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Apple Watch 8 – what should I expect?

I’ve waited a long time for my first Apple Watch – what’s a few more days?

Apple Watch 8
image courtesy of author

Worth the wait

The Apple Watch, oddly, has passed me by. In the early days, what, now some seven years ago now, I really did not get Apple Watch at all.

By that time, I was already deep in what I know is now called, the Apple ecosystem. I had Macs, an iPhone and various subscriptions to Apple add-ons. I was an Apple Music lover, paid for extra iCloud storage…I am sure you get the picture, I was Apple all the way.

Only two of their products had kind of passed me by, and that was iPad & Apple Watch.

I have owned iPads – I have an iPad mini sitting on my desk right now. It’s just they have never truly become a part of my workflow. I like macOS. I like drag and drop, I like a desktop and proper multitasking. I love numerous windows and tabs being open, all at once. All in all, I am a Mac boy. Possibly, if Stage Manager proves effective, I may be tempted over to iPad, but I have my M2 MacBook Air covering my mobile needs.

But, Apple Watch, now that is an altogether different story.

Third time lucky

Oddly, I have bought two Apple Watches, it’s just neither have been for me! Both have been gifts – one for the daughter and one for my girlfriend. As such, I have not, first hand, derived the benefit of wearing one, and being part of the Apple Watch club.

That is all about to change, though. After last week’s Far Out Apple event, I have finally placed an order for my own Apple Watch! As you can see, I went for the newest model, the Apple Watch 8, with a 45mm face, in Silver Aluminium with a midnight Solo Loop band.

I am not altogether sure what to expect, or better put, what I am expecting from it. It appears that Apple Watch wearers become totally obsessed by them, though. From what I can tell, it is a hard run thing between iPhone & Apple Watch as to which device is more important to them.

So, with a 10-day wait until my watch arrives, here is what I am hoping it gives me.

Typical Apple…

Apple’s design, was the first thing that pulled me in. Apple Watch looks as if it should be equally tactile and beautiful. A bright, vibrant, always-on display, with those narrow borders… I think the wait for that alone will have been worth it.

I can see why the loops become such a statement as well. And I’m also looking forward to swapping out watch faces as the whim take me. There look to be some beauties to choose from. Apple Watch seems pretty tough and robust, so the chances of it getting broken in my mundane, day-to-day life seem slim!

A new me

As a younger me, I was all about sport and training. I almost made it to the pro ranks as a cricketer, and then went on to compete nationally as a bodybuilder. So exercise, and training have been a major part of my life.

For a few years, I got a little lazy, but through lockdown, I once again started to enjoy, getting outside and doing something – anything that was away from the desk and that was outdoors worked for me. So, the health benefits are something I hope to benefit from.

Now, in my middle year’s shall we tactfully say, health, and trying to do just a bit to look after myself, once again matters. It will never be the central part of my day, as it once was. I have other priorities now, but doing the basics each day does matter.

Health apps

I have always been a motivated person, and have never relied on a personal trainer to tell me what I should be doing. I am hoping with the added data I can check on, though, it will drive me on that little bit more in my sessions.

To know my heart is in OK shape, using the ECG app is neat. And, having just got over a really nasty bout of COVID, being able to monitor my blood oxygen is another app I’m looking forward to understanding and using. Breathing, as it turns out, is kinda handy!

The new temperature sensor, clearly, won’t be any use to me currently, but who knows how Apple will develop the sensor over the next few years. At least Apple Watch 8 has the sensor, and I am pretty certain they’ll be looking to iterate further still.

Fitter is better

The Workout app interests me. What are the Workout Views all about? Being a man who enjoys data, gadgets & apps, being able to monitor my heart rate zones, and better track my cardio sessions, sounds cool.

I think I get 3-months free Fitness+ with the watch. I may as well use it, and checkout the audio-guided walks, and may be, even the meditation workouts.

Sleep

Sleeping – now this is something I know I need help with. I am a light sleeper, and have never slept that much. I am late to bed and fairly early to rise. Generally, I think I get around 5 or 6 hours decent sleep a night.

I have never tracked or monitored my sleep. May be, it’ll help. It might just shock me in to trying to do better. I am a competitive soul, so give me numbers to beat, and I will typically not be able to resist.

How it works, and what data it gives me, I can’t wait to find out. Supposedly, it measures my REM sleep (something I know is important from my time as a bodybuilder), Core & Deep sleep. It will also let me know how many times I have woken up each night, too.

Most folks, I know, don’t seem to use this app. The reasons cited include wearing an Apple Watch to bed is uncomfortable, and also that they tend to charge their watches at night. The battery is improved on this version of the watch, and it also boasts an improved low-power mode as well. I’m certainly going to give it a crack!

Safer

Apple is playing a clever little game with us at present. As if we were not paranoid enough about leaving home without our iPhone or Apple Watch, now, I think they are trying to make us think we are just reckless if we do!

Last week, a big part of both the iPhone & Apple Watch unveil, was centred on safety. Fall detection has been with us a while already, but the big, new kid on the block was now Crash Detection.

Labelled as ‘innovation we hope you’ll never need’, Apple clearly wants to make sure we have a device with us at all times. Apple Watch 8 can now measure if you’ve been in a severe crash. Using the combined power of an improved 3-axis gyroscope with high dynamic range and a new, high g-force accelerometer, microphone, barometer, and GPS.

It can measure up to 256G’s, which is a huge impact, and, using an advanced sensor-fusion algorithm trained on over 1 million hours of real-world crash data. In the event of a bad crash, Crash Detection will be ready to trigger the emergency services for you.

An easier life

Although, I didn’t opt to spend the extra £100 for the cellular model, it seems I should be able to leave my phone in my pocket a bit more, now with Apple Watch part of my daily carry.

I can’t remember the last time I took a debit card out with me; it always seemed it was just one more thing to get lost. I love Apple Pay, and with Apple Watch, that experience should get even better, quicker & easier.

It appeals to me that I will be able to make calls, send & receive iMessage and stream music & podcasts (to my new AirPods Pro 2)…and of course use Apple Pay without so much as looking at my phone. It looks as if even navigation can be used on Apple Watch.

I will need some convincing as to how well I will adapt and get used to a 45mm screen. If you’ve read me at all over the past few months, you’ll know I love a big screen! So reading a message on my wrist…hmmmm…only time will tell, I guess.

Wrapping up

The fact I have waited so long for my first Apple Watch, seems almost appropriate. This watch is now as good as it is going to get. The battery life is reasonable, the processor fast, and any early niggles with the health apps have all been sorted.

It’s a brand-new part of the Apple ecosystem that is about to open up to me. I can’t wait to see what it really holds in store, and how much benefit I end up getting from Apple Watch.

I’d love to know, though, what have your experiences been? Help me feel at ease that, as I wait for my watch to arrive, that I’ve made the right decision. Are you an Apple Watch devotee? What are the biggest benefits you’ve found?

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