Friday, November 22, 2019

Apple Watch Be Free - Slow March To Making It Happen

I was able to update Watch OS on my Apple Watch 3 the last couple of times.  We are getting closer to the day when the Apple may well be able to completely be tether-free of the iPhone.  It's not that being tethered to the iPhone is bad in any sense.  But can users buy an Apple Watch one day and start to use it without the iPhone?

Since Apple Watch 6, I have gained a new sense of freedom with the watch.  The fact that I can use it without the iPhone being close and the watch can continue to be connected to the Internet independent of it through Wi-Fi is awesome.  For this reason alone, I really regret not getting the cellular version in the beginning.  

In the first 2-3 years of the Apple Watch, the Watch OS just was not matured enough and relied heavily on the iPhone.  And now with the Apple Store on Watch OS 6, it does feel like it has grown into its own and it closer to being ready to turn your wrist into a computing power.  There a few hurdles that Apple just get the Watch to clear.

The biggest test will be when users can buy the iPhone and activate it directly.  Personally, activating and pairing the Apple Watch to the iPhone is a huge pain.  A personal case in point.  I was trying to help my uncle pair his Series 5 watch with his iPhone.  His iPhone was updated to the latest iOS version.  Unfortunately, his iPhone also happens to be an iPhone 6 with cannot be updated to iOS 13. and guess which iOS version is needed in order to pair with the Series 6.

Perhaps not Watch OS 7 or 8 but in a couple of years, I would like to see people walk into an Apple store, buy a watch, and start to set it up right there in the store without the need for an iPhone.  Of course, I would not mind if Apple allows the users to use the iPhone as a setup tool for convenience.  But if I'm an Android user and I want to use an Apple watch independent of my phone, then Apple would have gained a user in its ecosystem.  

With each new generation of Apple Watch, new features through hardware or software is something we all looking forward to.  With the app store now on the watch, I can download apps directly onto the watch.  However, not all apps are created equal.  While there has been vast improvements over the last OS updates, some apps just are not working as well as I have come to expect.  So, this gives an idea of how poorly third party apps were in the beginning.  

I am sure there are other factors that has to be worked out before I am comfortable leaving my iPhone at home or in my car for long stretches at a time.  I feel we are close.  It will not happen overnight.  This is Apple we are talking about.  Apple never rushes features to the market simply to be first.  They'll think things through.  Reject ideas, even good ones and finally come up with ones that is uniquely Apple.  This will be the same for the Apple Watch.  Whatever solutions they come up with to make the Apple Watch an independent device free of the iPhone will be worth the wait.

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