iPhone 4 to me. The sudden design change and extra usability will make it more appealing to more people, just like the iPhone 4 did, and look what followed. If the Apple Watch Series 4 is the iPhone 4 equivalent, I am very curious to see what the Apple Watch Series 10 will be.


    For the moment, however, it is still not for me and for two reasons. Firstly my love for mechanical watches which may be on borrowed time and secondly the fact that the Fitbit Versa, Ionic and various Garmin smartwatches are more practical on a day to day level, mainly because of the battery life. They most certainly have their faults, of that there is no doubt, but they have been designed to give the user what they need without the requirement to charge it too often and to mess about making it work how they need it to.


    I have moments of clarity where I just sit and think. Moments when I don’t want to be interrupted and just need to consider what happens next, and as silly as it sounds in those moments I like to look at my watch, play around with it and just enjoy it. The Apple Watch is not for those moments and it is not for people who want a zero hassle experience, and if they did want a smartwatch I would still have to recommend one that does not require a daily charge to get through the day.
    Shaun McGill
    Snowflakes & Shields
    -- Obsessed with time --


  2. #2
    Member BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Re: Apple Watch Series 4 - final thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by stmcgill View Post
    I was hugely disappointed with the Series 4 at one point because of the battery, but that seems to have settled to the point that 45 minutes of charging per day will likely be enough to keep it running the rest of the time. It still irks me when compared to the likes of Fitbit and Garmin, but it is manageable.
    The best way I've managed the battery life on my AW'es (first a first-gen, now a Series 2) was to keep the charging puck by my couch. When I'm just vegetating at the computer or TV (just the computer these days; we gave away the TV), I take off the watch and plop it onto the charger. It's often fully charged again when I get up later.

    That way, I can wear it overnight to use it as my alarm clock, and it almost never gets a chance to run down completely.

    The closest I've gotten to emptying the battery was an overnight bus trip when I wouldn't have the chance to sit down and charge it again until late the following evening. I finagled a way to charge it on the bus, but it was still vulnerable to dropping off the regular charging puck. It would have been much nicer to get one of those rare battery-and-charger travel cases.

  3. #3
    Member powerband's Avatar
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    Re: Apple Watch Series 4 - final thoughts

    I am more acceptance of the Apple Watch when I see it not as a watch but as a wrist-device.

    The adoption of a electronic wrist-device requires an abandon of a mechanical timepiece. The wristwatch as we know it for over a century represents not only mere hours of day but also perpetual sentimentality. The electronic wrist-device, however, offers something immediate—perpetual data—without any pretense for history or heirloom.

    If this difference is something we’re willing to acknowledge, then it is a worthwhile trade... a trade not necessarily permanent but perhaps just for 8 to 12 hours a day for one and then switched to the other for the remainder of the day.

    I now have a number of mechanical watches sitting in the watchbox, all drained of power reserve and awaiting that time when I (may or may not) take off the wrist-device to leave behind perpetual data for perpetual sentimentality.

    Again, I avoid seeing the Apple Watch as a watch but instead as a wrist-device. So far I am enjoying its presence on the wrist.




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  5. #4
    Member BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Re: Apple Watch Series 4 - final thoughts

    I opted to not wear mine today, mostly for a change of pace (since I wear it almost all the time) but also to give my Citizen a lot of sunlight since I haven't worn it in a while.

    While we were away from home, I missed score updates from my favorite college football team, but that's minor. More importantly, I missed some texts from our landlord, who wanted to stop by for a bit.

    It's genuinely difficult to stop wearing the AW when it's become so transparently functional. Even when I wear my regular watches, I look at their dial to see the day's weather forecast.
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    Member stmcgill's Avatar
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    Re: Apple Watch Series 4 - final thoughts

    With my first Apple Watch I thought it was me not being able to cope with charging every day and being too stuck in the notion of it as a watch. However, 4 years later I would expect that to have changed - the Fitbit's and Garmins can do it with ease and this alone was enough for me to return the series 4. 3-4 days battery and it would have something although the fitness software needs some work as well in my view.
    Shaun McGill
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  7. #6
    Member stmcgill's Avatar
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    Re: Apple Watch Series 4 - final thoughts

    It's never easy to swap between the two is it. I wear a Fitbit Versa all day at work and usually throughout the week, but some days I wear my Oris and a Fitbit Charge 2 on the other wrist. I sometimes lift my wrist far too high with the Oris just to check the time. I need three wrists:)
    Shaun McGill
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  8. #7
    Member edhchoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    I opted to not wear mine today, mostly for a change of pace (since I wear it almost all the time) but also to give my Citizen a lot of sunlight since I haven't worn it in a while.

    While we were away from home, I missed score updates from my favorite college football team, but that's minor. More importantly, I missed some texts from our landlord, who wanted to stop by for a bit.

    It's genuinely difficult to stop wearing the AW when it's become so transparently functional. Even when I wear my regular watches, I look at their dial to see the day's weather forecast.
    I check the weather a lot also.
    But I think that the watch fonts are too small to read comfortably for older generation.

  9. #8
    Moderator DougFNJ's Avatar
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    Re: Apple Watch Series 4 - final thoughts

    One thing I appreciate about this site vs others is the perspective you'll get from a watch guy vs the full on tech guy. I am in the middle of those.

    I can never get rid of my Mechanicals. They will always have their place in my collection just like me G-Shocks will. I easily get 2 days charge out of mine. I do find it funny that when I am wearing my Mechanicals, I periodically feel phantom taps on my wrist lol.

    I do wear my Apple Watch the most. I did also sell a good portion of my collection except my precious keepers because they will always hold sentimental value. I do not wander into the watch shops the way I used to. I wish Apple would strike deals with more manufacturers than Hermes. Who would love an Omega Apple Watch with customer Omega Faces and maybe special bracelet? I would love to have a Tag Heuer leather strap with a Monaco watch face.

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  10. #9
    Member stmcgill's Avatar
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    Re: Apple Watch Series 4 - final thoughts

    I have written for a few mobile tech magazines for the past 15 years and grew into my love of watches. It's fascinating to see where the two markets will go and how they will overlap. For me, the smartwatch is not useful enough to overtake my real watch, but my fitness tracker is indispensable so both wrists are covered at the moment. I wonder if one will be freed in the future...
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  11. #10
    Member BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Re: Apple Watch Series 4 - final thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by DougFNJ View Post
    One thing I appreciate about this site vs others is the perspective you'll get from a watch guy vs the full on tech guy. I am in the middle of those.

    I can never get rid of my Mechanicals. They will always have their place in my collection just like me G-Shocks will. I easily get 2 days charge out of mine. I do find it funny that when I am wearing my Mechanicals, I periodically feel phantom taps on my wrist lol.

    I do wear my Apple Watch the most. I did also sell a good portion of my collection except my precious keepers because they will always hold sentimental value. I do not wander into the watch shops the way I used to. I wish Apple would strike deals with more manufacturers than Hermes. Who would love an Omega Apple Watch with customer Omega Faces and maybe special bracelet? I would love to have a Tag Heuer leather strap with a Monaco watch face.
    Phantom taps -- yup. I had a call come in a little while ago, and reflexively looked at my Rado to see who it was.

    "I do not wander into the watch shops the way I used to." Not that the traffic at some of the luxury watch shops was good to begin with, but at a couple of the malls where an Apple store is near a luxury watch retailer, the watch shops can be ghost towns. But, if you hang around at an Apple store long enough — say, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes — you will see someone buy an AW.

    I'll walk into a watch shop anyway, though, and usually while wearing my AW. And I get treated pretty politely, too, because maybe they think I'm already enough of a sucker to pay over 500 bucks for a smartgadget, and they could get me to upgrade to something else.

    I see what you're saying about other watch brands making partnerships with Apple, but Hermes is in the market for fashionable leather goods, and their watches are simply accessories. They're happy enough selling Hermes straps for people's existing Apple Watches. Omega and TAG and the like aren't in the leather accessories business, though; they're in the watchmaking business. Plus, TAG has their own smartwatch [with outsourced innards] and they wouldn't want to give up their investment.

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