Emanuele Cesena

Security Engineer at Pinterest, Co-founder at SoloKeys

I’m Returning my Apple Watch 3 Cellular

It’s October 2017, and I’ve just completed a run without my phone, streaming music the whole 3.5 miles — minus one minute. The technology is finally here, and I was joking with my friends that now I only need a speedo with a key pocket, so I can run truly free. However I’m returning my Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular, or at least I’m going to try to. The hardware is great,
the software just isn’t there yet.

I bought the Apple Watch yesterday, and yesterday is the keyword. How come I didn’t run yesterday? Thanks for asking, in fact I did run, but yesterday I couldn’t stream music because I had no apps. I was so pissed that I went to run intentionally leaving the watch home. Then, I ended the day not completing my activity rings so I was 2x pissed — but I breathed 7 times.

The reason I couldn’t stream music yesterday is pretty simple:

  • Spotify doesn’t exist for the watch, nor does Soundcloud
  • Pandora “Play Music and Stream Radio” doesn’t work unless it’s connected with an iPhone — 708k ratings, 4.8 stars
  • Apple Music has a new Radio app for the watch, only available in Watch OS 4.1 Beta = if you’re enrolled in the Apple Developer Program

Luckily I’m enrolled in the developer program, so 8 hours too late I completed the upgrade, finally got the Radio app, and was able to stream music without the iPhone.

In summary, $432.92 for the Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular, $99 for the Apple Developer Program, $10/mo for Verizon, and $9.99/mo for Apple Music. I feel it’s a bit too much for just streaming music while I run, I’m happy to just go with a non-cellular watch and some music pre-downloaded.

While I’m complaining, two more areas of improvements: skip tracks, and better switch between bluetooth and airplay.

  • While running, the music stream was great — as you’d expect from being on the Embarcadero in San Francisco — ‘till I said “Hey Siri, skip song”. The music stopped almost immediately, one minute of silence, and only then the next track started. I could have listened to the entire previous track in that dead time (it was better than silence)
  • Back home, I have to unlock the door, climb like 20 steps — it’s plenty of time to connect to the wifi. Then I have to take off my headphones before my sweaty t-shirt, so it would be great to just switch the current song to the living room airplay system, so that there’d be no interruption. I couldn’t do it, and don’t understand why switching between bluetooth and wifi shouldn’t just work

On the bright side, earlier today I went grocery shopping, turned my iPhone in airplane mode, and paid with just the watch. For spending more money, the Apple Watch works great.

I usually end my posts asking for comments, but in this case if you have similar complaints… please just tell Apple :) there’s not much I can help you with. If you have any tips on returning Apple products, instead, I’d be happy to hear your experience, and you can reach me @0x0ece.

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