This episode of Featured App of the Week focuses on the new Apple Watch 6 smartwatch, the WatchOS 7 operating system, and what you need to understand about the Apple Watch in general (including how it works in conjunction with the Apple iPhone). This episode also covers the differences between the GPS Only and GPS + Cellular versions of the latest Apple Watch models.
Plus, you'll learn about useful features, like Sleep Monitoring, Blood Oxygen Level monitoring, Emergency SOS, and Fall Detection. To view a feature-by-feature comparison of all currently available Apple Watch models (compiled by Apple), visit Apple's website at www.appel.com/watch/compare.
To read a text-based transcript of this podcast episode, visit www.FeaturedAppPodcast.com, and to learn more about host Jason R. Rich, please visit his website at www.JasonRich.com.
Thanks for listening!
Featured App of the Week – Episode #32
Welcome back to the Featured App of the Week podcast. I’m Jason Rich.
Earlier this month, Apple introduced the latest version of the Apple Watch, which has new technology built in, including a Blood Oxygen Level meter and related tracking.
At the same time, older Apple Watch models have the ability to be upgraded, for free, to the new WatchOS 7 operating system. This gives those devices a nice collection of new features and functions. So the question becomes, should you spend at least $399 to upgrade to the latest Apple Watch 6?
First, there are a few things you need to understand about the Apple Watch. The casing comes in two sizes – 40mm and 44mm. This refers to the size of the watchface screen.
Next, the Apple Watch is available in a lower cost aluminum version, as well as a more expensive stainless steel or titanium version.
When purchasing a new Apple Watch 6, for example, you can also choose between a handful of casing colors, such as gold, rose gold, silver, blue, space gray, graphite, and red. There are also dozens of watchband styles to choose from that are available from Apple.
Hundreds of often less expensive watchband styles are available from third parties. For the most part, these are all cosmetic options that determine how the watch will look on your wrist. These decisions also help determine the price of the watch, which starts at $399.00 for the Apple Watch 6, but the price can go up considerably.
In terms of the watch’s functionality, the big decision you need to make is to go with the GPS Only or GPS + Cellular version. When you go with the less expensive GPS Only version, the Apple Watch needs to be paired with your own Apple iPhone, and for the watch to handle all of its communication-related features and functions, for example, it’s required that the watch be within about 33 feet of the phone at all times.
If you go with the GPS + Cellular version of the Apple Watch, the cost of the watch will be about $100.00 more upfront. You then need to pay about $10.00 per month for the watch’s own cellular service, which will be an add-on to your existing iPhone’s cellular plan.
A GPS + Cellular Apple Watch is a stand-alone device that’s able to make and receive calls, send and receive emails and text messages, access GPS data for navigation, and handle all smartwatch-related tasks on its own, without needing to be within close range of the iPhone it’s paired with.
The GPS + Cellular version of the Apple Watch can also be used with the new Family Setup feature of the WatchOS 7 operating system. This allows for multiple watches to be paired with the same iPhone, and for those watches to be tracked and managed remotely. As a result, if you want to get an Apple Watch for your child, or for an older parent whom you care for, for example, those people do not need their own iPhone, and you can monitor the watch wear’s location remotely.
The GPS + Cellular version of the Apple Watch can also stream content, such as music, podcasts, and audiobooks directly from the Internet, and Siri is always available as a voice assistant. From a safety standpoint, while wearing the Apple Watch just about anywhere in the world, including your own shower or bathtub, you can take advantage of the Emergency SOS and fall detection features.
For example, if you’re wearing your Apple Watch and experience any type of emergency, simply press and hold down the watch’s side button for several seconds and the watch will automatically call 9-1-1 and serve as a speakerphone so you can communicate with the 9-1-1 operator. The watch will automatically transmit your exact location, and then send an emergency text message to up to five of your emergency contacts.
Meanwhile, if you happen to take a fall and then are unresponsive for about one minute, the watch will automatically alert 9-1-1 as well as up to five of your emergency contacts and share your exact location along with an alert message.
When you have a GPS + Cellular version of the Apple Watch, these two features will work almost anywhere in the world where the watch can access a cellular signal. These features do work with a GPS Only version of the Watch, but for the watch to make the emergency calls, for example, it needs to be within about 33 feet from the iPhone it’s paired with. Again with the GPS + Cellular version of the watch, these features can work on their own.
One of the most appealing things about the Apple Watch is that it’s chock full of fitness, health, communications, productivity, entertainment, and medical-related features and functionality, which can be fully customized to meet your personal needs.
For example, thousands of digital watchfaces are available that continuously displays various pieces of information, beyond just the time and date. You can also customize your own watchfaces to display personalized information along with your favorite photos.
The watchface I created in about five minutes showcases the time, the date, the current temperature, along with a slideshow of photos featuring my dog Rusty.
Some people use their Apple Watch simply as a convenient second screen in conjunction with their iPhone. For example, they can see Called ID information when receiving an incoming call or preview a text message on the watch’s screen without needing to pick up and look at their iPhone’s screen.
However, for people who are health and fitness minded, there are all sorts of specialized features, functions, and optional apps that monitor and track workouts and health-related data in real-time, including your heart rate, ECG data, blood oxygen level, speed of movement, and calories burned, for example.
The WatchOS 7 version of the operating system also now includes a feature-packed sleep monitor and more powerful fitness and movement tracking tools that are specific to the types of workouts or exercises you’re doing.
With the Siri built in digital assistant, much of your interaction with the Apple Watch can be done with a series of quick on-screen taps and by using voice commands, which makes using the watch more efficient.
If you’re investing in an Apple Watch for the first time and you have the money, I’d recommend purchasing either the GPS + Cellular version of the new Apple Watch 6 or slightly less expensive Apple Watch SE.
However, if you want to save money, you could buy one of the older Apple Watch models, such as the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple Watch Series 4, or Apple Watch Series 5. Understand, however, that some of the features I’ve discussed, as well as some others, are not available in the older watch models.
Also, regardless of which Apple Watch model you choose, I’d recommend going with the GPS + Cellular version, so the watch can be used autonomously from your iPhone.
Keep in mind, if you purchase a GPS Only version of the Apple Watch, you can’t later upgrade to GPS + Cellular later - without buying an entirely new watch.
I recommend that you determine, in advance, what you want the Apple Watch to do, and what features and functions will be most useful to you personally. Then, based on your budget and personal preferences, choose an Apple Watch model that fits your needs.
If you’re already an avid Apple Watch user, and you’re thinking about upgrading to the Apple Watch 6, look carefully at the new features and functions offered.
Determine if the added Blood Oxygen Level meter and always on Retina display, for example, are worth the added investment. You may find that the added functionality you want simply requires you to do the free operating system upgrade, from WatchOS 6 to WatchOS 7, on your existing Apple Watch.
In my opinion, the GPS Only version of any Apple Watch serves as a glorified second screen to your nearby iPhone. However, when you go with the GPS + Cellular version of the watch, it gives the watch more freedom and capabilities wherever you happen to be, and whether or not the watch is in close proximity to your iPhone.
The GPS + Cellular version of the Apple Watch 6 is definitely the most powerful and feature packed smartwatch available from Apple.
The lowest suggested retail price for this version of the watch is $499.00 for the 40mm casing or $529.00 for the 44mm casing. This price goes up from there, depending on the watchband you choose.
Also, add $3.99 per month or $79.00 upfront for two years of AppleCare+, and an additional $10.00 per month for the watch’s cellular service from a wireless service provider.
To see an online comparison between all Apple Watch models, visit Apple’s website at: www.apple.com/watch/compare, or visit any Apple Store or Apple authorized dealer.
Well that’s it for this edition of the Featured App of the Week podcast. As always, if you found this information useful, please review the podcast, tell your friends about it, and don’t forget to subscribe. A text-based transcript of this episode is available, for free, from www.FeaturedAppPodcast.com.
Also, I’m happy to say that in addition to being available from Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Overcast, and several other popular podcast directories, Featured App of the Week can now be heard via Amazon Music / Audible, and can be accessed using a voice command with the Alexa virtual assistant.
Until next time, I’m Jason Rich. Thanks for listening.