I’ve used a lot of smartwatches. They’re great. But I’ve always gone back to my trusty old Casio’s because I like the style and frankly while Smartwatches offer some great features, they answer questions I’ve never asked. Until now.
Apple’s Series 3 Apple Watch revealed last week and available this Friday is a complete and utter game-changer in not just the smart-watch world but in communications.
I’m coming at this from an Australian point of view, because no doubt there have been “LTE watches” before this, but only Apple has been able to push our three major telcos past the breaking point to adopt eSIMs and multiple SIM single number accounts. That’s just what Apple does.
eSIM connectivity was announced at the keynote last week as working with Optus and Telstra at launch (September 22) and with Vodafone later in the year. As a Vodafone customer, I quickly ported my number to Telstra on the weekend to give this a real test.
Telstra call it One Number – a new way for you to have a single number shared across multiple devices, in this case your iPhone and Apple Watch Series 3.
Flexibility and freedom. Your watch you wear all the time with one limitation, your phone must be within Bluetooth range of it for most of the features to work.
Things like text message notifications, or taking and making phone calls – this requires your phone to be with you.
Listening to music is possible, but only to a handful of playlists manually stored on your Watch.
With a Cellular connected Series 3 Apple Watch that all changes.
Leave your phone at home, go for a walk, you can still get text messages. You can still take and make calls. Your apps will even show notifications, and next month the Apple Music app for Apple Watch will update allowing you to stream via the 4G connection any of the 40,000,000 songs in their library.
When would I need that?
You jump in the car and head to the shops. Why do you need your phone? Planning to Instagram your journey? Leave your phone behind and know that if your wife says “can you also get milk” that message comes through.
Sounds mundane, but have a think about how often that happens.
You’re only taking your phone “in case” you need it. No more. Leave your phone for when you need that big screen, your wrist has you covered for communication.
I can genuinely say I’ve paid less attention to my phone than ever. I’ve not even got Twitter and Facebook installed now because they’ve only ever been there to distract me. If someone needs me I am still contactable by phone and text.
Oh, and when your phone battery dies because you’ve had a busy day – you can still take calls!
Aren’t there other Similar Watches?
Very much so, Samsung has has “LTE” watches and Huawei only last month brought their 4G enabled “Huawei Watch 2” to Australia.
The difference is, this is the first time you’ve been able to share your number across multiple devices
That’s the game-changing component here and it really does offer a genuine flexibility.
Look, I’ll be honest, I’ve spent most of my review time working out how the eSIM functionality works, so the only other major thing I liked was the Watch OS 4 which is slicker, faster, and has a Toy Story Watch face:)
The improvements to the Health app, and heart-rate monitoring are a big deal, and will be covered in detail by much wiser folk than me.
Battery Battery Battery!
All these improvements, in both health, heart rate and operating system let alone the mobile connectivity must surely come at a cost to the Battery life?
Absolutely not. In fact, Sitting here 9 hours after having put the watch on this morning and I’m at 76%! This is a two day watch for the first time I’ve used an Apple Watch and that’s a real win.
This won’t be the last eSIM watch, it won’t be the last smart device with number sharing or “One Number” compatibility – but we will look back on this device as the game changer.
I can genuinely foresee a time when I go days without needing a phone, in fact if you wanted to go super futuristic I can foresee a time when we don’t need phones. We will always need companion screens, we may have them in our cars, we may carry them around when needed – but as for that funny question about the new iPhones “Do they make calls?”, I think there’s a time when they won’t.
Pricing and Availability
Apple Watch Series 3 goes on sale this Friday for $559 with Cellular connectivity. That’s a great price considering what it does!
If you want the phone functionality to work, you’ll need a compatible telco plan and then to activate the shared plan.
This happens in the Watch Pairing process, during which you’re taken away to the telco site, and returned with some activation into the watch.
Telstra and Optus are available at launch with Vodafone coming later in the year.
With Telstra you’re paying $5 a month for the “One Number” addition to your plan, and their opening offer is three months free.
Optus are also charging $5 with an introductory six months free.
I for one look forward to leaving my phone behind more often – and perhaps at the same time becoming more “present” in the world around me because I’ve removed the distraction that it can be.