We are about one month away from the launch of the latest Apple Watch – the Apple Watch Series 5. While Apple could skip this year, the Apple Watch has become a huge product line for them so we will see one, I am sure. What new features will come with the Apple Watch Series 5?
The Apple Watch Series 5 Features
First of all, I would say pretty certainly that we will not see a new design. Apple made the first upgraded design last year since the original launch and Apple does not change designs on products that often. That means we should see the same 44mm and 40mm cases for the Apple Watch Series 5.
Apple WatchOS 6
Link: Apple WatchOS 6 Preview
What we do know about the Apple Watch Series 5 is that it will ship with WatchOS 6. This will likely be the biggest software update for the watch yet as it brings the Apple Watch app store to the watch os itself. This means users can install apps without needing to use an iPhone.
In addition to that, it will also have female cycle tracking, activity trends, new watch faces, and a noise app to warn against high noise levels. Those are all features that fit within the health and fitness niche that Apple keeps hammering home with the Apple Watch. While it is a great device for users in all kinds of fields, Apple is consistent with the health and fitness aspect of the watch.
Apple Watch Series 5 Features I Want to See
With the Apple Watch Series 4, I actually used it as my daily driver longer than any other Apple Watch I had tested in the past – over 230 days! It hit a lot of the right notes with me like a better battery life and a larger screen. But, at the end of the day, a Garmin sits on my wrist again because Garmin just does it right when it comes to running. Will we see a Garmin Apple Watch app? That would be nice! 🙂
Better Battery Life
Somewhat surprisingly, when Apple revealed the larger Apple Watch Series 4, they did not give it a better battery life. My tests showed it was a bit better but the screen and better processor must have been using more power than I would have thought.
But, given the slightly larger case size, it is time for Apple to really make battery life a significant step forward. People are using their watches more and more and having it on the charger as a nightstand mini-clock-while-charging is really not ideal for many people. While the Garmin does not have nearly as beautiful a screen as the Apple Watch, my Garmin Forerunner 945 offers over 24 hours of GPS use on a single battery charge – or two weeks in smartwatch mode!
I would like to see Apple give the Apple Watch Series 5 a minimum of 48 hours of regular use mixed with some GPS activity. This would also help to make the battery life better for outdoor workouts and for the LTE version when using cellular on the go (which is kind of pathetic at an hour with all of those wireless radios going).
Plus, a better battery life helps some of the other features I want to see as well. 🙂
Native Sleep Tracking
There are some excellent apps that do sleep tracking on the Apple Watch. The one I had used, SleepWatch, was really accurate and had a lot of nice feedback. But, having native sleep tracking is a better solution on a watch. I have it with Garmin (and they have had it for quite some time) and it works a lot better when it is native.
The likely reason that Apple has not yet included sleep tracking (which would be a key component for the health and fitness area for Apple) is the battery life. While it has improved quite a bit, you are still going to need to drop it on the charger every day and a half if you wear it to bed and use the GPS for running/outdoor activity.
Again, this could have been something Apple gave us a while ago – as an option. But, it is not like Apple to give their customers something that is going to miss the mark in customer satisfaction (except for things like butterfly keyboards!). That means they would not give us even the option for always-on displays when it could cause the battery to drop to dead in just hours.
But, with a better battery life, the Apple Watch Series 5 could finally bring an always-on display (at least as an option). While Apple has made the Apple Watch Series 4 pretty good when bringing it up, it could definitely be better for things like running where I would sometimes have to make very dramatic arm movements to get the display to turn on because of my regular arm motion.
Even if the display was dimmed a bit during normal use, that would be a nice thing to still have where we could just glance at it and get the info we need. I have been at many meetings where I wanted to just glance down to check the time or something else on the display but it became more obvious than it should have been since it is not always on.
More Fields for Data with the Workout App
As a runner, this is one thing that drives me crazy with the Apple Watch! Whenever I mention this to someone, they are always quick to point out that there are apps that give me what I am looking for. However, the Apple workout app is really good and I should not have to go to another app to get basic things like data fields for my run.
For example, when I am race training, I need to set up for intervals. I need to know my running pace during an interval. I cannot get that with the Apple Watch workout app since it shows current pace and rolling mile pace (so the average pace over the last mile on a rolling basis). Neither of those is helpful to me in some of my workouts. This is why I actually wore a Garmin as well for some speed workouts last fall in preparation for my marathon.
Better Cellular Capability for Travelers
The way the Apple Watch uses its LTE radio drives me crazy – it only works with the carrier you bought it to use it with and it would not work outside of your home country.
For a traveler, that stinks! I would like them to incorporate something similar to their LTE-equipped iPads where you can pay and setup for data connections with any network worldwide.
OR, use some linking technology that would allow the e-SIM to inherit the SIM connection from the iPhone when they become disconnected from each other. That would be great! That would mean that, when you are traveling, you could pop a different SIM in your phone and your watch would use whichever number is active at the time.
I personally feel that the way Apple has incorporated the cellular functions leaves a lot of room for improvement and I would hope we would see that improvement this year.
Summary – Apple Watch Series 5 Features
Strangely enough, 4 of those features exist on my list for what I wanted to see on the Apple Watch Series 4! In fact, I said those 4 features could pull me from Garmin. Guess what? Apple did not give me one of them – and I still wound up using an Apple Watch Series 4 for the better part of a year!
That means that Apple will do Apple – they will have their incremental upgrades in some areas while introducing something that many people may not have seen as beneficial in this capacity. However, will this be the year we do get some of these features in the Apple Watch? I certainly hope so!
Either way, I will be getting one to test out as soon as they are available! I just hope it is a really good upgrade from the already-decent Apple Watch Series 4.