It’s been just about a year since Apple released their second version of the Apple Watch, dubbed as the Series 2. Today, Apple announced the latest details of their newest version of their smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 3. You’ll remember that the Apple Watch Series 2 (review here) was an enlightening jump over the Series 1 with waterproofing and GPS tracking, but what is going to make athletes around the world consider buying the Series 3?
Apple wants the Series 3 to become the ultimate smartwatch for athletes. And, they’re hoping that built-in cellular capability alongside releasing an updated GPS only Series 3 Watch is going to be what lures you in to buying one.
Filtering through all of the jargon, we’ve highlighted the features that actual athletes will actually care about. Apple still has a partnership with Nike through the release of the Series 3 Nike+ Edition, which provides new looks and the Nike Run Club Coach feature that helps motivate you and coach you through your workout. Whether you like to crush your workout every day or wear your Apple Watch while you play, here are the new features that you will actually care about and one big feature that won’t be included.
1Enhancements to the Heart Rate Monitor
According to Tim Cook at Apple’s September event, the Apple Watch is the “most used heart rate monitor in the world”. In the new Watch iOS, there will be new enhancements to the heart rate app that will display your heart rate on the main screen and add new heart tracking capabilities.
Athletes will be able to not only see their resting heart rate data, but they will also be able to see their recovery heart rate data. This will give you more insight and data into how your fitness levels are improving over time, which will be encouraging and motivating to athletes that are pushing themselves to the limit every day.
Another heart rate tracking feature with the Series 3 will be it’s ability to consistently track your heart rate rhythm and notifying you when the device detects a high heart rate when you’re not active. Through monitoring your heart’s rhythm, the Series 3 will be able to detect irregular heart rates as well as Atrial Fibrillation, which goes undiagnosed and affects 10s of millions of people in the United States alone.
2Tracking Enhancements/Apple Heart Study App
The Apple Watch Series 3 won’t only sync with your wireless provider, it will also sync with tons of gym equipment through it’s Gym Sync application. Now, you can pair your Series 3 with connected gym equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, and exercise bikes to accurately monitor all of your workout data while you crush your workout.
And, Apple includes tracking for a slew of new workout forms including High Interval Intensity Training, arguably the most popular form of exercise amongst elite athletes and fitness junkies.
In an effort to continue developing the best heart rate monitor on the market, Apple will include a new app called Apple Heart Study. Working closely with Stanford Medicine and the FDA, this application works to analyze arrhythmias and is available in the App Store soon. This is an amazing feature
3Built In Cellular Capability
As mentioned above, the Apple Watch Series 3 allows you the freedom to go anywhere with it’s built-in cellular capability. Now, instead o bringing your iPhone with you when you workout, you can use the Series 3 as a standalone cellular device. You can go for a run with the watch and continue to stay connected, leave your phone at the beach while you catch some waves, or leave your phone in your locker as you crush your daily WOD.
The cellular capability of the Apple Watch Series 3 expands the capabilities of the watch, including answering important calls while leaving your phone at home. Through sharing the same cellular number as your iPhone, you can now pick up important calls without carrying your phone around while you workout. As phone sizes are becoming bigger, this will be a nice feature for athletes that don’t like to haul their phone around.
However, athletes need to be aware that they will need to pay a monthly rate to their cellular carrier (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint) to add cellular connectivity to their Apple Watch Series 3. This little bummer will make you fork out a monthly fee to make you unlock the power of your Series 3.
4Streamable Apple Music
Now that the Apple Watch has cellular connectivity, athletes will be able to stream more than 40 million songs with the Apple Watch Series 3 via their wrist. The Apple Music app on the Series 3 allows athletes to access apple music and apple radio stations such as Beats 1 through a smooth and fluid screen face due to a 70% faster processor than the Series 2.
On top of being able to stream music, the Series 3 also allows athletes to access Siri to play their music while working out. You can put in song requests, shuffle playlists, and switch radio stations all by talking to Siri through your Series 3.
5Included Barometric Altimeter
Added to the Apple Watch Series 3 is a Barometric Altimeter, which will enhance the capability of the Series 3’s ability to accurately track flights of stairs climbed and elevations gained when working out.
In turn, the Series 3’s included altimeter will more accurately track your runs, hikes, cycling, mountain biking, and even provides new metrics for people who want to track their activity when they’re skiing or snowboarding. The addition of the altimeter, combined with the GPS tracking and cellular capability, puts the Series 3’s fitness tracking on par now with smartwatch beasts like the Garmin Fenix 5 series without all of the bulk.
Despite adding all of the equipment to make the Apple Watch Series 3 have cellular capabilities, the size of the watch is pretty much the same.
Apple Watch Series 3’s Big Miss: Battery Life
Instead of focusing on a longer battery life, Apple decided to double down on cellular connectivity as its strategy. It’s pure speculation to say whether this strategic decision will hurt or help Apple’s sales this year. Our guess is that it probably won’t hurt the company’s sales with all of the Apple fanatics out there.
However, what we were hoping for was an extended battery life. One of the biggest knocks on the Apple Watch is that you have to recharge your watch every day. In some instances, depending on how much you use your watch throughout the day, the Apple Watch doesn’t have the power to make through the day. It’s a huge miss with athletes, especially with the Fitbit Ionic having more than 4 days of battery life and an entire slew of Garmin watches that have multiple day battery life.
Apple Watch Series 3 Preview Takeaway:
Although the Apple Watch Series 3 is faster and can take phone calls anywhere that a cellular signal is available, Apple missed the athlete market in our eyes with it’s wimpy battery life. If you’re an athlete that’s looking for battery life and not an Apple fanatic, there are a lot of other new watches out there such as the Garmin Vivoactive 3, the Fitbit Ionic, the Garmin Fenix 5, and several others.
Instead of taking phone calls on your wrist like Dick Tracy, it would have been much more appealing to athletes to have a longer battery life. Apple will continue to reign as the king of smartwatches, but after watching the keynote, it looks like Apple missed the biggest thing that almost everybody wanted. Heck, just two days of battery life would have had us jumping up and down, telling Apple to shut up and take our money.
However, it looks like athletes will have to wait until September of 2018 for that scenario to happen. But hey, at least we have talking poop emojis now with the iPhone X – What a time to be alive.