One of my favourite podcasts is The Grey Nato, all about watches, gear and adventure.
In this weeks show Jason and James discuss their experience with the Apple Watch Ultra, give is a listen here.
Whilst I was out this evening I took a little trip to the Apple Store to take a look at the iPhone 14 Pro and The Apple Watch Ultra (and a Galaxy Flip 4 (yes I’m tempted to give the foldable a run)). I managed to take a close look at the Ultra and as someone that wears a mechanical watch I was surprised at how small it actually is in person. The screen is nice, flat and bigger than the other models. The crown looks much more chunky but in a good way and I like the orange button. (please can we get an Orange iPhone next).
Seeing it really didn’t make me think it would stand out on anybody’s wrist really. I liked the metallic colour Apple have used and I liked the yellow rubber strap the most. There seemed to be plenty of stock for in store pick ups so if you are looking to get one you should be ok.
For me this isn’t quite aimed at the Garmin user, not a full on last for a month adventure watch but someone who wears their Apple Watch every day and wants it to last longer between charges and wants something a little more durable – and that’s fine.
This is a good review from The Verge, it seems that it’s not competing with the likes of Garmin but is it’s own thing – a good thing in fact. It seems like the series 8 is still the way to go for 90% of the user base of the Apple Watch so it’ll be interesting to see how many get returned within the two week window. I suspect it’ll be too big for a lot of people that want the new model, you will know if you need it or not.
What’s interesting in this review and something I picked up when I tried a Garmin for a week.
For starters, recovery metrics are still almost nonexistent on the Apple Watch platform. While Garmin has Body Battery and Polar lets you view your training load, Apple doesn’t contextualize recovery for you outside of sleep consistency
This is something that struck out to me when I tested it, the Garmin data is so much better displayed and analysed than the Apple Watch. The body battery is a great way to see how tired you are and the concept of rest days is something that the Apple Watch really needs.
I actually like the look of the rumoured new “extreme” Apple Watch. But adding crown guards doesn’t automatically mean it’s an adventure version.
My Seiko has them, it’s a diver. It’s so the crown doesn’t get knocked in movement. The Apple Watch crown is a lot more durable than that of a traditional Watch, I’m not sure it needs one. I don’t see divers wearing an Apple Watch, it’s too unreliable to be used in those conditions, it can’t suddenly run out of juice and the screen won’t be easy to see.
It’s also not a G-Shock with it’s rubber casing and indestructible build.
It’s not a Garmin with it’s black and white display and massive battery life.
Whilst I’m not in the market I am a watch nerd and so curious as to what this model ends up being marketed as. Metal for an outdoor watch is fine, traditional and G-Shock both do this so seeing a video on durability will be super interesting. I also foresee a lot of non adventurers picking up this model because of the battery life or bigger screen or just to have the newest looking thing. That’s fine and it’s the same in the mechanical world.
Probably the bit of the keynote I’m most curious about.
30 day battery life, a durable shell (like a G-Shock), solar for charging, rest days, apps that are more focussed on your energy levels and are proactive in their advice. The list goes on. The Garmin felt less like a computer on my wrist and more like a watch.
If Apple are to release a more adventure focussed watch they won’t compete with this feature list. That’s fine, they are two different products.
An Apple Watch Pro will still have a colour OLED and no solar so it won’t get anywhere near the flexibility of a Garmin with solar. I did miss the touch screen of the Apple Watch sometimes but once I got my head around the Garmin interface it was great. Physical buttons are fine on a smartwatch.
I feel that Apple could make a great bracelet style band. I still miss my Nike FuelBand and this is where I feel Apple can compete with Garmin. I know I’m not the first to say this but a lot of people like mechanical watches but also want to track their fitness so wear stuff on both wrists. A smaller bracelet would be much better for this and you could even wear it on the same wrist as your watch.
I’m just writing this with no plan but having used a Garmin and Apple Watch wanted to get my thoughts down.
There’s been rumours of the G-Shock equivalent or Garmin competitor of the Apple Watch for a while but now Mark Gurman has given some details.
As a lover of watches and also G-Shock I find that it’s hard to believe a durable Apple Watch made of metal is going to compete.
The extreme sports watch will use a strong metal material rather than aluminum, have a more shatter-resistant screen and include a larger battery compared with standard Apple Watches
G-Shock took a while to get to a place where you could have a watch that would survive anything and also be light and comfortable. What gives me pause is a metal extreme model would look beat up over time and also unless they have invented a new type of aluminium would be a heavy watch.
You’d also want to see some protection around the screen, a border around it that is raised maybe.
G-Shock do now make watches out of forged steel so it’s not impossible I just think bold to come straight out with one. Now we know Apple are experts with new materials so I’m sure it’ll be great but I’m sceptical at the moment.
I’m fascinated with this model.
I’ve tested out Fitness+ in the past and thought the presentation was great, there’s a good range of exercises and it’s not too expensive but you need an Apple Watch to use it.
As someone that stopped wearing an Apple Watch a while ago it’s frustrating that I get Fitness+ as part of my Apple One bundle but am unable to use it. I prefer a mechanical Watch but would like to use the fitness classes I’m paying for, it seems like this Apple Watch lock in is ripe for change.
I understand Apple wanting to link them, it may sell a few more watches and linking it so closely to rings makes sense for those that it motivates. I’d argue that the quality of the lessons is so good though that there would be a lot of Apple ecosystem users who would still pay to use it without this link to activity and rings.
I know I’ll get push back here but for those of us that can’t deal with a wearable simply getting one to use Fitness+ isn’t an option.
Be interested to get your thoughts on this one.
The rumours were true and yesterday Google officially announced the Pixel Watch. To me it looks nice, kind of like a round Apple Watch. In fact if Apple changed the design of the current square Watch this is what I’d imagine it would look like.
As someone that loves mechanical watches I find the current design of the Apple Watch boring, a square slab that’s both too thick and square to really look like a cool Watch.
I think though that in terms of functionality, especially when it comes to fitness it’ll be hard to beat what Apple have established and it’s the main reason I still look over at Apple Watch and wonder if I could wear one again.
Watching Google I/O I think Google are definitely taking a lot of inspiration from Apple with Apple Pay like features, integrating Fitbit as a fitness brand and and also having similar changeable bands.
It’s hard to fully compare though because neither play well with each other. If you’re on iOS then Apple Watch is the only real choice and if you’re on Android then you’d have to say even though it’s not out yet to hold off and get a Pixel Watch.
You wouldn’t switch platforms just for a wearable but I’m hoping Apple and Google are successful and push each other. The Apple Watch needs some competition to push it forward.
Unpairing your Apple Watch is a little less obvious these days compared to watchOS 6 so I like to create a post with each release to help others. This time it’s with watchOS 8.
To unpair you’ll need to head into the Watch app on iOS.
I’ve gone all in with the beta’s this year and for the first time in a while went in with watchOS. I thought I’d share my experience of using it for a day, which may help you decide to go for it or not.
This is the first thing you’re going to notice. For me I ended the day with about 30% less battery life than I normally do. I still got through the day ok but couldn’t have done sleep tracking (I don’t anyway). That was with two 40 minute workouts and general use throughout the day. If you’re a heavy user DO NOT USE THE BETA. This is even more important if you’re out for the day at your job and can’t throw it on a charger.
Well, there isn’t a lot of new functionality in my opinion. No new watch faces added to the beta yet and the only thing I’m enjoying was the new always on timer. The downside though is that it wasn’t keeping in time, yes that’s right the timer was randomly changing how long was left.
Multiple timers is a nice addition but again for me at least they aren’t consistently working.
It’s more about little UI tweaks here and there like the one above when choosing faces.
In day to day use I didn’t really think wow this is worth putting the beta onto my watch.
Let’s talk about performance first. I’m on a series 6 and for me I haven’t noticed any slow down with using the beta. Just like iOS 15 it’s running as good as the public release, remember for performance.
Now in terms of stability it’s the worst of the new beta’s. I can’t close recently used apps without a crash, the timer is inconsistent and I can’t dismiss time to walk in workouts so far. As long as I don’t care about these I’m fine so I’m ok to continue using but I’d be careful if you really do rely on your Apple Watch to get you through the day. I still love my Casio so I’ll most likely switch back and forth between a traditional watch and the Apple Watch.
I know it’s tempting but given the stability I’d hold off on this first beta. Jump on at public beta or wait for developer build 3.
This was one of my wishes for watchOS. A timer mode where you could run it without it being obscured by the time when the always on display went dark.
Now you can just glance and see how long is left on your current timer.
Updating the iPhone and iPad to the beta at WWDC isn’t too difficult to reverse but the watch is totally different. With watchOS if you want to go back a version then you have to send it off to Apple.
This is a process that doesn’t take long (typically around 4 days) but in the current times may take longer. For me I’m using the watch every couple of days so I probably will install it but if you rely on your watch every day then I’d avoid.
Your battery is going to be down and it may lose fitness data, it’s done both of these to me in the past so be warned.
For me it’s an easy choice if you use and rely on your watch every day, as tempting as it may seem – don’t install watchOS 8 at the early beta stage.