Re­view: New Ap­ple Watch goes solo but can't let go

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Content - Anick Jes­da­nun AP Tech­nol­ogy Writer Im­ages: As­so­ci­ated Press

CAL­I­FOR­NIA — A chief gripe with Ap­ple Watch is that it re­quires you to keep an iPhone with you for most tasks. The in­clu­sion of GPS last year helped on runs and bike rides, but you’re still miss­ing calls and mes­sages with­out the phone nearby.

A new model with its own cel­lu­lar-net­work con­nec­tion is Ap­ple’s next step to­ward an un­teth­ered world. Now you can make and re­ceive calls and mes­sages on the watch while leav­ing your phone at home.

But the watch still needs reg­u­lar con­tact with an iPhone, and for most tasks, the phone needs to be on and con­nected, even if it’s nowhere nearby. So you can’t get away with ditch­ing the iPhone al­to­gether. (An­droid users have their own wrist­wear op­tions, in­clud­ing Sam­sung Gear and An­droid Wear watches, some of which can al­ready man­age their own net­work con­nec­tions.)

The new Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 3, dis­tin­guished by a red crown, came out last month start­ing at about $400. You can forgo cel­lu­lar, and the red crown, for $70 less. Or get a first-gen­er­a­tion model, with­out GPS, for about $250.


You might not want to bring your phone on a short jog; the watch can still keep you

in touch. Or you can leave the phone home while walk­ing the dog or per­form­ing a quick er­rand.

You need a data add-on from the same wire­less provider as your phone.


It can be handy to un­tether the watch at times, but it’s not al­ways nec­es­sary. Even when tied to the phone, Se­ries 3 of­fers im­prove­ment such as track­ing el­e­va­tion, so you get credit for climb­ing stairs or jog­ging up a hill. And you can now hear Siri re­sponses on the watch speaker, some­thing en­abled by the new ver­sion’s faster pro­ces­sor. SOFT­WARE UP­DATE

For own­ers of past mod­els, a soft­ware up­date out this week, watchOS 4, will bring eas­ier ac­cess to mu­sic play­back con­trols when ex­er­cis­ing — just swipe left. There are more prompts when reach­ing or near­ing daily goals, and op­tions for mul­ti­ple sports in a sin­gle work­out.

A new heart rate app now shows heart rate at rest and av­er­ages when walk­ing or re­cov­er­ing from ex­er­cise. These can help you gauge your over­all fit­ness.

And if your heart rate is high with­out any signs of ex­er­cise, you’ll get an alert. You en­able this when you first open the heart rate app.

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