Apple Watch 6
I’ve only had my Apple Watch 6 for a very short while and have already got some sports test accuracy results to show for when I have the time to write them up. For now, I wanted to very briefly reflect on the tech that seems to have been largely overlooked. Indeed in the build-up to the AW6 launch, I was a keen reader of some of the ‘leaks’, I thoroughly enjoyed them and added a few forecasts myself (Apple Watch 6 Forecasts – not too shabby btw). One thing I noticed was that there were only a very small number of sites that had ‘original ideas or content’..surprising as those few original ideas soon became multiplied across many other outlets. Hopefully, I can do my bit for original, sports-related content on the Apple Watch 6 in 2021.
Here are some things that commentators initially missed (not all, but many)
- WiFi – The Wifi capability of the Apple Watch 6 (not SE) has been increased and is now Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz & 5GHz. That’s no big deal as it’s just the 5GHz frequency that’s been added. It’ll affect relatively few people but I’m one of them. Hopefully, my Home Mesh WiFi will endure yet another new device and serve it at far greater speeds than even the Starship Enterprise could manage.
- Optical HR – OK, yes every commentator said that the oHR unit can now do SpO2 blood measurements. As far as I know, only dcrainmaker and myself initially pointed out this means that it’s an entirely new oHR unit, indeed even Apple says there are only 2 gens of the oHR sensor which sounds wrong to me – visually there are 3, surely. The repercussions of the new oHR unit could well be better power management and/or better accuracy for regular HR/HRV readings…or worse – I’m on it. Either way, don’t worry, watch this space. (Edit: first HR tests look very good across several sports.)
- The U1 Ultra Wideband chip seems largely to have gone unnoticed too. This is essentially going to be used to ‘find/do stuff’ over short distances..might that be linked to the leak of the new Apple Tags…err, maybe, definitely. They will be like Chipolo but better and you’ll never lose your keys again. Of course, you won’t need your keys because the AW6 may also use UWB to support Apple Car Key.
- OK, the Fast Charging battery was mentioned quite a bit but the new charge rates of 1 hour to 80% and 1.5 hours to 100% are still an improvement of 30 minutes and 60minutes, respectively, over the previous version. This means there is a new battery, either in full or part. Part of the overall battery ‘solution’ could have been replaced in favour of a faster charging battery tech. Even ignoring the tech an improved battery clearly means that Apple is taking SLEEP TRACKING more seriously than before as you can now probably perform a quick evening charge to top up your battery for wearing overnight. From my experience though this will NOT be a practical solution. Some people will be that organised but most won’t be…and they will eventually stop using sleep tracking and leave the watch charging overnight. Apple NEEDS a better battery life than specified by the (unchanged) 18 hours (Old battery specs, 44mm, 296 mA·h, 3.814 V, 1.129 W·h). My suspicion is that we will see that the new battery is slightly better than it seems on paper and so disabling things like SpO2 WILL save battery and hence make longer than 18 hours more achievable….the truth will be in testing to whether or not that will take us through the night at the end of a sporty day.
- As many have said, the real game-changers for Apple Watch, this time around, are linked to the ecosystem around it. Most notably the Fitness+ and One subscription services which will be money-spinners and cashflow generators for Apple. But don’t forget increased device-side sales that will come from decoupling Apple Watch ownership from iPhone ownership – meaning that your kids or your frail grandparents can have an Apple Watch controlled through your phone/account. For your kids, this will prove you are an untrusting, control freak and for your frail grandparents, this will (unfortunately) just be a money-spinner for Apple as they will probably forget to charge it and the fall-detection or SpO2 alerts just won’t happen – I’m half-joking there about the elderly loved ones in my family…but you get the more serious point that tech is only as good as the user. Either way, good tech or bad tech – it still will be tech that sells.
Apple Watch 6 – My First Thoughts
After finally buying AW6 and after finally getting it all updated and working I’m enjoying the rest of my day (what’s left of it). It’s a commercially good move for Apple (obvs) but unless my accuracy tests for GPS/oHR over the next week show improvements I’m just going to shrug and go on a quest to find the prettiest watch face.