Now that the Apple Watch Series 3 is out, we’ve had some time to play with it and extract the best features for the new device. None of these are watchOS 4 related, which is full of its own goodies, so we focused just on features exclusive to the new Apple Watch Series 3 model.
16 new features in Apple Watch Series 3
Red demarcation on the Digital Crown
Exclusive to the new Apple Watch is a special red adornment to the Digital Crown. Some people may not be so keen on the red color, but luckily, you can always do something like WatchDots to cover it up.
LTE cellular capabilities
This should be the most obvious addition to the Series 3. Available on many carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint in the US. Unfortunately, that LTE comes at a cost. Some carriers like Verizon let you try it for free for three months, but most seem to be averaging about $10 a month to use the service.
It allows a lot of new functionality like taking calls and messages from anywhere, without your phone. Even better, you get to keep the same phone number.
Soon, you will be able to stream over 40 million songs via Apple Music directly from your Apple Watch. Unfortunately, this isn’t available at launch so we will just have to wait and see how well this works.
Siri is more responsive
If you have ever tried to use Siri on your Watch in the past, you know that there is much to be desired. For me, the lag it undertakes whenever processing a query is enough to make me just turn to my phone. Luckily, in the Series 3 Apple Watch, it is significantly faster and more responsive than ever. Actually making it useful again!
Siri can now talk
Just like on your iPhone, Siri now has a voice! Whenever you ask a question, it can actually speak its response instead of just typing it back on the screen. Much better for a hands and eye-free experience.
Find my Friends
This is a small, but really useful feature. Since the new Apple Watch features cellular, Find my Friends will automatically switch your location tracking to your watch whenever you lose connection with your phone. That way if you go out for a late night run, your significant other can see where you are, even if you leave your phone.
The Apple Watch is now able to measure how far you travel up and down. Measuring these elevations is useful for biking or jogs, so you can see not just how far, but how high you’ve gone.
Racer watch face
Apple likes to include special watch faces with different versions of their Apple Watch. It makes a nice exclusive for different editions. Hermés has their own, as well as the Nike models. The Series 3 comes with a special new one, dubbed the Racer face that can display several different complications, as well as your cellular signal.
It is pretty much a guarantee that Apple will update the processor in their newest devices. The S3 is a dual core processor that is significantly faster and more battery efficient than before. That extra speed is put to good use for things like the new Siri features. Unfortunately, even though it is more power efficient, LTE means you won’t necessarily get any better battery life.
Apple also debuted their W2 wireless chip in the Series 3. The W1 wireless chip first debuted in the AirPods, and was integral to keeping class 1 Bluetooth audio connections with minimal battery consumption.
If you elect for the cellular option of the Series 3 Apple Watch, it will now come with 16GB of storage, instead of 8GB. This is going to be great for storing some of your Apple Music.
Though the AirPower mat won’t debut until next year, the Apple Watch Series 3 is the only Apple Watch that will be compatible with it. The others will be relegated to the standard Apple Watch charging puck.
Stainless Steel option
This year, Apple has both cellular and non-cellular options available. If you are going for the aluminum models, you can choose between either of them. However, if you are going for the classy stainless steel variants, you only have cellular as an option.
Sport loop bundles
When a new Apple Watch comes out, there is this odd situation where many upgraders already have bands. Whether more expensive Apple ones, or third-party ones. It is a smart move on Apple’s part to launch new bands to bundle with the latest version of the Apple Watch, so that people still have new options to choose from.
This year, we got the Sport Loop. We went hands on with the Sport Loop, and were left overall impressed. You can get many configurations of the aluminum Apple Watch with the Sport Loop, as well as the regular sport bands.
Grey ceramic model
For those looking for something a bit more high end, the Apple Watch edition comes in a really great looking grey ceramic color.
The Bluetooth spec of the Apple Watch was upgraded from BLE 4.0 to Bluetooth 4.2. This also goes for the Series 1 which was quietly updated to support it as well.
Bluetooth 4.2 was a notable upgrade, though not as big as 5.0. It is 250% faster, and can handle 10x as much bandwidth as it could in the past. The Apple Watch connects to our phones over Bluetooth, so it will be interesting to see if this extra Bluetooth bandwidth increases the speed at all when dealing with apps that poll for a lot of data.
Wrapping it up
While the main feature is still LTE, do you consider the Apple Watch Series 3 a worthwhile upgrade? Feel free to share your opinion below in the comments.