Should you buy the Apple Watch Series 4?

My first Apple Watch was a gift from my wife, she invited me to lunch for Valentine’s and surprised me with a stop at our local Apple store to get me one of these new Apple watches. I got one, the 42mm stainless steel watch with the silver Milanese loop band and I have been using it since then. I wasn’t convinced it was a useful device for a while until the software started to get better and also some handy apps came along.

Initially, the Apple Watch wasn’t received well, people were mocking it and making fun of Apple for producing such a device (see screenshot below). The truth is that the first edition or Series 0 wasn’t ready, they just weren’t good enough yet.

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Personally, I was impressed by it, I really liked the design and the functionality, yes the series 0 was the thickest, the slowest, and the software was full of bugs, but it was still impressive. For example, the activity and heart rate apps where pretty good since the beginning, and in my opinion, there wasn’t anything as good and accurate as the Apple Watch.

Early competition

At the time, a lot of people where buying Fitbits, including myself, but while these devices were convenient and inexpensive, the quality and durability was pretty bad. In contrast, the Apple Watch not only kept track of my steps but it also did a lot more, like checking my heart rate, and it had some useful apps.

A few years have passed since the first Apple Watch was released, its popularity has grown, sales of it have increased, and let’s be honest, the new Apple Watch is way better than the first version. The reality is that this watch is for people who love Apple products. The point is, Apple isn’t the only company who improved their Smartwatch line and its features, there are new competitors who in my eyes, have built much better products for exercise tracking, with much better battery life, and they also look great.

Garmin, for example, made a smart move by releasing GPS Watches of various price levels and needs. Gamin’s GPS Watches are well built and well designed, and in my opinion, they are still the best GPS Watch you can buy today. The battery life in all models of their GPS Watch surpasses that of the Apple Watch, and this is an essential factor for anyone serious about their fitness training.

The new Series 4

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The new Series 4 is definitely a good watch and a big improvement over the Series 3. Below is a summary of what’s new and how it compares to previous versions.

The Series 4’s come in two new sizes, a 40mm case (977 sq mm display area) and a 44mm (759 sq mm display area).

It’s also thinner, almost as thin as the Series 0’s 10.5mm (if you can remember), the Series 4 is 10.7mm thin while the Series 3 is 11.4mm thin.

It has a faster processor, a 64-bit dual-core S4 processor which makes it up to 2x faster than S3 processor.

The best new feature – in my opinion, an Electrical heart sensor (ECG app), the ECG app is coming later this year.

Second-generation optical heart sensor, Fall detection, and a Digital Crown with haptic feedback.

The main disadvantage

The new Apple Watch series 4 didn’t have an improvement to its battery life when compared to the series 3. By looking at the technical details for the series 3 and 4, the battery hasn’t improved much, if any. Watches on both series 3 and 4 have a battery life of up to 18 hours and up to 5 hours with GPS, according to Apple’s website.

All-day battery life is based on 18 hours with the following use: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours.

In contrast, one of the most popular GPS Watches, the Garmin Fénix 5 Plus has a battery that will last for up to 12 days in smartwatch mode and 8 hours in GPS mode, with music, according to Garmin’s website.

Battery performance: up to 12 days in smartwatch mode and 8 hours in GPS mode with music (depending on settings)

When it comes to watches and its use as fitness watches Garmin is winning, and this is why Garmin’s line of watches is still a better choice than an Apple watch if you are looking to keep track of your workouts such as running, cycling, and swimming.

The main advantage

Apple did a great improvement to the Apple Watch Series 4, this device seems to be focused not only on fitness but it is now a viable and potentially reliable medical device that can help save lives. The introduction of features like the ECG feature is getting a lot of attention, and I think with reason. Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said it himself

We know this feature is going to save lives.

I agree with that statement, having the ability to monitor not only your heart rate but also having an electrocardiograph right there on your wrist is definitely something amazing.

President of the American Heart Association Dr. Ivor J. Benjamin discusses the benefits of the new Apple Watch Series 4 heart health features.

The ECG feature wasn’t the only thing that Apple surprised us with, the new Series 4 will also bring advanced activity and communications features, along with revolutionary health capabilities, including a new accelerometer and gyroscope, which are able to detect hard falls. 

The fall detection feature could be useful for anyone, but this seems to be a great way for Apple to tap into a new user base that hasn’t paid attention to their Apple Watch in the past.

Should you buy the new Apple Watch Series 4?

If you have any of the previous versions, you will definitely see the benefits of the new version + the two main health-related features. If you are older or are at risk of a heart disease, buying this watch could save your life. With the ECG app (to be released later this year), users touch the Digital Crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification. It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that could lead to major health complications. All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians.

How To Choose the Perfect Tablet

When it comes to tablets, there are specific things you need to look at before you buy. One big mistake is to buy a tablet just because it is popular. Instead, do some research and spend sometime figuring out what kind of features, operating system and price will make the perfect tablet for you.

Tablets are useful for consuming media and play casual games. But some newer models are also good for creating content.

What is your goal with the tablet?

This is the number one question you need to ask yourself. A tablet is common for casual gaming, watching movies, browsing the internet, checking email, and to read books.  Understanding which is the main reason you want a tablet will help when selecting one. Figure out what matters the most to you and write it down, this will help you select the perfect tablet.

For Gaming

Apple’s iPad is the best option for people looking to use the tablet for gaming. The reason for this is the large array of great game titles available in the App Store. However, the game selection in the Microsoft Store and Google Play Store is improving. If you are a die-hard gamer and want to be able to play with a tablet, the NVidia Shield Tablet is for you.

For Kids

A priority for most parents getting a tablet for their kids is safety. Tablets give you access to content that can be inappropriate for kids, so a tablet offering parental controls is important. The Microsoft Surface and Amazon Fire HD (kids version) tablets offer strong parental controls. For small kids, you may also consider kid-focused tablets from Nabi.

For Business and Productivity

If you need a tablet to stay connected when on the go, something like the Microsoft Surface is what you need. This tablet comes with MS Office preloaded and you can buy the Surface Cover which is also a keyboard. Another option is the iPad Pro, which has a large screen and you can also get a Smart Cover which is also a keyboard. If you are a MS Office user, this application is also available for the iPad Pro.

For Media Consumption

If your goal for a new tablet is to watch movies and read books, the Fire HDX is a great option. Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member, you’ll have access to a wide variety of TV shows, movies and music. With this tablet you also have access to exclusive content from Amazon.

The iPad Air and the Microsoft Surface also offer exclusive access to their content platforms. With the iPad, you’ll have access to the iTunes library, and with the Surface you’ll enjoy Xbox integration.

What operating system is best for you?

Choosing a tablet with an operating system you are comfortable with is essential. For example, if you are a PC user, a tablet running Windows or Android will fit you better. If you are a Mac user, then the iPad is a good idea. Why is this so important? you’ll save time and effort if you get a tablet running an operating system you are familiar with. The operating system in a tablet will also determine the apps you’ll be able to install and use.

Here is a look at some of the tablet operating systems available today:

Windows

This is the most powerful operating system available for tablets today. The reason being that it is a full version of Windows and you can run any application you currently run on your PC. There is also the benefit of having a wide variety of companies offering tablets with Windows.

Tablets running Windows are a good option for those who want to do heavy-duty computing on a tablet.

Android

Like Windows, this operating system is available in many different tablets out there. This gives you a wide array of devices to choose from, with screen sizes ranging from 6 inches to 13 inches.

Tablets running Android are a great option for those who already have Android Phones. The cost of tablets running Android also tends to be lower than those running Windows or iOS.

Tablets running Android are a great option for people who just want a tablet to browse the web and check email. Android also offers a huge variety of apps.

iOS

This is Apple’s mobile operating system and it is available for both the iPhone and the iPad. The iPad is the most popular tablet out there, the simplicity of the operating system and the large availability of apps and games is the reason for this.

What features are important to you?

Battery Life

Battery life is affected by battery size, brightness of the screen, and the time a tablet is left on. With this in mind,  if battery life is a priority for you then you should look at this article. At the moment, the Lenovo Yoga tablet is the one with the longest battery life at 14.2 hours. The Samsung Galaxy and the iPad Air come in second and third place at 13.4 and 13.2 hours.

Screen Size and Resolution

Tablets come in  sizes ranging from 5 inches to now over 12 inches with the iPad Pro at 12.9 inches. If you work with photo or video editing applications, a larger screen is a must. Also, watching a movie and playing certain games is more enjoyable in a big screen. Both the Surface Pro and the iPad offer the best screen resolution.

Memory

Tablets come with internal memory ranging from just 1 GB to 512 GB. The Surface Pro and a few other Windows tablets offering up to 512 GB of memory are a great choice if you have that need. Also, most tablets running Windows and Android have expandable storage.

Wireless Connectivity

There are different versions of Wi-Fi, at the moment we have 802.11b/g and 802.11n. The 802.11n specification is the best when you are planning on streaming video or downloading large files. Also, a tablet that supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio bands provide the best Wi-Fi connectivity.

Camera

Most tablets come with one and sometimes two cameras. Tablets aren’t a great choice to use as cameras to take photos. But if you need to use your tablet for video conferencing, make sure the tablet you buy has a camera on the front.

Price

Tablet prices range from less than a $100 to more than $1000 dollars. The features and even the brand will dictate the price of a tablet. There is a wide range of tablet prices for any budget. The Amazon Fire HD at just $99 is the cheapest tablet and the Apple iPads have the higher cost.

Steve Jobs wanted OS X running on Sony VAIO computers

If Steve Jobs had gotten his way, that VAIO in your lap could’ve been running OS X, Apple’s operating system. It sounds like fiction, but consider the source: former Sony president Kunitake Ando. The revelation, which stems from an interview Ando gave to Japanese journalist Nobuyuki Hayashi in 2011, highlights the close relationship Jobs reportedly shared with Sony’s co-founder Akio Morita — a relationship that led Jobs to make an exception to Apple’s walled off ecosystem. And according to Ando, it was on a 2001 golf trip in Hawaii that Jobs decided to surprise Sony executives with a version of Mac OS X running on a VAIO, four years before the Intel transition was made public.

As we all now know, that Apple/Sony partnership wasn’t meant to be. For Sony, the proposal was simply a case of bad timing, as it ran counter to not only the success the VAIO line was experiencing at the time, but also the wishes of its engineering team. After having spent so much time optimizing VAIO for Windows, Ando says Sony’s engineering team saw OS X on VAIO as a diversion of resources and were “opposed [to] asking ‘if it is worth it’.” It was because of these two factors that Sony never pursued the prospect of Mac-compatible VAIOs any further.

~ Joseph Volpe – Engadget

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I seriously doubt that this was ever a possibility – even if Jobs wanted it, the relationship Sony had with Windows and the success of the VAIO line at the time makes this story simply unreal.

Satya is Microsoft’s new CEO

Microsoft Corp. named Satya Nadella chief executive officer, tapping an insider steeped in business technology to speed turnaround at a software maker that helped usher in the personal-computing age only to be left behind as the world shifted toward the Web and mobile devices.

Nadella will replace Steve Ballmer effective immediately after a five-month search, Microsoft said in a statement today. Bill Gates, the company’s first CEO, will step aside as chairman and devote more time to product development, while remaining on the board and running his philanthropic foundation. John Thompson, the board member who led the CEO search, becomes chairman.

The new CEO, who was born in India and joined Microsoft in 1992, takes over at a critical juncture. Consumers and businesses are shunning PCs in favor of handheld devices made by rivals, sapping demand for Microsoft’s flagship products. Besides playing catchup to the likes of Apple Inc. and Google Inc., Nadella will be tasked with completing strategy changes, begun by Ballmer last year. That includes integrating the $7.2 billion integration of Nokia Oyj’s handset unit and turning Microsoft into a provider of services and hardware.

~  Dina Bass – Bloomberg Technology

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This is great news, Satya is a great option but the idea of Bill Gates becoming more involved with product development is what’s both interesting and exciting.