Apple Watch: Seven Years On

With the announcement of the latest update to the Apple Watch line, I started wondering just how long it’s been that I’ve had mine. A little bit of spelunking in my Gmail got me the answer: 7 years. That’s pretty surprising, honestly. Am I still happy with it? Do I want to get a new one?

First, the happiness scale. Overall, I don’t have a ton of complaints, though I don’t know how much I’m really putting the watch to use. For reference, I’ve got a series 1, so it doesn’t get any older than what I’m using. I put it on the charger each evening before I go to sleep, and then I put it on first thing in the morning. It usually runs out of batteries about 14-15 hours after I’ve charged it. During the day, I use the watch to track my activity level. It doesn’t always do a perfect job knowing when I’ve been active and when I haven’t, and that’s an irritation, though nothing to the point that makes me want to get a new watch. I get updates from Facebook Messenger and iMessages, and Ring lets me know whenever someone’s at the front door. One of the most important things I use my watch for is to ping my iPhone, so I can find it when I lose it. (This is a regular occurrence.)

In theory, I should be able to use Siri on the watch, but I’ve found that it really struggles to do that, and so I usually don’t try to put it to the test. There are a number of apps on the watch that I also don’t use, probably because they don’t seem to work all that well on my older model.

I would like to use my watch to track my sleep, but I’ve been reluctant to do it, just because I haven’t really thought about when to charge the watch, since I charge it over night. That said, I searched a bit online to see how people handle the charging time, and the suggestion is to just charge it before you go to sleep. I might give that a shot, though I’m not sure how well the battery will hold up. A seven year old battery is already doing well just to be chugging along.

Having my watch on means I’m pretty much always available, for better or for worse. If someone calls my phone, it almost always rings on my watch as well. Is that healthy? I’m not sure, to be honest. Thirty years ago, someone could call you, and if you weren’t home, you didn’t answer. If you didn’t want to answer, they wouldn’t know you weren’t home. Now? If I don’t answer, it’s likely because I’m busy, but I think there’s still a higher expectation of availability. And ten years ago, if you didn’t answer your email right away, there wasn’t a big expectation that you would, because you might just be away from your computer for a while. Now? I feel like those lines are much blurrier, and the truth is that having a smart watch only fuzzes them more.

Enough for me not to have it? I don’t think so, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.

So seven years in, am I going to buy a new smart watch? After all, Apple just came out with the Series 9. It does a few more things, and I’m sure it would handle some of what I do more effectively, but I’m going to stick with what I’ve got for now. It works well enough. If I get to the point where the battery’s not up to snuff anymore, I’ll explore new options, but for now, I just don’t see enough difference for me to want to consider the additional expense.

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