Why I Returned My Apple Watch Series 4

April 11, 2019

Hi all, and Happy New Year! I hope by now you’re getting back into the swing of things and are ready for an amazing 2019!

As many of you know from Twitter, I recently took the leap and purchased an Apple Watch Series 4 (without cellular capabilities). I did so with much reluctance, however I wanted to see if I could make it work for me. I spent months doing research on the watch, looking at its features, videos and blogs and still wasn’t convinced that it was money worth spending. However, as a tech junkie and Apple fan I decided to try it anyway.

Now there were aspects of the watch that I did enjoy, so I’ll start with those:

  1. The design: I’d say the gorgeous design is what has always attracted me to the watch. I’d go further and say the design is why I went against my better judgement to purchase something I knew I didn’t need. In my opinion Apple always wins in the design department, and I can say they got me!
  2. Accessories: The ability to customize the wristbands to something a bit more trendy and feminine is also what attracted me. I found several of these online but decided to hold off until I knew this was a purchase I was going to keep.
  3. Watch faces: The watch gives you several ways to customize the information you see on the face of the watch whenever you raise your arm to use it. Even though I could also find this information in the notification center of my iPhone, it was nice to have several pieces of information at a glance.
  4. Watch Face Size: I did purchase the larger face offered with the series four because I always welcome extra screen space. I also did not think the price difference of about $20 between the two sizes was that much of a deal breaker.

Now on to my list of why I ended up returning my watch:

  1. Notifications galore: The main purpose of the Apple Watch is to alert you. I get that. However, as someone who always has my phone in front of me for work and pleasure, I don’t need two devices telling me the same things at the same time. I’ve also gotten more intentional with the notifications I have on my phone meaning, the only ones that alert me are phone calls, text messages, emails (to an extent) and reminders. Absolutely no social media. My settings have been this way for years because I don’t want to feel like I have to open my phone every time something happens. I’ll check into social media and other apps when I’m ready, not the other way round.

    One thing I will say is that if you are someone who cannot have your phone out at work, or are always physically on the go to where your phone is usually not around, the Apple Watch is definitely something to look into. It provides all of the functionality to keep you connected.
  2. Lack of complications: If you are unfamiliar, complications are another word for applications on the watch. One of the main reasons I got the Apple Watch was to be alerted for work meetings via my Outlook calendar. With Outlook not having a complication for the watch, I wouldn’t get alerted fifteen minutes prior to my meetings like I do on my phone.

    This was also an issue when it came to using Slack, which wasn’t supported at all. Instead, I believe you can have Slack set up to send you text messages for notifications which isn't a great alternative.
  3. Activity tracker: This was actually the main function of the watch that I did appreciate. It was fun seeing if I met my goals for the day and how many steps I took. It was like I was in competition with myself because I was always trying to exceed my activity for the previous day. With that, for someone who’s really into fitness and working out, I think this is a great tool but you can also find that same information in a Fit Bit for a lot less.
  4. GPS: This was by far one of the most annoying features. While using Apple Maps, whenever it was time to turn or take an exit, the watch vibrates like crazy and sometimes was a bit distracting. If I have Maps on my phone verbally telling me what to do, why do I need my watch to do the same thing?
  5. Talk to text: Another annoying feature of the watch was texting. Now I understand that if you want to send a lengthy text, you should use your phone. However, Apple did add in the talk to text for a reason so it was a feature I would have liked to use. Many times this feature did not work thus forcing me to take out my phone to send my message.
  6. Apple Music/podcasts: For someone who is going to upload podcasts and playlists to their watch for a workout in effort to leave their phone at home, this can be a great feature. However, for someone like me who doesn’t really workout and leave my phone at home, this feature was another one I did not use. It’s much easier to navigate songs and podcasts on my phone then via the watch.

For the reasons mentioned above it really made me feel like I had a piece of expensive technology that wasn’t useful. There are several complications the watch had like Photos, Breathing, and Camera that are just not useful on the watch. The other thing that has turned me off about Apple lately has been the crazy increase in prices. Although this may or may not apply to the Apple Watch, I do think the price is a little high for what is offered.

Staying on the subject of pricing, MacBook Pro prices for example have completely skyrocketed within the last several years. As a user, I don’t feel or see much of an improvement that could justify these prices. I currently own a 2013 MacBook Pro 15” and use a 2017 MacBook Pro 13” for work. One of the visible differences on the newer MacBook Pro is the touch bar that I felt was useless from day one and disabled, along with the touch ID I don’t use. The new MacBook Pro also has USBC ports that are annoying as it takes a special adapter just to insert anything. It's also fitting to mention iPhones that are the highest they've ever been without much to show for it.

My point is that as that Apple has to do a better job of being the innovative, cutting edge company that we all knew and fell in love with. Right now it feels like much of the functionality they’re adding is just catching up to what’s already on the market from other companies. As it pertains to the Apple Watch, I’m not saying I’d never consider it again in the future. What I am saying is that I couldn’t find any value in it right now. With that, I hope Apple takes a look at their price structure for future products and focuses more on being the innovative company we know they can be.

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