In recent years, I would say that even since the emergence of the iPod in 2001, Apple began a progressive exploration of a range of products that, until then, were outside its scope – products that expand their reach beyond the traditional desktop – “mobile” devices. We don’t necessarily talk about telephony, as I say the iPod on its release was something outside the company’s usual trajectory – although we must thank Apple for its success in betting later on the iPhone and the iPad .
Steve Jobs was not very favorable to mobile devices – proof of this was the abrupt cancellation of the Newton when he returned to the company in the late nineties – because he understood that the appropriate technology to achieve a satisfactory user experience had not yet arrived. These statements are very much in line with those recently made by Tim Cook about dedicated Augmented Reality glasses – the technology was still missing. The birth of the iPhone came when all the technological convergence was ready to create something different from the rest. For the rest of us.
The iPod shuffle can be considered Apple’s first “wearable” – and the Watch still inherits much of it
The iPod evolved. It’s interesting to talk about this too: the technology came and the uses of the product changed because of how customers were using it. Having so many songs that could be synchronized with the computer made it perfect for going out, but also for doing sports. However, the device had to be smaller, lighter: iPod nano arrived, and iPod shuffle, Apple’s first washable devices . The company’s first contact with wearable technology and a first direction for the next steps: the arrival of the first Apple Watch, and the latest movements in a technology that is defining its uses as its generation passes by. With the arrival of this new Apple Watch Series 3 , the Apple watch reaches its technological maturity.
Apple Watch Series 3, but no LTE in Spain at the moment
This generation of Apple’s smart clock was launched with a differentiating feature : the inclusion of a virtual SIM inside the hardware itself, which allows it to connect to the network even without the iPhone nearby. This level of independence gives a very interesting feature not only to the clock, but also to the whole ecosystem, by having this Apple Watch as one more window to the digital world that now has a specialization in a new channel and offers the user new possibilities, in new places.
The LTE model is the only one with a steel case, so in Spain – for the moment – we will only have available the aluminium one
In Spain, however, we will not yet have available this new model of Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE – there is no availability yet from the operators within the data plans – so we will have to wait to buy this new model. This also alters the design of the watch to some extent – it is identical to the previous generation in size, weight and shape – but we will not have the characteristic “red dot” on the digital crown that marks the network connectivity. The Series 3 also leaves without availability the steel models that are the only ones sold with LTE, being those of aluminum case those that at the moment we can acquire ( not even in the Series 1, whose update has left only the aluminum models for sale ).
Siri will still be available on the Apple Watch Series 3 as long as we have the iPhone close by because as you know it needs Internet connectivity – but it will work exactly the same as we saw in the keynote on the LTE model: we will have the answers spoken just like that from the clock that takes full advantage of the improved speaker and microphone of the new device. All the hardware, at the same level of power and features is present in this Series 3 without LTE – but without connectivity when we take it away from the iPhone.
How the Apple Watch Series 3 differs from the Series 2
One of the most frequently asked questions in this very different generation is what differences it has from the previous model , the Apple Watch Series 2. As I have already mentioned, none at a physical level beyond the availability of the steel models ( of course all the straps and accessories will be compatible ), but at a hardware level there are changes: the first of them, and more remarkable, the new processor Apple S3 , the chip that has all the hardware architecture.
The improved Apple S3 CPU and other hardware changes – together with the watchOS 4 – round out the experience with the Watch in this generation
On a day-to-day basis, the interface is improved – noting how the scrolling between menus, the new dock in card format and the general navigation – is faster and with an instantaneous response to the touch interface. Application load time is improved perhaps by the increase in RAM for this generation, which has increased from 512 to 768 MB . The speed of the new S3 processor has not been announced by Apple, but in the previous generation it was located at 780 Mhz ( Dual-Core ) and now according to the company it is 70% faster ( and it is still Dual-Core ). Overall, the product is more rounded in terms of usability and in day-to-day user experience – no doubt powered by watchOS 4.0 , which also brings maturity to how we use the watch ( although I’m still missing a “dials” shop for developers to surprise us ).
One of the least publicized changes – although commented on in the keynote – is the inclusion of a new generation of the wireless chip, the Apple W2 . This chip is responsible for connectivity between devices, facilitating visibility between them and even improving Wi-Fi communications. In the Series 3 it is more evident for example the immediacy with which the AirPods or a PowerBeats3 connect instantly with the clock without errors or waiting times. As I said, watchOS also enhances this impression as it’s easier to choose ( or have it automatically chosen ) which headphones to use.
The W2 chip not only improves discovery between devices, it also optimizes energy efficiency and gives the clock more autonomy. In the Series 3, battery usage has been slightly improved – again the combination of watchOS and hardware – based mainly on operating system optimisations that squeeze every last mAh out of the batteries. With this new model, I’ve reached almost three days on a single charge, something unthinkable just a couple of years ago in other generations.
Another little-announced change is the update of the Bluetooth standard to 4.2 , which is essential for connecting to the Internet without having to pair with a Bluetooth antenna first. It also improves the security of the device, making it untraceable without user authorisation. It doesn’t provide the improvement in transfer rate and range of the latest 5.0 standard, but perhaps in a device like the Apple Watch it wouldn’t be so necessary as to deserve the price increase for incorporating it – at least for the time being.
GPS connectivity, along with response improvements in the watchOS interface make the Apple Watch perfect for workouts
The internal memory remains at 8GB ( 16GB in the model with LTE ), for music the limitation is 2GB although with watchOS we can finally synchronize several Apple Music lists – with a more than evident improvement in synchronization with the iPhone , possibly due to the incorporation of the W2 chip and changes in the operating system. The barometric altimeter is the new sensor incorporated in this Series 3, and will allow us to add altitude to our workouts for more precise monitoring and control – but at the moment the only application that uses it is Apple’s own Training app.
A mature generation in hardware and software
Without the availability of the LTE model, we cannot gauge the benefits of carrying a virtually autonomous iPhone device – although the hardware is the same in both versions at the operational and performance level. The improved speaker and microphone of this generation allows to hold conversations comfortably “from the wrist” without having to wear the watch near your mouth – as long as you are not in a noisy environment. Very useful in situations where we are not close enough to the mobile phone to answer it and want to have a quick conversation with someone.
The change from an original model or Series 1 will be much more noticeable in this new Apple Watch Series 3
Todo sobre el Apple Watch Series 3
If you already have an Apple Watch Series 2, the improvements in the hardware itself of this generation do not make much difference with that model – also helped by the possibilities that watchOS 4 brings and that both CPUs – the S2 and the S3 – are already powerful enough to move and manage the experience of use on a daily basis. If you have a Series 1 or an original model, the upgrade is certainly more justified as the improved interface response, water sports possibilities with it, improvements to the display ( OLED with 1000 nits in Series 2 and Series 3 ) and other features shared by both generations bring a big change to the product.
Perhaps it is not yet the indispensable device as we have the iPhone today – although it was not itself once, it should not be forgotten – but the day to day with an Apple Watch makes us much easier certain connections with our digital world that make us less consumers of the phone and more selective with what we want to see on it – thanks to the preview of notifications and apps on the wrist. And without a doubt, for all of us who do sports, an Apple Watch with music, GPS and apps is something that is appreciated not only as an information monitor, but also as an aid when practicing each workout. Without a doubt, something that defines this generation of Series 3 is the term maturity – and not only of the Apple Watch itself, but also of how we users can use it thanks to the cohesion between software and hardware.