I still remember getting my first Apple Watch. A space grey 42-mm aluminium watch with black sports band. I also purchased an additional white sports band, the first of many watch bands I ended up buying.
Mixing and matching watch bands to suit what I was wearing or doing is still one of my favourite things about the watch. Then there are the watch faces. The ability to not only change styles but customise them. Today there are more watch faces than ever before.
I remember selecting my first watch face, but the watch did something I didn’t anticipate – the display turned off. It did so each time I was not looking at it. This meant I had to raise my wrist or tap it for the display to turn on. To see the time and other information. And it also meant when others viewed my watch it was simply a black sheet of glass.
This behaviour was essential in saving battery life and remained the case for four generations of Apple Watch. Right up until Series 5.
Apple Watch Series 5 has a feature I did not expect to arrive for a few years yet – an Always-on Retina display. And after experiencing it I can easily say it is the ‘Retina Display’ moment of Apple Watch. In other words, once you experience it you can’t go without it.
To replace my first-generation Apple Watch I have purchased an Apple Watch Edition. A 44-mm Series 5 in Ceramic. It is stunning. A pure-white finish made from a material that is more than four times as hard as stainless steel, but much lighter. And according to Apple, takes days to create.
Just as stunning as the material itself are the new watch faces. And for the first time, they remain visible at all times. Though it does dim slightly and some watch faces colours are inverted.
I have come to realise there are several benefits of the display not turning off. First is obvious: I can always see the time. Gone are the days where I need to risk the embarrassment of the display not turning on when raising my wrist.
How people see the watch is quite a lot difference now. Instead of a device on my wrist with a blank display, people now see the watch complete with a watch face. Making it more of a watch than ever before. I remember my friend commenting on it the first day I wore it, how much better it looked that you can see the display on. A remark he made while looking down at his blank Series 4.
When I am going about my day the watch always displays the watch face. But if I am doing a workout it will instead display the workout activity screen. Showing information such as time, distance, calories burned and so on. And is extremely helpful during workouts.
As an example, I use my watch to track my Yoga sessions. I remember having to awkwardly try and touch my Apple Watch during Yoga poses to see how much time we had left to go. Not an easy task when tyring to hold a pose and twisting about. But now I only need to glance at my watch.
To achieve an Always-on Retina Display Apple had to turn to several new technologies. Starting with the industry’s only low-temperature polysilicon and oxide display (LTPO). Then an ultra-low-power display driver, efficient power management, and new ambient light sensor.
In other words, once you experience it you can’t go without it.
All of the Apple-designed and engineered hardware inside works in collaboration with watchOS. The name of the operating system and software platform of Apple Watch.
An Always-on display is only possible because of the deep collaboration between Apple’s own hardware and software. And as a result, they have been able to achieve it with the same 18-hour all-day battery life of the previous Series 4.
In my real-world use I have been going to bed at the end of the day with roughly 40% of battery left. That is wearing the watch all day with on average about 1 hour of workout activity. But rather odly it wasn’t the case for the first few days. Likely a software bug between watchOS and a test version of iOS 13 I had running on my iPhone at the time.
If you are shopping for your very first Apple Watch I would highly reccomend the Series 5 for the always-on display. But if you already have a Series 4, while it is a significant new feature, I don’t see the need to upgrade just yet.
About Apple Watch
The new Apple Watch Series 5, has an Always-On Retina display that never sleeps, so it’s easy to see the time and other important information, without raising or tapping the display. New location features, from a built-in compass to current elevation, help users better navigate their day, while international emergency calling allows customers to call emergency services directly from Apple Watch in over 150 countries, even without iPhone nearby.
Apple Watch Series 5 is available in a wider range of materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, ceramic and an all-new titanium. Combined with the power of watchOS 6, users are empowered to take charge of their health and fitness with new features like Cycle Tracking, the Noise app and Activity Trends.