Apple Watch Series 3 is a gem worth waiting for

In the spring of 2017, I borrowed a Series 1 Apple Watch from our lab at work to see if I’d like it. I didn’t. I hated it.

Now I have a Series 3 Apple Watch, and I love it. What’s different?

Fitness and health tracking is my primary use case

I started running in the fall of 2015, and I’ve been using Fitbit as my fitness tracker. What kept me on the Fitbit platform was long battery life, continuous heart rate monitoring. When I tried a Series 1 Apple Watch, it just wasn’t there regarding fitness tracking.

Fitbit also has a great phone app with a very nice dashboard. I was worried that if I switch to a different tracker, I will lose all of the historical data and all of the motivation to exercise.

Series 3 solves most of my concerns. Apple Health and Activity apps are just as good as Fitbit’s dashboard. The battery can go for about two days. Starting at 100% at 6 am, the battery is at about 70% by the end of the day with my normal usage which includes a workout. Plugging the watch in to charge while showering every morning extends battery life by about another day.

Notifications

Apple has yet to solve my primary pet peeve with notifications. Apple Watch mirrors phone notifications. It is possible to respond to notifications from messaging and VoIP apps from the watch directly, which is incredibly convenient. The only way to control which notifications are important and which aren’t is by enabling or disabling them by the app— notifications for the app can only be on or off.

My dream is to be able to control notifications by content, not by the app. I’d like to have a way to classify each notification as essential or unimportant. I imagine swiping left on a notification and tapping “Important,” “Un-important,” “Snooze for a week,” “Hide.” Siri can learn from this and organize my notifications accordingly.

That said, Apple Watch makes notifications more tolerable. They created a Siri watch face that proactively updates itself to show me the information it thinks I need. It is somewhat of a smarter equivalent of the Today screen on the iPhone. Rather than being statically configured, it dynamically organizes itself throughout the day to show you the most critical information. It is surprisingly useful despite increased battery utilization.

Some final thoughts

Series 3 Apple Watch was definitely worth the wait. While I hope Apple improves the intelligence surrounding the notifications, it is a future-proof wearable worthy of a purchase.