I’d love to buy an Apple Watch, but there’s something stoppi…

Nike Globe watch face on the Apple Watch Series 9.
Nike Globe Watch Face Andy Boxall/

There is something wonderful about smartwatches. As an Android fan, I have no shortage of great smartwatches to choose from. Watches from big names like Samsung and Google are trending with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Google Pixel Watch 2. I can also dive into fitness brands like Fitbit, Garmin, and even Polar. Heck, there are even options from traditional watch brands like Fossil and Casio.

So why is it that whenever Apple launches a new Apple Watch – like the new Apple Watch Series 9 – I feel a cold hand of envy on my shoulder? I have plenty of options to choose from, and many of them are as good (and sometimes better) as the Apple Watch. But no matter how much I tell myself, I still feel the same confused emotions whenever Apple launches a new Watch.

Why does the Apple Watch have such an impact on me, and why wouldn’t I risk it and get one? Well, it’s not because of the Apple Watch that I won’t do it – it’s because of the other hardware Apple wants to give me.

Why do I want an Apple Watch so badly?

Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Series 8 showing ambient displays.
Apple Watch Series 9 (left) and Apple Watch Series 8 Andy Boxall/

In terms of pure features, Apple Watch is nothing special. I can get most of the Apple Watch features on an existing Android smartwatch. My Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is a top-tier smartwatch with great fitness elements. I have several Polar trackers that provide incredible fitness tracking and long battery life. If I wanted something more stylish, I could have gone out and bought a smartwatch from Fossil. In fact, the Apple Watch doesn’t offer anything I can’t find elsewhere.

Well, except for one thing: personal health and safety.

What I want from a smartwatch isn’t the joy of using a wrist-based computer; I don’t want to stare at the clock for hours. I’m not really much of a smartwatch user. I don’t use them to listen to music, I don’t like to reply to messages from them, I don’t call people on them, and I don’t even like to receive notifications on them. I’m about as likely to skip a song occasionally.

A man checking his heart rate on the brand new Apple Watch Series 7.

To me, the perfect smartwatch is a health tracker that looks good. I like tracking my steps, exercises, my heart rate, and my stress levels. I’ve had relatives die from heart problems, so I’m especially keen to keep an eye on any irregularities in my heart health that I might have missed. And it’s this nagging concern that pushes me toward the Apple Watch.

However, the Apple Watch does not have a monopoly on health monitoring. Samsung’s smartwatches have had ECG sensors for almost as long as Apple’s and many other smartwatches and fitness trackers. Notice if it feels like your old ticker isn’t so good. So, why not buy another smartwatch and get the job done? Well, the genius of Apple isn’t necessarily what it added; It depends on how strongly one cares about what is communicated.

iPhone + Apple Watch | One more birthday Apple

Ahead of the announcement of the latest Apple Watch, Apple released a simple video. Titled “Another Birthday”, it focused on people whose lives were saved by their Apple Watches. Whether it was an irregular heart rhythm that led to critical surgery, the emergency SOS feature, or crash detection, these people’s Apple Watches saved their lives. And here was Apple celebrating those lives. Yes, it’s marketing, and yes, it’s deliberately tugging at my heartstrings – but I don’t care. Like its ecological stance, Apple’s ongoing work here appears to highlight does Care. And because I feel like she cares, I’d rather trust her with my health than a company that includes similar features but doesn’t seem like she cares.

But no matter how much I really want an Apple Watch, there’s one serious problem standing in my way; You may have guessed what it is. As much as I want an Apple Watch, I don’t want to use an iPhone.

iPhone requirement is a problem

Apple Watch and iPhone 13 Pro showing workout data.
Andy Boxall//

To use the Apple Watch, you must use an iPhone. That’s the long and short of it. Because Apple is a big meanie, it won’t let Apple Watch play well with Android phones even if I ask In fact thoroughly.

Apple fans out there won’t see a problem here, and I envy you. I have been a true fan of Android since my first smartphone, and I never thought about buying and using an iPhone. Even after using the iPhone for a short time, I can clearly say that I don’t want to depend on the iPhone as my daily driver.

This is not due to any kind of tribal loyalties; This is because iOS is completely different. But more importantly, it is also wrong. For example, see Notifications. I’ve had an iPad for over five years, and I still don’t understand how the notification area works. Because that doesn’t happen. Even after Apple “fixed” it, no it didn’t.

I thought the App Library might take away my other bugbears – but no, it’s terrible too. It’s an automatically sorted system of folders, and I have no idea where I’ll find anything on this Windows Explorer-esque hellscape. Don’t ever get me started on how bad Control Center is. It’s not hard to make these elements work well: Just take what Android has been doing for the last decade and copy it. At this point, it appears that Apple is making areas of its software worse because it can’t afford to copy Android.

motorola edge app drawer
Motorola Edge’s app drawer Andy Boxall/

None of this would be an issue if I could change it and make it my own. But I can’t do that either. Apple has mitigated some of its control issues, but over the long term it is still the most owned brand among the big mobile brands. “You What? Change how many app icons you can fit on your screen? You want 5×5 grid squares? Absolutely not, Not me Care What does Uncle Android let you do; your not My home screen.”

Every time I use the iPhone, I’m reminded that it’s not my phone; This is from Apple. And I’d be glad Apple knows what’s best for me.

Of course, it also comes with its downfalls. Fun Uncle Android lets me do what I want most of the time, but it has a bit of a wild temper, as my struggles with the Pixel 7 Pro have shown. Even if boring, at least Auntie Apple is reliable. But ultimately, when it comes to my smartphone, I want to make it my own and have customization options, even if that means it crashes sometimes. But the troubling thing is that I want the exact opposite for my smartwatch. I want something that hums in the background and just… works. And this is where, as we all know, Apple excels.

So what’s a boy caught between two camps to do? There is a way around this, but I’m somewhat hesitant about doing it.

there is a way around it

FaceTime Call Alert.
Apple Watch is getting FaceTime caller notifications Nadeem Sarwar/

There is a simple solution. I can buy an LTE-connected Apple Watch and set it up on my work iPhone, and then just… grab my Android phone and walk away screaming like crazy. After all, the Apple Watch doesn’t do that need An iPhone to do the job; It only requires an iPhone for initial setup. A-HaAuntie Apple, I beat you!

Only I haven’t actually done that. While the Apple Watch will be largely independent from the iPhone, there will be certain times when I’ll need to go back. For example, updates, or whenever I really want to do an in-depth analysis of my health and fitness stats. And ultimately, that’s what really drives me away from this idea. While this might be a fun experiment for a while, and I’m very interested in testing it out, it’s such a great solution that I don’t feel like it will be a solution I’ll keep in use for a long time. .

Until then, I will continue to yearn for my lost love that never was. Who watches watches? Right now, this is me.

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