• March 19, 2023

Apple Watch 3: time for a new vocation

It’s time to talk to the doll. Apple has launched its new line of Series 3 watches complete with cellular capability.

The new smartwatches are already on sale, just in time for holiday shopping.

Apple Watch fans will find the Series 3 to be the complete replacement for the Apple Watch 2. It features many upgrades, including the ability to make calls from your wrist.

The watch allows you to make cellular calls to all major carriers in the US. The device supports data and voice and uses the same number as your iPhone.

Calls come at a price, they’ll add about $10 a month to your current wireless rate, but imagine the fun and chat options like comic detective Dick Tracy.

Apple’s new W2 wireless chip helps make calls work. Switch between Bluetooth, Wi-Fi networks and the watch itself by always searching for your iPhone first.

Calls can be dialed directly using the watch keypad or by touching an existing contact. Writing actual messages is limited to scribbling letters, tapping emoji, or dictating.

You can also have a voice conversation with Siri. You are no longer limited to just on-screen text responses. However, interacting with Siri without an iPhone nearby can be problematic.

While the watch is designed to free you from your phone, it requires your iPhone to help you with setup and app installation. Calls will not work with Android phones.

Most use the Apple Watch as a fitness tracker. New with the Series 3 is a barometric altimeter with an additional sensor on the GPS watch. Built-in GPS records the distance, speed, and route of your outdoor workouts.

The altimeter tracks elevation during the hilliest rides and highest climbs. It is also “sea proof” and safe to 50 meters.

Heart rate monitoring has been improved. More graphs are listed for all-day averages in resting heart rate and walking heart rate. Other graphs and averages for workouts are also listed, as are fitness offerings from Samsung Gear watches.

Workouts are easier to start and stop, or change on the fly. Runs can be automatically paused. Music controls appear in workouts with a quick swipe, and music playlists can be set to turn on automatically.

Those who want to listen to music to accompany their workout will find improved syncing with the WatchOS 4 operating system. Playlists can be added while the watch is charging. Most of the songs can be downloaded from your iTunes library.

Like most newer Apple products, wireless headphones are required to enjoy audio. AirPods are a good match for the watch.

While the Apple Series 3 has additional capabilities, it’s not a complete replacement for the iPhone. Replying to emails and messages isn’t easy, and there’s no camera. Your phone is still needed to set everything up and to add apps and other information.

Battery life can be an issue. Due to the limitations, phone calls may be severely restricted, as may GPS-assisted workouts. Wireless service costs and Apple Music add to the expense.

Apple Watch 2 users will find little difference in appearance between the old and new devices. The 3 has a red dot on the crown, the 2 does not. The size is almost the same. You can use your older bands associated with the earlier models.

The cellular version of the Series 3 will cost around $400. A stainless steel model will cost close to $600 and then there are the more luxurious Hermes models and ceramic edition priced at over $1,200.

Apple continues to improve its smartwatch offerings. While not revolutionary, Series 3 is the first to offer cellular capability with enhanced fitness apps. The tech giant hopes that consumers will find that now is the right time to buy one.

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