Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #367

It’s no secret I’m an Apple Watch fanboy. I said so in my review of the first-generation Apple Watch back in 2015. And, in 2018 I called Apple Watch Series 3 “indispensable,” saying that “no analog watch will ever come close.”

Before I tell you how much I love the latest Apple Watch, here’s a bit of background: I like analog wristwatches. Before I got my first Apple Watch, I enjoyed wearing different timepieces for different occasions and collected more than a dozen of them over the years. I just didn’t think I’d be happy having to wear the same timepiece every day.

I was wrong. I have not worn a mechanical watch since I got the first Apple Watch in 2015.

5 years and 4 Apple Watches later, I still feel like a dork talking into my wrist in public—on a phone call or dictating an iMessage—but it’s so much fun (and so cool), I don’t care anymore.

What I Like About Series 5

While there was nothing wrong with my Series 4 Apple Watch, the Series 5 had several features I found enticing. First and foremost is the Always-On Retina display, which resolves one of my pet peeves—having to wiggle my wrist or tap the watch face in order to see the time or other information (and there’s a lot of other info available). Glancing at my wrist and seeing the watch face without touching it or waving my hand around to wake it was a revelation.

Second and almost as important is that even with an Always-On Retina display, Series 5’s battery lasts longer. I often found my Series 4 Apple Watch running low on juice by late afternoon or early evening. My Series 5, on the other hand, usually has 30 or 40% when it goes on the charger at bedtime.

Mine’s an Apple Watch Series 5 with GPS + Cellular ($499), so I pay an additional $10 a month (to T-Mobile) for its data plan. But, it’s worth it to me to be able to leave my iPhone at home when I walk the dog, hike, swim, or do almost anything.

And since the Series 5 is water-resistant to 50 meters, I don’t have to worry about it when I shower or swim.

What I Like about watchOS 6

Two more things I love about my Apple Watch that are not exclusive to Series 5:

One is using the watch as a remote shutter control for my iPhone camera. The watch displays a preview so I can trigger the shutter remotely from up to 30 feet away.

This is what I see on my Apple Watch...

This is what I see on my Apple Watch…

I tapped the big white shutter button on the watch and this is the resulting photo.

I tapped the big white shutter button on the watch and this is the resulting photo.

And two is the new (in watchOS 6) Noise app, which alerts me when ambient noise reaches 90 decibels. I didn’t realize how much or how often I needed ear protection; having a watch that monitors ambient noise and warns me if it’s too loud is priceless.

The Noise app alerts me when the ambient noise level reaches dangerous levels.

The Noise app alerts me when ambient noise reaches dangerous levels.

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Bob: Your thoughts are highly appreciated. As a fan of the AW myself, I can relate to your having never taken if off, having donned the first one back in 2015. Although I had planned to get Series 5, I’m still using my series 4 (I’m upgrading all of my family’s iPhones this year, apart from mine – still happy with my iPhone X – during a succession of birthdays, so have put my upgrades on the back burner and might just wait for Series 6 at this point). One of the greatest features of the AW is something that… Read more »

Lee Dronick

Yes loud noises! And the damage from them is cumlative.

Lee Dronick

I spent half of my life in the Navy listening to big guns, little guns, big engines, sonar, aircraft, and ratchet jaw shipmates, but like you mine isn’t bad for someone my age. I have lost some and mostly it is in the voice range, but I can hear an emergency vehicle’s siren long before many folks and the kitchen clock ticking.