I’ve been using my new Apple Watch Series 4 for a week. There’s a lot to like and one thing that infuriates me.

Apple Watch Series 4: The Good Stuff

First, and most important in my mind, is the speed of the “S4 with 64-bit dual-core processor.” Apple says that it’s up to 2x faster, presumably over the S3, 32-bit processor in the S3 series. But where it really shines is in the pairing process. My original AW Series 0 seemed to take an eternity to pair or upgrade. The Series 4 feels a lot faster to set up than just 2x. This is just terrific.

Next, and high on my list, is the battery life. I realize that this battery is brand new, but I don’t recall, in my AW Series 0, going to bed with consistently 80+ percent battery life remaining. Apple seems to have done a great job with efficiencies in watchOS 5 on this new watch. That said, I haven’t had a chance to push the watch into a wider range of activities—those that gulp electrons.

AWS4 Infograph face

Infograph face. Image credit: Apple

The Infograph watch face, the one used to promote this new model, is just amazing. It’s my new “position #1” face, supplanting my geeky modular face back to #2. Perhaps there isn’t as much room for my calendar entries and the text for sunrise/sunset isn’t big enough to read easily. But no matter. It’s beyond cool. But then it’s also a matter of preference. My wife hates it. Our Jeff Gamet thinks it’s too busy. But I think it’s Spockian cool. It’s only available in watchOS 5 if you have an AW Series 4. It’s almost worth the upgrade all by itself.

There are some other niceties. The recessed side button looks and feels better. The semi-wrap-around display is gorgeous. I have the 44 mm model, and while the watch is no bigger, the display certainly is. The display, in pixels, went from 312 by 390 (42 mm) to 368 by 448 (44 mm). My congrats to Apple.

What Irritates Me

With each new version of watchOS, I thought, for sure, Apple would introduce the time in seconds to the digital displays of time. Or add it as a complication. I’ve been very upset about this omission over the years. All along, the time in hh:mm:ss has only been available in the Activity Digital face. So we know the Apple Watch can do it. The omission is especially egregious in the Astronomy face. I’ve made a fuss about this, and I’ve received reader complaints.

watchOS 4 Astronomy face.

Astronomy face. No customization. No hh:mm:ss

I can only describe this ongoing joke on Apple Watch customers as petulance by Apple.

Final Thoughts

The AWS4 is a remarkable piece of technology. When the electrical heart sensor is activated, it will flesh out a very nice set of health and activity sensors. I think the Apple Watch has a very bright future, and customers are beginning to realize the benefits based on estimated sales numbers. Now, can we please get hh:mm:ss sometime soon in the Astronomy face? It’s time.

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John: I’ve been a fan of the AW since the debut of Series 0. I pre-ordered mine in time enough to take it with me to the UK. It displaced my Breitling and I’ve never looked back. I believe I have owned every version of the device, and while the performance gains between Series 0 – 2 were marginal to modest, watchOS has steadily become more focused on health & fitness, connectivity and making at least some essential tasks effortless (like turn by turn directions when I’ve had to use car rentals, or checking gate updates when making tight connecting… Read more »

Old UNIX Guy

Sorry John – it’s just way more important for Apple to work on Memoji / Animoji / Updating the bagel emoji so that NYC bagel snobs don’t complain so much … than it is for Apple to work on things that would actually improve the functionality of their products.

Old UNIX Guy


So the worst thing you can come up with is that they don’t have seconds on the time? That is actually quite an endorsement. Seriously, I’m thinking of getting a pair of them for my wife and I and this helped me build a case for it. On top of that, the bit where you have ~80% battery at the end of the day was very reassuring. All of the online whining about how terrible the batteries are, the stories about having to charge it in the middle of the day, the people who claim to have returned the watch… Read more »


The infograph face has digital time with seconds! You can enable it above the 3 circular complications in the center.