back to article Watch Series 4: What price 'freedom'? About as much as you'd expect from an Apple product

What could be more Silicon Valley than inventing a technology to alleviate the inconvenience caused by another you invented? But that's one of the biggest appeals of the Apple Watch. After 18 months of lolling about without a discernible purpose – like a boomerang kid who can't decide what to do with their life – the Watch has …

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  2. Richard Lloyd

    Not for me...

    I won't go for an Apple watch of any version until they fix 4 major dealbreakers: 1. It's fugly. Sorry, but round watch faces look much better than rectangular ones. 2. It has an 18-hour battery life, requiring you to charge it every day. 3. It's pretty expensive, especially if you go up the range (e.g. LTE or stainless steel) and 4. It's locked into the Apple ecosystem - at least non-Apple smartwatches usually pay at least lip-service to iOS, but Apple don't reciprocate with Android. I could mention that a very basic nylon strap for it costs 49 quid in the Apple store as a 5th dealbreaker, but that's at least optional.

    Surprised that the review made zero mention of its obvious main rival - the Galaxy Watch, which seems to trump the Apple Watch 4 on every one of those 4 major dealbreakers I mentioned. Never mind that the Galaxy Watch has 60,000 watchfaces vs. virtually none for the Apple Watch 4...

    1. Gordon 10

      Re: Not for me...


      1. Tend to agree.

      2. Not a big issue *most* of the smart watches require removal from your wrist at bed time for charging purposes - only a big issue if you are desperate for sleep tracking constantly. Even then you can probably get a decent squeeze of charge whilst showering.

      3. Its Apple.

      4. Its Apple - and the Android Wear app on iOS is a waste of space.

      My major complaint right now is the LTE carrier locking to the same carrier as your phone. Thats gotta be an antitrust/monopoly situation I reckon. Although like most carrier exclusive type deals I expect this to be removed in 1-2 years.

    2. D@v3

      Re: in response

      1) It is, but i have got used to it. Round is nice for a clock face, square(ish) works well for everything else.

      2) as the article said, that is generally enough to get you somewhere into day two. I generally find my use goes somewhere along the lines of. Get to work on day 1, watch off to charge for an hour or so, while i get a coffee and catch up with what has happened over night. Fine through day 2, day three is then day 1 again. That includes trips to the gym on both days.

      3)it is, but that's Apple.

      4) see above

      5) there are many, many, reasonably priced, alternatives, of varying quality available from many people on line. But yes, the 'official Apple straps are laughably expensive'

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: in response

        1. It's function over form - some information is better displayed on a circular format, whilst other info - text especially - works better in a square or rectangular frame. Jony Ive considers his (circular) Omega Speedmaster the epitome of good design, but the Apple Watch is designed to show different forms of information besides just time.

        The majority of Android can Wear watches are just aping the already dubious form of 44mm fashion analogue watches. That's not to say I think circular smartwatch are a dead end - rotating a bezel is a good form of human input.

    3. Sampler

      Re: Not for me...

      In terms of battery it's why I like my TomTom Runner 3. It has 7hr GPS track (1 more than the quoted iWatch 4) but it'll also last a week just sat on my wrist.

      It has a heart rate monitor for novelty value and also a few gb of storage for music, it connects to my running headphones via bluetooth quite well.

      So I can go for a jog, a cycle or a swim (waterproof to 40m) and leave my phone at home,which is all the smarts I need out of a watch rather than squinting at my wrist to read a text/email or try to harang an "ai" into voice composing something (I have what could be described as a "regional" accent, people struggle to understad me, nevermind machines, to the point that even the "ok google" activation signal only works 1 out of 15 attempts).

      All in a device that costs me $150 AUD (thanks cyclinghereos).

      Yes, it's a particular use case, but then I think that was the articles main point too, is that the iWatch is also a very particular use case, mine works for me, I don't feel I'm missing out on what it doesn't offer, as what it does offer, it does rather well, and I only have to charge it each week..

    4. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Not for me...

      The only thing that matters to me is 2).

      If you can't make a watch that runs for more than 24 hours, then we're not friends. Garmin beats this with my trusty old vivoActive (7 days with 6 days of at least 2 hours/day active training with chest strap)... just over a week's worth of juice (8 days at a stretch).

      The Apple Watch 2 I was given never made it out of its box... it still sits there, 2 years later. *SHRUG*

      1. Lallabalalla

        Re: Not for me...

        Cool - send it to me :)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Take equal rights seriouslly, until it costs us money

      1) It does have round faces, personally I prefer the modular display as give more useful information, pedometer / heart rate etc

      2) I can normally get 2 days usage without charging, not a bit deal as it charges very quickly, I charge mine at work when sitting at desk. 18 hours is what Apple define but think they are under estimating, depends on your usage patterns.

      3) Not sure why you really need LTE on the watch unless you really have to be in contact without your phone (I cant think of anytime I dont have my phone with me). Agree stainless steel models are very expensive

      4) The devices do work very well together, if not looking at phone notifications come up on watch and vice versa. The apps works very well and the speed of the S4 is quite impressive.

      You can also purchase 3rd party straps on Amazon that perfectly well with the Watch so no need to buy Apple's.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not for me...

      We have a few people with the Galaxy watch in the office, and I must admit that they look a *lot* better - when off.

      When displaying information, however, the roundness comes at a cost so I reckon it depends on your specific use if one makes sense or the other. If you're on Android, you'll probably never even consider the Apple Watch (which is probably why Apple didn't bother much with making it work there), if you're on iOS it depends how much data you want to see at once.

      That said, the bezel control on the Samsung watch is well thought out - it keeps things simple.

      Basically, I just told myself I have to think a bit more about this one. Damn :)

    7. Scary Biscuits

      Re: Not for me...

      I agree that a round face looks better. I've got a Garmin Forerunner 645 and that also seems to trump the iWatch 4 on battery life (7 days). It's also better for sports apps and works well with my bike computer.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Not for me...

        The battery life is the big one for me, then the cost. Otherwise I'd bite. Meanwhile I am happy with most of the useful functionality from an Amazfit Bip with its 1 month battery between charges and £37 cheapness.

        The Bip is a function plus some (including built in GPS) replacement for Pebble Time.

      2. GrantB

        Re: Not for me...

        Garmin Forerunner here as well. Just works.

        Unless doing long rides with GPS will run a week without charge.

        Enough notifications I can see if I should pull out phone to respond to critical emails or messages, but not overwhelming amount of information on a small form factor display.

        But mainly works well as a watch, with bonus of swim, run and cycle tracking with simply heart rate tracking

  3. tony72
    Black Helicopters


    [...] the Watch has become a success. It's one of the nicest luxury purchases an iPhone can make.

    If Apple have reached the point where one of their products is intelligent, self-aware and affluent enough to buy another, then I guess they are truly on the verge of world domination.

    1. Gordon 10

      Re: Umm

      Thats always been the case. You only have to fail saving roll on a wisdom check and it p0wns your soul.

  4. tiggity Silver badge

    cutting down gratuitous phone use

    I find that not installing lots of apps helps in that.

    You cannot as easily do (web site via browser only) FB, Twitter, WhatsApp, Slack & whatever other junkapps float your boat without the app installed

    1. Kristian Walsh

      Re: cutting down gratuitous phone use

      Andrew is onto something here by identifying freedom from the annoyance of ones iPhone as the best feature of an Apple Watch, but let's come at that from another angle:

      How about taking all that "the essential features of your smartphone" call and notification functionality, and put it into a form-factor like the old Nokia 8800 Sirocco, with that kind of "jewellery" build-quality. (I had an 8800, and as a physical object, it's still by far the nicest phone I've ever owned), so it can be carried in a jacket pocket, or a small purse or clutch.

      Add a WiFi hotspot to the LTE modem, as there'd be enough internal volume to allow a decent battery and properly-spaced antennae, and it allows either a small tablet or laptop to take over the "detailed browsing and apps" role of the phone.

      So, now I've got something that I can use to receive notifications and phone calls on (with the bonus of not looking like I'm starring in some some sort of low-budget Dick Tracey fan-flic whenever I take a call) - plus I can use it to give my laptop or a tablet 4G connectivity wherever I am*. Plus it won't look out of place in the few times I've got to dress up.

      Oh, it also seems that I've made the actual "smartphone" redundant in the chain. I could live with that too.

      I know there are solutions out there (the Punkt phone reviewed a day after this), but I'm comfortable enough in myself to admit that I'm sufficiently vain to want something that is beautiful, and not just functional.

      (* I'm aware that you can get LTE-equipped laptops and tablets, but as network operators have chosen to not implement the "multiple SIMs, one account" feature of GSM, having another device means a new account, and basically paying twice for the same low data usage)

  5. Aladdin Sane

    Can it run Crysis?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Just seen the TV advert

    Full of bearded clones that all think the same way and clearly love themselves almost as much as they care about how they are viewed by others.

    How appropriate.

    1. Jay 2

      Re: Just seen the TV advert

      I'm amused that it's marketed at people so stupid that need a reminder to stand up. I may have a bit of Apple kit about, but I'm still completely unconvinced by the Apple Watch. Plus I've got a perfectly good watch that doesn't need recharging every few days or some sort of mobile connectivity to work properly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just seen the TV advert

        I may have a bit of Apple kit about, but I'm still completely unconvinced by the Apple Watch

        You're not the target market. It used to be the case that people looking to exercise worked out for themselves how long they needed to exercise, and could tell from their own body when they were "in the zone", as well as measuring progress by what they achieved in terms of distance, time or weight, using no more than their own ability to count and a simple clock. Now there's an entire generation of fairweather fitness freaks who do exercise, but without seeming to achieve that much, and seem incapable of doing so without a device to inaccurately guess their pulse, temperature, blood pressure and then present that inaccurate information with pseudo precision via a digital wrist display.

        Each to their own. And all credit to Apple for making stockholders richer with this finely crafted product.

  7. chivo243 Silver badge


    Just had a conversation regarding some UPS and PSUs with a colleague who has both an Apple Watch and iPhone, out of the blue Siri started giving us the difference between AC and DC??? WTF, neither of us said "Hey Siri"

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Siri!

      Depending on your accent or cadence, perhaps P-S-U sounds enough like Hey-Si-Ri for the watch to be fooled...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Four inches

    If Apple made an iPhone that shape with a 4 inch diagonal 3 by 2 screen I'd think about buying it. It looks like a very good form factor for a small phone if you omit the strap and lugs.

  9. JDX Gold badge

    Kinda nice

    It is quite amazing how Apple have turned this dog around, after most people wrote the Watch off.

    I'm not an iPhone user but if I was, I think I'd be strongly tempted hearing reviews of Gen3/4.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Kinda nice

      Total sales are still tiny but enough for Apple to continue to invest in the product. But most of the world has moved on.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Kinda nice

        Sales of Apple watch greater than the entire watch output of Switzerland.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Kinda nice

          Sales of Apple watch greater than the entire watch output of Switzerland.

          And I would hope so, too. This is a consumer device albeit a chuffing expensive one, Swiss watches, at least the ones with Swiss innards, are luxury items.

          Apple is making a tidy profit and a lot of the people who have them, love them. But the rest of us have seen and largely ignored wearables as the solutionist wet dreams they mainly are for anyone who wants more than a fitness tracker.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Kinda nice

      > It is quite amazing how Apple have turned this dog around,

      Well, the MK 1 iPhone, MK 1 iPad and MK 1 iPod were similar in that they were largely just place holders. They were all expensive and compromised, but clearly marked out the path of later, more refined models.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Kinda nice

        Well, the MK 1 iPhone, MK 1 iPad and MK 1 iPod

        Except this is MK 4 and still basically a rich boy's toy. In that it's more like the Apple TV, which still sells reasonably while failing to set the world alight.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Kinda nice

          Any normal company would be delighted to have the 'small' sales Apple TV/Watch garner. It's not just about the total sales anyway, but the brand awareness and tie-in.

  10. a pressbutton

    Apple Watch:-


    It seems you have just stopped making rythmic motions at about 120bpm

    Do you want me to

    - play "Sandstorm"

    - launch pornhub

    - book a uber home


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      it's detected as an "elliptical workout"...

      ... or so I am told.

      Anonymous, for, well, reasons

  11. lvm


    it bootloops on the DST day

  12. Neal McQ

    Random, semi-related observation: the Nokia 5110 (released in 1998, 20 years ago) as THE phone of the era had 1-3 hours of talk-time, and 40 hours standby. Roughly the same as what the Apple Watch cellular gets right now: except this one will take your heart rate, gps track, and countless other functions. Not a bad start for the device.

    (Most people who have an Apple Watch will tell you they easily can get 30-40 hours out of the battery - which does mean charging every night to guarantee that 2nd day. that 18-hours usage is low-balled)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its great when its working. EE still seem to be unable to support the damn thing, even after having it for 12 months. Common opinion seems to be just keep ringing EE tech support until you are lucky enough to get hold of that one person in there tech support that can fix your issues.

  14. Nifty Silver badge

    I'd still like to see a stainless steel Apple Watch strap that doesn't instantly come loose as soon as your shirt cuff catches it slightly.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's reports elsewhere that it can't cope with the change from summer to winter time. So, it's a watch that cannot tell the time properly.

    Terrific. Way to go, Apple. Are we reading it wrong?

  16. HolySchmoley

    "The Watch is a genuine luxury gadget"

    Or, as the discerning buyer might say, Apple tat.

  17. Scary Biscuits

    Anybody else had experience with a Garmin watch vs the iWatch? I've got a Garmin 645 Music with an Android phone and found it to be superb but at about half the price altogether. The Bluetooth connection is rock solid and it's really handy to see who's just texted or rung you without getting my phone out. I put my phone on silent permanently now and know when my phones ringing from the watch vibrating. It lasts about 4 days for me with everything turned on (manufacturer quotes 7 days in watch mode). I also now leave my phone at home when I go for a run, which gives an additional sense of freedom, and can listen to music or podcasts via Bluetooth headphones. Spotify is also available in the USA now I understand and promised soon for the UK. If you bank with Santander in the UK you can also pay with your watch, which still impresses people in pubs and shops (also doesn't have the annoying £30 limit that your contactless card does). Overall very happy. Does anybody else think that the Garmin experience is better or that I would have been better with an iWatch?

  18. Name Withheld

    Does a Job

    Currently using the Series 2 and I’m wanting to buy the Series 4, however, as a lot of the improvements have appeared on my watch and the battery is still over 50 at the end of the day I don’t know why I need to just yet.

    If it’s not for you then it’s not for you, and if apple isn’t for you then this is never going to find it’s way to your wrist.

    If you can get over yourself and give it a go then you might find this a handy little bauble that cuts down the number of times you have to dig out your phone, try it, works as a watch and a great remote if you’re consuming media. There’s also enough sports apps to make it useful here, makes a great golf watch and the workout detection is a nice to have.

    The only thing making me want to make the switch is the increase in memory, it’ll now take a decent amount of music, but then I know my earphones will play up when I switch devices. The only improvement I’d like is the ability to pair with more than one phone, it’s amazing the amount of checks my work iPhone gets compared to my personal one.

  19. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Thanks, Apple, I now embrace my fate

    There comes a point in life when you realise you're on an inexorable downhill slope. The other day, that moment came when someone offered me their seat on the bus.

    So I'm very grateful to Apple. A world where anyone would contemplate spending £700 on a digital watch in order to that they should never miss an urgent HTML-formatted promotional e-mail from Netflix is one for which I have grown too old and cynical. And poor. Time to switch my mortal coil to "shuffle" and depart in good grace

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I know the feeling

      That moment happened to me a few years ago, when, as a consultant, I responded to a call from a university.

      As I reached the double glass door entrance, a student on the other side noticed me coming and casually reached for the door, holding it open for me. What floored me was just how automatic and casual the gesture was, as if it was a given that that was what he had to do. Some people would call it education.

      I call it my "now you're old" moment.

  20. jmch Silver badge

    Missing a couple of Options

    It looks like you've taken a hard fall

    - Emergency SOS

    - I fell, but I'm OK

    - I didn't actually fall, you stupid watch

    - Nope, I just threw you at the wall you bloody piece of crap!!

  21. Alien8n

    Medical uses

    Actually seriously considering get one for Mrs Alien, specifically because of it's fall detection. As her MS progresses she's becoming more unsteady on her feet and has a real fear of falling. Her symptoms mimic those of a stroke near perfectly so the idea of a watch that can detect a fall where her MS might result in her being unable to get up again is actually a very compelling argument.

  22. Muscleguy Silver badge

    GPS? No thanks

    I'm a distance runner and I do not use GPS, I have a Polar watch with a footpod for speed/distance and a heart rate chest strap (pretty robust). I have trialled GPS by taking my phone in an arm wallet and have issues. I live on top of a hill and am wont to run up hills, the steeper the better on most of my runs and GPS is not good with slopes, it does not speak Pythagoras well, a point against.

    I also have the mainline to Aberdeen between me and the waterfront and the A road cycle path also does a long underpass. Even when I'm going over the rail line on a footbridge GPS fails. There's one with a switchback ramp and I run beside it before getting on, so three 10m passes beside each other and GPS tracks one. My footpod logs every footstep. Another point against.

    Even if we somehow discount the loss of contact and lag regaining it causing inappropriate straight lines to be drawn when going under things there is another issue. There are lots of high walls around here, retaining walls on the hills and behind properties with roads front and back and the GPS is wont to drop out against those as well. There is one just as I turn off the main road to get home. GPS has me running straight through a house because of this. Another point against.

    I have runs where all these issues come up, in multiple and meanwhile my footpod logs every step. If you live on the Iowa prairie I can see GPS tracking being a boon, in lumpier, more forested and built up areas, not so much.

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