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Third Time's The Charm

Series 3, the third-generation Apple Watch, looks almost identical to the earlier models but packs a punch with its faster dual-core S3 processor

What do you use your Apple Watch for? That’s the question I ask Apple Watch owners whenever I meet them, and I see a whole host of answers. Fitness is a recurring theme, as is the convenience of seeing why the phone’s buzzing before you decide to actually fish it out of your bag or pocket. Yet others prefer it as a discreet alternative to the phone, in meetings or when they’re out partying. Whatever be the reason, Apple’s sold them in large numbers, making the Watch the number one watch in the world in a mere two and a half years of existence, leapfrogging 112-year old Rolex in the process.

Stands to reason then that Apple didn’t touch the basic winning formula for the third-generation Apple Watch, dubbed the Series 3. It looks almost identical to earlier models, so if you love or hate the look of the previous Apple Watches, expect more of the same, plus any straps you may have picked up for the earlier generation Watches still work with the latest Series 3 as well. It’s still water-resistant to a depth of 50 meters and has that bright 1000 nit OLED screen that keeps the display usable even in bright outdoor sunlight.

Under the hood is where the big jumps are to be found, with the new 70 per cent faster dual-core S3 processor which allows for capabilities like Siri talking aloud on the Watch instead of showing answers only on the screen. There’s the new W2 wireless chip for faster Bluetooth and Wi-Fi while consuming up to 50 per cent less battery than before, which means the Watch lasts a full day and then some. Performance is snappy, apps spring to life instantly and there’s a pleasing fluidity about using this smartwatch that is rare to see on any other wearable. This time around, there’s an extra sensor — a barometric altimeter — which allows the Watch to track elevation (sans iPhone) for a more accurate measure of how many calories you’re burning through the day. Speaking of which, the updated Heart Rate app not only does constant heart rate monitoring but also keeps tabs on your resting, walking and workout recovery heart rate, ready to alert you if it detects an unusually high heart rate while you aren’t active. I personally love the new Workout app, which now allows you to add exercises to the same workout. Now you can start a workout, say a run, and then without stopping it, add another exercise like a bike ride, and all these exercises will then be logged as one continuous workout without having to stop and measure them separately.

Yet, the big step forward this time around — the inclusion of LTE on the Apple Watch via an electronically ‘cloned’ copy of the SIM in your iPhone, an independent data and voice connection that allows you to use the Watch without your iPhone being around — isn’t arriving in India, at least not yet. eSIMs of this sort are a regulatory grey area, and until approvals and operator support is in place, buyers in India will have to settle for the non-LTE, GPS only variant of the Series 3. Bit of a pity really…the inclusion would have taken us that one step forward to the future Dick Tracy promised us years ago!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.




Tushar Kanwar

The author is Technology Columnist and Program Manager in Bengaluru, India

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