The 4G Apple Watch is the anti-iPhone

14 September 2017

Apple Watch Series 3

Following yesterday's unveiling of the iPhone X, some were quick to proclaim the Apple Watch Series 3 as the "real tenth anniversary iPhone".

If you missed the news, the majority of Apple Watch Series 3 models have 4G connectivity, essentially turning them into tiny phones. A 4G Apple Watch can be used independent of its paired iPhone, and most of its functionality will work when you don't have your phone: friends will still be able to call you and text you on the same number as your phone, you can access Maps, send messages through third party apps, and more.

This is impressive for a number of technical reasons - I mean, it's literally a phone you wear on your wrist - but more importantly, a 4G Apple Watch could also be the antidote to our always-connected lifestyles Apple sowed the seeds for with the first iPhone a decade ago.

Okay, that was a bit dramatic, but hear me out. A 4G Apple Watch could strike the balance between staying connected and being too connected. We often throw around excuses like "what if someone needs to call me?", "what if there's an emergency" and so forth as justifications for never being without a phone. And never being without a phone tends to lend itself to spending too much time scrolling through Facebook, too much time reading about the terrible things going on in the world, too much time taking photos for the sole purpose of proving you were somewhere (well, and getting likes on Instagram).

Don't get me wrong, I love my smartphone, but sometimes I love it a little too much.

Apple would like you to buy everything in this photo

A 4G Apple Watch has the potential to change that. You're still able to make and receive phone calls, you're still able to get messages, you're still able to get directions, you're still able to book an Uber; all without the need to carry your smartphone. And the inherent limitations of being a tiny touchscreen on your wrist mean our typical smartphone addictions aren't suited to running on an Apple Watch. Even constantly messaging becomes hard, because you're relying on speaking to your Watch (which you might not want to do in public), awkwardly trying to scribble words, or canned responses.

My Series 2 Apple Watch has already changed how I use my iPhone. I'm far more comfortable just leaving it around my home or my office, knowing that any important notifications will be passed on. The Series 3 could take this to the next level.

That being said, a 4G Apple Watch isn't exactly a cheap solution; the most affordable SIM-enabled Apple Watch starts at $549, which is a hell of a price to pay to use your phone a little less. It's also looking like you'll pay extra for the privilege of keeping your iPhone and Apple Watch paired. US telcos will charge an extra $10 on top of your plan, and a Telstra spokesperson told us there'll also be a "small fee" locally.

Thankfully, the Apple Watch has proven itself a useful device in my day-to-day life, so you're not quite just paying for a detox.

A 4G Apple Watch is an expensive solution to a first world problem, but it's a solution to a problem nonetheless.

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