Apple Watch Series 5 will be always-on, without knocking current battery life


Apple’s event last night wasn’t just about iPads, iPhones, and services. Also detailed at the American launch was Apple’s new Watch Series 5, the newest wearable in the company’s lineup. The big new deal? Changes to the Watch’s display.

Eyes up

Most notably, Apple’s gone for some high-end, low-power trickery to offer users an always-on Retina display for the Watch Series 5. You may ask yourself, “What’s that gonna do to the already sketchy battery?” Nothing, really. That fancy new power-efficient display has some new power management hardware. The end result is that the Watch battery is still 18 hours. Yay? Well, yes, ‘yay’ but could we have the display off and a longer time between charges? That’d be nice too.

No arm in that

Apple’s quite keen on your having your time and complications always visible on your wrist but that’s not all they’re giving you. The new Watch will be the first to sport a built-in compass, which will help you find your location and direction. And a few more things besides — users can determine everything up to and including latitude or longitude using the inclusion.

There’s a whole mess of safety features coming for 2019. Fall detection is one, but there’s something else that has us very keen on the cellular models. Each new cellular Watch Series 5 will launch with Emergency SOS, which can contact emergency services for users in over 150 countries. Since we’re likely to be one of those countries, we’re hoping we actually get an eSIM wearable from Apple at long bloody last.

In keeping with Apple’s drive towards sustainability, the aluminium wristables will be made from 100% recycled aluminium. Stainless steel options are set to be available, as is a titanium model with two possible finishes. Oh, yeah, there’s also a ceramic Series 5, new Nike editions and Hermès versions of Apple’s wristwear on the way. Those last ones are likely to get a little… expensive.

How much money?

The Watch Series 5 starts at  $399 (R5,875 or so), while the cellular models — which historically tend to not launch in South Africa —  start at $499 (around R7,350). We’re waiting on local pricing but if you’re an American pre-orders for the device(s) opened last night. They’ll be available from 20 September. On the back of that, Apple’s Series 3 will be sticking around. Along with a price drop, to $199 (R3,000 in SA moneys) — hopefully, that price drop’ll get here as well.


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