Time keeping is a complicated process. Humans mastered time keeping somewhere around the 14th century and it’s second generation (lets call it series 2) came at around 1656. It was called the pendulum clock.
But we wanted to check time while on the move. These old clock where huge and couldn’t be moved around easily. Hence the pocket watch was invented. This was basically to keep time during the war. We had too much weapons and wanted to try it out on each other. Military leaders wanted simple designs that would help them launch timely attacks. Sigh.
Here is a fun fact. The first wrist watches were only worn by women and it was more decorative than for time keeping. This was the starting of watches being something fashionable along side the main function of keeping time.
Watches have since then evolved into more and more complicated piece of hardware integrating design, complexity, workmanship, precision, design and has been even more perfected by the Swiss. Rest is history.
In 2019, the world saw something spectacular. The Apple Watch sold more than 30 million devices and overtook the forever leading Swiss watch industry. It was unprecedented. The difference wasn’t even close. The Swiss sold around 21 million and the Apple Watch well over 30 million watches. Can a smartwatch be loved more than a traditional time keeping device?
Apple Watch is a computer. It’s a fully functional computer that keeps time around your wrist.
When Apple introduced the First Apple Watch (series 0), I still remember critics calling it unattractive or a definite failure since companies like Motorola had already sort of perfected a smartwatch which even had a round watchface like any other wrist watch.
So what differentiated the Apple Watch?
For me it was a combination of great hardware and even more amazing software. My first Apple Watch was series 0 and it was beautiful. You fall in love right when you pair the watch. It’s a process you want to do again and again. Unlike phones that you bring up to your face when needed, a watch is always on your wrist. Apple while designing the Apple Watch understood the basics behind wearing a watch alongside the technology. This is where most smartphone manufacturers failed. Some focused purely on design whereas others on software.
Apple is a master at both.
The Apple Watch crown is the single most amazing piece of hardware that came out in the last decade. Why? Because it keeps the watch keeping design to the original. Each turn of the dial sends a small vibration from the haptic sensor inside the watch to bring alive the traditional dial aesthetics.
So why series 6 again? Why didn’t I write this years earlier?
Every product goes through its evolutionary cycle. The 6th generation Apple Watch is the closest I have seen this technology get to perfection. From ironing out issues like frozen touchscreens on Series 0/1 to making hardware changes like better colour coating, 6th gen is the closest we can get to a perfect smartwatch.
So what can your Apple Watch do?
The Apple Watch S6 has a blood oxygen sensor which measures your oxygen saturation (SpO2). You ask any medical people out there why this is important and they’ll tell you. Oxygen saturation is the fraction of oxygen-saturated hemoglobin relative to the total hemoglobins in the human blood. An alert is sent out when your SpO2 drops below 90%.
Although until this is certified by the FDA in the US, you cannot fully trust the data from it. As per Apple, it’s a wellness feature. But I trust Apple. They rarely advertise a feature without extensive tests. AirPower (wireless charging mat) getting cancelled is one example.
Yes, the Apple Watch can measure your electrocardiogram. Also known as EKG, the watch can detect early signs of Afib. In addition to that, you can export a PDF version of your ECG graph to your family doctor. Can you imagine doing that a couple of years back? If you wanted an ECG, you’d have to go physically to a hospital, remove your clothes, have wires connected to your chest. It’s a leap in terms of technology. When you see that you can take an ECG at home, you know you’re living in the future. People using the Series 4 or upwards can use the ECG now in the UAE as it’s been cleared for general use.
Check your surrounding noise levels.
The Apple Watch monitors sound levels, sending out a warning when you are exposed to dangerous levels of sounds to protect your ears in the long term. We don’t generally realize that loud sounds are damaging our ears beyond repair as we age. I tried it and it was so useful.
Any smartwatch with a microphone can implement this, but its the execution what matters. You can also use this to find the quietest room at your home. Very helpful if you are looking for some extra productivity.
Detecting a fall.
Apple Watch can detect a fall and call the emergency services even without any physical input. It’s literally the only reason to get the watch for some, so no further comments on that. You would need the LTE (cellular) version of the watch if you are not carrying your phone for this to work.
You might be now thinking, that’s it?
It has tons of other neat features including a timer that automatically starts when you wash your hands for 20 seconds and keep tracks of how many times you washed your hands a day/week. No input required there too.
The watch uses machine learning to track your sleep and during the sleep it can monitor your vital signs and give you a report of it in the morning. All without installing a bunch of third party apps.
The watch has an ‘always on altimeter’ that measures your altitude in real-time when you are trekking or rock climbing.
The watch can track all your physical activities and provide reminders and goals to challenge yourself or your friends.
The watch can monitor your workouts and give you a precise data on it.
You can use Apple Pay that you already use on your iPhone, so that you can peacefully go grocery shopping without your wallet or your phone.
If these are not enough reasons for you to buy the Apple Watch, I’m going to tell you a killer feature that will surprise you.
It tells “your time”. The Apple Watch is representation of human technological excellence and a huge reminder that we are in the future.
Last week, I went to the Apple Store to check out the new bands which came out with the Series 6. The solo loop band even though is super comfortable, you’ll have some trouble removing it everyday as you still need to charge this watch after 24 hours of use. Charging takes less than an hour to get you all the juice required for the day.
The reason Apple Watch can do all this is because of the tight integration of all features into the health app. It’s just one app that collects all this data. It’s all available on a touch. Single touch.
The Apple Watch is literally like having a doctor on your wrist. There is this sense of confidence that a small device is monitoring your vitals 24x7 to let you know your body is doing well right on your wrist. And it’s beautiful, bold and elegant.
Wearables market is no longer fragmented. There is absolutely nothing that comes close to what Apple is offering in this segment. That’s the truth.
Thanks for reading. This article was supposed to be published in a leading newspaper in UAE, unfortunately the editor felt like it’s not up to the mark. What do you think of this write up? Leave your comments. Thanks for supporting my writing.