Buying the Apple Watch Series 3 in 2019.

The difference between thinking and knowing what you want.

Why do I want to talk about a two year old piece of tech? Well I bought one of these as they were just lowered in price last week by Apple with the release of the Series 5 Apple Watch and I feel as a layperson, my views on the Series 3 today in 2019 might be of interest to those reading and haven’t bought one yet themselves, but might want to.

I’ve held off buying an Apple Watch ever since they were first announced, the watch never felt capable. In the ideals of ideals I would prefer a digital watch of this caliber to last at least a week on a single charge, and I’ve always thought the Apple Watch was conservative in its design. I don’t mind if it were bigger, even the Series 5 still isn’t my ideal watch size, make it bigger! Heck give me that wrist device Leela has from Futurama, a device that comes with a larger interface,bigger battery and assumingly, more body function trackers please. A man however with expectations can dream.

I bought the Series 3 not just for the lower price, but also to temper my expectations, I allowed myself and this is ridiculous; to be disappointed with a $200 dollar purchase as opposed to an even more expensive purchase towards a later Series watch and expecting it to do more.

Go figure with that logic. But it’s working.

Because I paid less, I knew it could do less, and with expectations set to low, somewhere down the road of ownership I’d be also eventually surprised by its utility. I figured if the Series 6 came out next year, it would be an even greater improvement of course over the S5 and I’d have a better idea of how a future watch could serve me because I’m now in the ecosystem. Getting into this purchase for example, it didn’t bother me when in the Apple Store; I found out I can’t listen to podcasts locally on the watch. It only has remote functions. That means I can’t take just my headphones and Apple watch for simple supermarket journeys where I thought I could leave the iPhone at home.

Next time I guess? I know the sim version is more autonomous, but wifi in HK is so prevalent here there really is no need to buy that model.

I’ll allow the Apple Watch to disappoint this one time then. Nothing is perfect. 

Since getting this watch, let me tell you a few things I’ve realised and that I like about it.

First I don’t know what tech bloggers are talking about when they say they can shower and the watch is almost fully charged again, and charging the Apple watch everyday isn’t actually an issue for them. Because of the slow charging times on the watch, I’m left wondering how long does it take for tech bloggers to shower? It must take a long time to wash the lies and the tall tales of Apple cum off their bodies. I find the charging to be incredibly slow and the charging cable too long. Also the box is a silly shape. Sorry, I slipped a few negatives in there (the box isn’t really a big deal).

Currently while working at my computer or sitting down with a student are the best times to charge the watch. I’m moving around the least during those times so the Watch summaries at the end of each day are more inline with reality.

The Apple Watch lasts more than 18 hours a day.

I’m really happy with this. That’s Apple’s rated battery life. I’m finding I’m charging it every other day, and that’s with me sleeping with it; turning the watch to airplane mode. It makes a huge difference to the battery life. First night I slept with it, it drained by 60%, then realising my error, I changed the settings and its just a 2% drop in charge. I don’t have a fixed schedule for charging, I’ll just try and run it down to 5%-10% whenever and then charge it back up.

Never being a hard core watch owner myself, I don’t care about the delay in moving my wrist to see the time for when the screen turns on. So I’m quite comfortable with the delay, which really isn’t a delay. I think that perceived negative to be overblown.

<rant>

Sometimes I think the mainstream tech bloggers lose sight or perspective on some things us lay people will live happily with. Okay, you have a series of classical watches because you’re a nerd, but most of us don’t care they tell the time instantly when you glance at it, and if your boss gets upset because you’re checking your watch in a meeting then its his/her ego that is the problem, not the watch’s inability to tell you the time on the sly.

Instead of buying the Series 5 with its always on screen, why not be not passive in meetings and admit the meetings are too damn long. Suggest the stand up meetings thing, we all know stand up meetings are far productive and you’ll get closer to completing the Move circle on your watches. Also the boss isn’t a true capitalist either if his/her ego is getting in the way of a succinct meeting so you can all get back to work.

</rant>

Normally for me when checking the time I do one of three things, I ask someone ask for the time, I have to look at the top of the computer screen for the time or I tap my iPhone’s screen for it to tell me the time, compared to those three things, the watch is actually faster, and it’s always on my wrist!

I don’t even have to go to the computer or look for my phone or talk to anyone anymore. Life is good.

For some perspective, I haven’t owned a watch since the 00’s.

I don’t even remember the last watch I wore, because once I owned my first iPhone, the phone could be utilised in so many ways, I’m simply downsized what I owned, out went the clock, the radio, cd player, calculator and of course any ambition of wearing a watch.

What I do remember were the straps that came with the watch being part of the deal. Customising watch straps was never a consideration.

I’ve never bought a watch strap separate for a watch in my life and the idea to customise a watch with my perfect strap to complete me, sounds like a joke. I will never accessorise this Apple watch with another strap. Seriously I cringe when tech bloggers lament about the more expensive varieties of straps out there. Fuck off. #beyondinsanefirstworldproblemswhiletheamazonisburning

When I was in the Apple Store I could choose either a black Nike strap or a white one, fine. I’m happy with either, I’m not going to get caught up in #straplife.

I do have nice things to say about the strap itself however, it feels great on the skin and the strap is so cleverly put together, how did watch companies settle for the current strap solution for this long? I like how the strap tucks under itself 

The fitness functions and ergo the date to be gleaned; the actual things I felt were worth the asking price alone are amazing to have, I can see why “all your data belong to us Mark Zuckerberg” wants you in his ecosystem, it is truly empowering to know so much about oneself. Since owning an Apple watch, I’ve already skipped on taking the bus for a few journeys and avoided eating a cookie or two in order to be a better me.

In addition to that I’m actually taking note of all the journeys I don’t take, and deducting the savings against what I spent for the watch, in a way to prove that this thing can justify itself beyond the data collection. I love knowing how long I’m standing for, the calories I’m burning and just talking into a text message instead of typing it out.

The Move tracker however is something I’d like to adjust upwards, why is it only a 30 minute minimum? The minimums are also too easy to achieve. I’ve realised I can walk to the nearest MTR station to my house, burn a ton of calories, have the watch tell me that I’m technically doing a workout (or one time it says I’m on the elliptical) and include that “workout” into my minimum of 30 minutes of exercising.

The bar the watch sets, is so low, but Apple know the lifestyles of millions of people, so maybe the bar has to be low in order to encourage everyone to consider living the healthier lifestyle so they live for longer and buy later series of Apple Watches. I’d like to though increase in increments, the physical activity I can do.

One hesitation I did have with ownership of an Apple Watch was being interrupted directly on the wrist as I go about my day. That isn’t turning out to be the case because I only ever really talk to one person on iMessages and thankfully Facebook via WhatsApp doesn’t have a complication for the Watch. WhatsApp users aren’t able to badge me. There is a 3rd party company offering a complication, but you have to pay. That’s a good incentive to not install it.

Upon setting up the watch, the iPhone side loads all the complications it can related to the apps you have on the phone. “Oh you have it on the phone here, the watch can have it too”.

You have to consider everything that was installed, but it takes two minutes. iMessage functionality is a nice bonus however with Siri perfectly composing my spoken words into text.

This purchase really is about understanding what is going on with me body wise. I have a digital scale, I use a sleep tracker on my phone and I felt the Apple Watch would compliment those devices to fill out my profile. I just need the watch to prick me now and again for free blood testing as opposed to going to the doctors. A foot massage or a handjob would be welcome also. You can see I really wanted this watch for body tracking and to measure me. 

<zerowaste mention>

I did originally want to buy a secondhand Apple Watch to save a bit more money but the prices are fluctuating and are trading fast online so much I saved myself the stress and bought new. Also these batteries don’t last long either, so any savings I made by buying second hand would catch up with me probably a little later on with an expensive battery swap.

</zerowaste mention>

Some final tidbits, I got to say I like the ability to ping my phone, the ability to automatically unlock my Mac, Spotify is something I can see myself using more of because of the watch, the remote functions with Castro, the camera app and its overall functionality are helpful. Importantly and oddly, it really does feel like a watch instead of a computer. The computering stuff just gets out of the way, keypresses are at a minimum. As for the screen size itself, now having used it for nearly a week, it isn’t *that* bad, it makes me happier I bought the Series 3 even over the discounted Series 4 that are still in stock. I can deal with it and I’m actually content with this until something that can justify the need for a larger screen is released.

This is the first time I’ve bought a serious bit of tech with a clear understanding how it can serve me and how long I would expect to use it for. I think I choose correctly. For the moment though, this is a really cool piece of tech. If you’re considering one, I hope my opinion helps.

— — — — —

This article is actually the written script for episode #76 of the Loose Rants Podcast. If you fancy listening instead of reading, then look for ‘Loose Rants” on Spotify or iTunes or go to www.jonathanjk.com/podcasts.

Apple WWDC Keynote 2018 Wishlist

I can’t ask for much in the way of hardware, if I do, Apple is only going to disappoint and Apple won’t even release hardware on a regular schedule anymore.

One thing they are on a regular timetable for however, are software updates. Every year WWDC rolls along and I hope and pray they add some things to the core of iOS to make my life and hopefully all our lives easier. Here is my eclectic list of 11 items I want included this year.

Thanks Apple, thanks 3rd party dev!

Thanks Apple, thanks 3rd party dev!

  1. Change the way the volume is represented on screen, some apps are taking to doing it themselves and some don’t, so it’s really jarring when you have an app that doesn’t want the volume to stay off the screen with a giant square obstructing your view. Apple needs a new default representation, it hasn’t been changed since the first iPhone. I’ve been waiting for far too many years now for Apple to fix one of the most obvious visual lemmings on iOS.
  2. Stop having the phone app take over the entire screen when you get a call. Especially when you’re doing something critical. This gets progressively worse as the phone becomes less of a phone and instead a utility power house from shooting videos, broadcasting a live stream, to editing media clips, writing and much more. So many times I’m screen recording or viewing something and it just jumps into view like a charity mugger when you’re walking down the street. Fuck off!

  3. Duh, darkmode.

  4. My emails are supposed to be in the cloud, but many emails for me are still on a particular device. Let’s say I replied to an email on my Mac, I won’t be able to find it on my phone, I have to look it up on the original device. I thought everything was synced?

  5. Say I’m listening to music on my bluetooth Beats headphones and at the exact same time I get a call that I actually want to answer, the call goes to the phone, not the headphones. So every single time I take a call, I can either take the headphones out of my ears and put the phone to my ear or I have to tap on the screen to select the headphone for audio output. Why?

  6. Put the fucking camera settings in the camera app.

  7. Dvorak keyboard please as an option, why not already if you have had Cherokee since the iPhone launched?

  8. Pull to refresh on Safari.

  9. Quoting in iMessages, just like Whatsapp. It would be nice if iMessages was updated outside of the regular iOS releases, a once a year update isn’t fast enough.

  10. (Not really iOS) For some reason, pulling images out of Photos (on the Mac) destroys the metadata for ‘date created’. While the image is inside the Photos App, the original date is still present, but pull the photo out and into a folder, and the system creates a new date inside the photo file while preserving all other metadata. Why?

  11. Let me have a toggle so I can hide ALL notifications quickly at once rather than on a per app basis.

Let’s check back after the keynote and see how Apple did, none of these are huge requests, just the little details their famous for.

"Look Wendy I Can Fly"!

It was the iPhone's 10th birthday this month. It's astonishing it's been ten years since it was originally unveiled! Time has flown by. Ten years seems like a good way to think back to the state of my 'personal computing' from 2007.

I had a Mac laptop, as I do now, the tiny for its time 12" PowerBook connected to some monitor, a Nintendo DS Lite and some Nokia phone I don't care fondly enough for (it had WAP). I also had home wifi.

In 2007 wherever I went, the PowerBook went with me, and I travelled to where there was WiFi. It seems brutal for a workflow and unbelievable that that was how I operated casually in the computing world only ten years.

I want to sing a little praise in this blog post for the iPhone's most useful feature as I put my new website design through its paces. That is the always on connection to an LTE network and the Personal Hotspot function.

We use to 'dial into' the Internet, today it's ever present. Always on Internet is something we generally take for granted now. Anybody born into the world today won't even think about the Internet, just like children in the 80s readily accepted television. I do remember being astonished when my parents mentioned their lives before microwaves and televisions. 

I was astonished with the introduction of the first iPhone (the way Steve Jobs presented the iPhone helped). That January keynote was one to remember if you were able to watch it live, I saw myself being able to use the future that I had seen on 'Star Trek' ten years prior. I could see it, but certainly not feel it like I do today! Wait for the kids who wonder what we did prior to the ubiquity of the Internet and the smartphone.

In 2007 I really couldn't envision a 2017 Jonathan.

I'm reminded at work almost every time I can access anything I want, specifically 'YouTube' when my 4-5 year old students get annoyed with the load times as they don't understand the nuance between the screen of a TV and a smartphone. I'm fine with the load times. SIDE NOTE: I'm beginning to see what a 'generational divide' is.

I'm reminded at home when I realise how easy it is to tether my laptop to my iPhone, along with an iPad, and a second backup iPhone. It's the utility of both the mobile connection and the phone combined. I have all four devices running and operating on my own wifi network generated by a device smaller than a video cassette! For others with the iPhone SE, a cassette tape! The wifi is also faster than the wifi I had ten years ago!*

My favourite reminder is to have fired up something like Periscope, Twitter, download some updates all simultaneously on my various devices. It's a little thing personal to me I know. I am just still able to marvel at this ability. Credit goes to the countless developers and engineers on both the network side and the device to make it happen. Everything complex and computer related is interwoven into the radio frequencies surrounding us. It's easy to forget the progress we've made and along with all the hidden difficulty.

We've all heard that story about the computing power of a smartphone today is more powerful than what we had when we went to the moon. It's true, but it isn't a metric we can personally measure the progress of and compare against. I'm sure you have your own story about how your life has changed in the last ten years since the iPhone was shown off. Share it in the comments if you want.

I think back ten years to scoff at what I could do then compared to today. Now I look forward to see what we will have over the next ten years.

*My apartment in HK is old, cable or some wired internet service with a wireless router is pointless so that is why everything is run off the mobile.