Hands on with the Apple Watch Series 5

In the 122nd episode of the iPhone Life Podcast, David shares his experiences with the Apple Watch Series 5 after upgrading from the original model. David and Donna also discuss why Apple is expected to skip its October announcement and wait until early 2020 to release a new iPad Pro.

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Transcript of episode 122:

Donna:             Welcome to the iPhone Life Podcast. I'm Donna Cleveland, editor-in-chief at iPhone Life.

David:               I'm David [Averbach 00:00:10], CEO and publisher.

Donna:             Each episode we bring to you the best apps, top tips, and great gear in the iOS world. Today we're talking about the Apple Watch series 5. David has one that he's been testing for the past few weeks.

David:               I got it.

Donna:             We also want to talk about the possibility of an October announcement from Apple in this issue, so stay tuned.

Donna:             We also want to share with you our favorite tip right now, which is how to customize... or it's my favorite tip right now... your iOS 13 messages profile with your name and picture. I've been having a lot of fun with this with my friends. If you go into the messages app, you now have the option to change your photo and your name, and you can do some fun nicknames if you want to mess with your friends or just have it be your actual name. This is the first time that it puts into your control what other people are seeing when they message you, because before a lot of times it would pull from social media. I would see a 10 year old picture from social media on my friend's messages profile.

Donna:             You look like you have a question.

David:               No, I just have a comment about it, which is exactly what you're saying which is that way back in the day Facebook had this functionality where they would sync people's contacts with their profile photos. I think they stopped doing it, or most people I know stopped using that functionality, one or the other. Because everyone I know has these 10 year old photos of everybody in their contacts.

Donna:             That's what it is. That's what I've noticed. It drives me crazy.

David:               So now, not only does it give you control, but it allows people to update their profiles as we all age and change and things like that.

David:               I do have a complaint that goes along with this, because I did have a few friends where I'd gone through the trouble of actually picking out a photo I really liked of them, and then they updated it, which is fine, but sometimes what they did is they halfway went through updating it. If you don't actually load a photo you can select a color for your initials. Sometimes it overwrote a nice picture I had of them of just their initials with a background color, and that was annoying.

David:               I think the takeaway there is follow Donna's steps that she's about to give you to make sure you're actually setting up a photo so that you're not overriding people's photos of you with your initials.

Donna:             It's true.

Donna:             You go to the messages app. You tap the three dot icon next to messages at the top, and that in general usually gives you more menu options. From there, if you already have something set for your name and photo, you'll have the option to edit name and photo. Otherwise, you'll have another option to set it up for the first time. From there, you'll have the option to add a photo from your camera roll, and also to customize your first and last time. Also, when you're setting this up, in the tip we have written it says that it will ask you if you want to apply this to the messages app as well as your Apple ID and contacts listing; I had never had that pop up and ask me about that. Did it for you?

David:               It's funny because the tips you're giving I did it in the reverse way. I set it up for my Apple ID. I loaded up a photo, and then it said, "Do you want to apply it to your messages app?" So I did that in reverse, but there seemed to be multiple ways to get there.

Donna:             So if you go into the settings app and you tap your name at the top and from there you can edit your name and your photo as well. That's another way to do it.

Donna:             So you have some different options. One thing that's fun about it is that you set a Memoji as your picture if you want as well. If you have customized a Memoji previously, then you can just choose that, or you can set it up for the first time. I've noticed that people are starting to use Memojis a lot more. How long have we had them? It's been two years? Two years.

David:               It's been a couple of years, yeah.

Donna:             I feel it hadn't really picked up and now suddenly... at least in my little friend circle world... everyone is using them.

David:               We just had a conversation about that in a meeting yesterday. We have some articles about how to set up Memojis and they've exploded in popularity. We were commenting on that.

David:               I think what it is is that first of all a lot of people are updating their phones and now have access to the Ann emojis. Second, Apple now has a lot of options of stickers and things you can use a Memoji for that even if you have an older phone you can use it, so suddenly they're available to everyone.

Donna:             Right. My mom has an older phone and she set up her own Memoji and is loving it. It's cute.

David:               It's weird how long it took to catch on and suddenly it's popular. I still stand by Bitmoji is my favorite. What about you?

Donna:             I'm kind of converting now. I think Memojis are cute. Also, there's all the extra options. It's way more possible to make a Memoji look like you now. I feel like the one I set up for my mom and helped my sister too, it really looks like them, which is fun. That is what I didn't like about it before, is that they were too generic.

David:               I will say that I had breakthrough on my Memoji, as long as we're on the topic.

Donna:             A breakthrough, wow.

David:               Well, I always complained that Memoji does not have good options for long curly hair, especially for me, so I put my hair up. We talked about this in [crosstalk 00:05:34]. Now it looks more like me because my hair is up and I often have my hair up.

Donna:             Yeah. I'm trying to think if there was anything else with this tip I wanted to share. No.

David:               We got way off topic there.

Donna:             I think that's it. Do any of your friends have Memoji message profiles?

David:               No. I don't think I've seen anyone do a Memoji message profile. I've definitely have been noticing them getting a lot more Memojis, and I will say that I like the stickers. I've started doing some Memoji sticks, which I've never done stickers before, but I'm enjoying that.

Donna:             The stickers are fun. I agree with you that Bitmoji is better than Memojis in that way because there are so many options, whereas already... The stickers, there are a few things: your face with hearts or a frowny face, but you kind of run through them quickly. Like, you need more.

David:               Yeah, totally.

Donna:             I'm hoping Apple adds more.

Donna:             All right, that's our favorite tip this week. If you're interested in signing up for our daily tips newsletter, go to iphonelife.com/dailytips.

Donna:             I wanted to share some comments from our listeners. Last episode... or maybe it was the episode before... we talked about the Apple Card. We had some people write in who also had the Apple Card.

David:               It was last episode.

Donna:             Okay.

Donna:             "I completely the credit card application in less than five minutes and was approved. My wife wanted a physical card, which is an advantage since retailers don't always utilize Apple Pay. I use Apple Pay via the wallet app. The critical advantage of the actual card is that there are no numbers on it, making it less likely to be compromised. The Apple Card also uses encrypted numbers versus just your credit card account number, thus adding another layer of security to avoid compromise. Easy to use, pay, check your balance via the wallet app. All other credit cards will have to match Apple Cards if only for the security features. Hands down the safest credit card to use. I'm a dedicated Visa/Amex user. Probably not for long."

Donna:             That was from Mike Davis. He seems very enthusiastic about Apple Card.

David:               Yeah. I will say that everybody seems to have sided with Noah. We had one person... I think Ken sided with me with the exchange rates of credit card points, but most people seemed to prefer the convenience of the Apple Card, at least the people who emailed us. Is that correct?

Donna:             Yeah. And we have one more from Virgil. He said, "I got the Apple Card just before buying a new Mac laptop. I wanted the 3% cash back. The application was super easy and quick and I could start using it immediately. The physical card came and activated in a unique way and was almost instant as well. My 18 year old daughter and first year college student applied and got her Apple Card, her first credit card. The application process was much more involved. She had answer lots more questions and take a picture of her drivers license. Her credit limit was 1,000 dollars and interest rate is very high, probably the max, LOL. Now two of my children also have the Apple Card. Overall, I'm very happy with it."

Donna:             That's interesting, because one thing I was curious about is the application process depending on your credit rating or like as an 18 year old. It sounds just like any credit card: they put you through more if you're just getting started.

David:               But it is nice to hear that if you are just getting started you do have access to it. The thing that I was saying the last podcast episode was that it has comparable benefits to entry-level cards. The fact that people with entry level credit, so to speak, can have access to it makes it a really appealing option for that demographic.

Donna:             Yeah.

David:               Can I tell you what I did? It's off the topic, but about credit cards.

Donna:             Sure.

David:               I just got an Amazon credit card. Normally, I'm all about the sign up bonuses and I optimize for that, but I spend a lot of money on Amazon. Like, an embarrassing amount of money on Amazon each month.

Donna:             Me too.

David:               Amazon gives you 5% back on Amazon purchases.

Donna:             Really?

David:               Yeah. Now, I have it and I only use it on Amazon purchases and it's saving me so much money.

Donna:             Oh my god, I think I need to get one.

David:               So that's a side... Some day we'll have a credit card podcast and I'll just share all my credit card views.

Donna:             Yeah. For people who didn't listen to the last episode, it might be nice to give a little context, because this all sounds like such glowing reviews of the Apple Card with people writing in, but really... I felt like last episode we came more to the conclusion that if you're willing to put in the time and play the credit card game, the Apple Card is not the best. It doesn't give you that higher cash back than other credit cards and things like that.

David:               Exactly. I think the conclusion we came to was that it depends on how you use credit cards. If you're somebody who wants convenience, then Apple Card is a great option. If you're somebody who enjoys both the convenience of signing up and... Noah was very happy with how the dashboard was set up and easy to use. If you're somebody who uses credit cards to optimize for rewards, it's not the best option. It doesn't give a sign up bonus, which a lot of cards do, and the rewards are fine... 2% back for a lot of things... but they're pretty comparable to most other cards out there.

David:               I mean, it's a cool looking card. It doesn't require a high credit score to use, necessarily. It has okay returns in terms of cash back. But in terms of if you're trying to optimize for rewards, it's not necessarily the best card.

Donna:             Yes. Security is a good feature of it. With some of our listeners, security was a big deal to them. You mentioned the cash back but also that it's really easy to manage in the wallet app. To me, that seems like one of the biggest advantages... Our COO, Noah, was on the show last episode and was saying that for him that was really great. Just having it be super easy to use and... I hope all credit cards move in that direction of having apps that work that well.

David:               Absolutely. They're doing a lot of things right and I hope other cards move in that direction.

Donna:             Yeah.

Donna:             So let's talk about the October announcement that we most likely are not going to get.

David:               Or lack thereof.

Donna:             There have been a lot of rumors about Apple potentially having an October announcement. Over the past decade Apple has held an October announcement most years. I think it's just been two years that they haven't. But we think that we would've heard about it by now if there was going to be one.

David:               One caveat we want to throw out there is that we're recording this episode a bit early. Donna is going on vacation next week and we can't have a podcast without her, so we're recording this early. You all might know more than we do at the time you're listening to this. Already, we are assuming that because we haven't heard about that there most likely won't be an October announcement. By the time you're listening, if you have not heard about an October announcement, it's pretty unlikely that there will be one.

Donna:             Because usually Apple has sent out an invite about two weeks ahead of an announcement, and it's usually been mid to late October. It would be very unlikely that Apple is going to have one at all if we haven't heard about it.

David:               Nonetheless, let's talk about what would have been in the announcement, because there were rumors that there were going to be an announcement and what should've been in it.

Donna:             What should've been in the announcement... and really are still devices that will probably be up next for updates, whether that's this fall or early spring 2020... are the iPad Pro and there's supposed to be a 16 inch MacBook Pro, which is a larger display than any MacBook Pro has right now. And also new iMacs.

David:               Nice. To be honest, it feels like they had a really substantial update on the iPad Pro. I have the new one and I'm not sitting there pulling out my checkbook to spend another thousand or 1,500 on the new one. It feels like they had such a substantial one that I'm not surprised that they didn't update it.

Donna:             I know. To me, it still feels weirdly soon to even be thinking about a new iPad pro. I don't know why. I think, like you said, it's because it was so substantial. What would they change about it? Which we should talk about, also.

David:               The 16 inch MacBook Pro I was excited about. Apple used to have a 17 inch MacBook Pro and a lot of people loved it. A lot of people in our office... myself included... used the laptops as their primary computing device, and it's kind of nice to have that screen real estate. So I was excited about it. I think it will happen eventually, but it's not yet happening.

David:               What are the rumors for when the iPad Pro does... the new one... when they do update it?

Donna:             The rumors, they don't sound that exciting to me personally because I don't use a camera on the iPad very much, because a lot of the rumors are saying that it'll get updates similar to the iPhone 11 Pro line, which would be a triple lens camera and an updated processor, and that's it.

David:               The updated processor is always nice, but yeah, I would be so unexcited about both of those. First of all, the iPad Pro... in my opinion... is almost a little overpowered, not that you ever complain that it's a powerful device, but because of the limitations in the operating system I still maintain that you cannot do a lot of complex computing tasks on it. It's got a really powerful processor for the simple types of computing tasks that you end up doing on it. And I never take photos on my iPad, ever. Do you?

Donna:             No. You said you use your iPad mostly at home on coach or in bed or whatever, so it's like how many photos are you going to be taking? And I'm not carrying it around with me very much, which is what's so great about the iPhone as a camera: you have it with you when the moment arises where you want to take photos.

David:               Exactly. It's almost comical if for any reason I try to take a photo with an iPad. First of all, I have a pretty bulky case on it because it's not designed for being put in my pocket, so I have like a folio case and I'm holding it with two hands out here and it's this huge device.

Donna:             It feels comical, yeah.

David:               I have a phone that has a better camera, and even if you have the same quality camera why would I ever use an iPad?

Donna:             I feel like when I've been on vacation occasionally you'll see tourists carrying around an iPad. It's like, no one wants to be that person.

David:               Yeah, nobody wants to be that person.

Donna:             Write in to podcast@iphonelife.com and let us know if we're missing something.

David:               Tell us how wrong we are.

Donna:             And if you're really excited about the iPad Pro with a triple camera. I don't know.

Donna:             16 inch MacBook Pro, I agree the bigger display sounds nice. I don't know much more about what would be updated there. I assume better processor.

David:               Yeah. There's a couple of features that I think the MacBook Pro has started integrating already that is pretty nice. They have Intel's newest generation of processors, which is supposed to be a pretty large step forward, which I would like. I think my MacBook Pro is either one or two years old, so it's pretty new, and I'm already feeling sad that I don't have a new processor. They also now have the option for 32 gigabytes of RAM, which in this day and age feels pretty necessary. If you do a lot of professional tasks on your computer, 32 gigabytes of RAM is not that much. Most laptops or computers that are desktop are like 64 gigabytes of RAM now, so that's nice.

David:               Another thing that is really nice is that there's been a lot of complaints about Apple's keyboard. There's a lot of people that are complaining that it's malfunctioning, that keys are breaking down, and I think it's called like a butterfly switch keyboard. They're supposed to be fixing it. They keep claiming that they're going to fix it. Those are a lot of detailed things, but them fixing that keyboard would be really nice.

Donna:             Have you had any problems with your keyboard?

David:               I haven't, but our CTO, Raf, complains about it to me at least once a week.

Donna:             To me, what's weird about your keyboard is how shallow it is. You hardly depress the keys at all.

David:               Yeah, which is a bit weird to begin with.

Donna:             Do you like that, though?

David:               I don't care that much. I'm not Raf. I don't care that much about it. I will say that my partner's keyboard, the shift key stopped working.

Donna:             That's terrible.

David:               It's such a bummer when that happens. It's probably not that big of a deal to fix if you live near an Apple Store, but if you don't it's a hassle. It's definitely a problem. A lot of people are complaining about it online.

Donna:             Well, I guess we might have to wait until the spring for these devices.

David:               Yeah. Apple tends to have a floating announcement. They almost always announce the iPhones in September like they did this year. Then they often have an announcement in the later fall and/or the spring. So it's not that weird that they're skipping one. They often either skip the late fall or the spring. We'll probably get these in the spring.

Donna:             I think we should make a question for this episode. We can usually choose another one if we want. Let us know if there's anything you're particularly looking forward to Apple releasing next, and also if you would be excited about an updated iPad Pro and/or MacBook Pro. Email podcast@iphonelife.com.

Donna:             David, tell us about the Apple Watch series 5 next.

David:               I've had it for about two weeks now. So far I'm really enjoying it. If you listen to the podcast regularly you know that I had the original Apple Watch. It wasn't even a series 1. There was no name. It was just the original Apple Watch. I skipped so many generations that my experience with it is not necessarily the same experience as it would be if you updated from the four. But I'm really enjoying it.

Donna:             Which is the one that I have. I have the Apple Watch series 4, and before that I had the original one. I updated because there was an issue with the original Apple Watch where the battery was expanding in some people's, so my display popped off. That's what inspired me to update. It was also so slow. I couldn't believe how long you kept your original one. Could you talk about the speed comparison of the original versus this?

David:               Absolutely, and you're right. When I got my new one, my reaction was to feel angry that I had been using my old one for so long. I had pretty much stopped doing most tasks with my Apple Watch because it was so slow, and I don't know why I did that to be honest. I should've upgraded a long time ago.

Donna:             That was going to be my next question: why did you wait so long?

David:               Because I didn't have the contrast. It still worked okay until I used the new one and I realized how slow it was. A lot of the stuff was things that you don't think about as being a speed issue. For example, when a text comes in and I look my watch it shows up instantly for me now, whereas before it would take a second to load. But I wasn't thinking that the processor is slow, I was just thinking that's how Apple Watches work. Does that make sense?

Donna:             Yeah.

David:               I'm really enjoying the speed. It means I can use third party apps more. I still don't use that many... Do you use third party apps?

Donna:             I was going to ask. I feel like I could more often now, but with the Apple Watch what I found to be most useful is built-in apps of Apple's.

David:               I do use Spotify's app now, which I never used on my other one.

Donna:             I use that too, actually.

David:               I'm still annoyed at Spotify because they don't allow you to download music onto your Apple Watch, but it's still nice to be able to control Spotify. I use Siri on my watch now, which I never used on my other watch because it was too slow and frustrating for me.

Donna:             Very frustrating. There were a lot of things I was trained out of trying to do on my Apple Watch when I had the original one just because the loading time... I had a different reaction when it would take a while. It would just make me feel like the Apple Watch is useless.

David:               There was some of that, for sure, where I just stopped using it for functions.

Donna:             So when I got the series 4 I was suddenly like, "Oh, it's not really inconvenient to do things with my Apple Watch, so I'm more likely to do it." With the original, I always feel like fitness tracking has been well done and works well, so that's why I liked my Apple Watch, and to get the occasional notification and see my messages. It was nice for that and that was pretty much it.

Donna:             But now I agree. It's great for dictating messages with Siri. It's fast.

David:               I'm also appreciating the bigger screen. I think they updated this in the series 4. It's a bigger screen but it's thinner and lighter, so I'm really appreciating that. And it has a new haptic engine, which it feels nicer when you're using it, especially using the crown. It has this nice clicking as I'm scrolling through things that feels nice.

Donna:             What's unique about the Apple Watch series 5 that you can't get with the series 4?

David:               The main thing is the always on display. That's the biggest one. There's also a couple other small ones. There's noise monitoring. Those are the two main ones, to be honest. There's not a huge amount other than that.

Donna:             I feel like at Apple's even they talked about the always on display a lot. I actually care about this feature a lot. It's not worth updating from the series 4 to the series 5... in my opinion... for it, but I was mad that I don't get it. Tell us, what is the always on display?

David:               The name is a bit self-explanatory. How Apple Watches used to work is that they would be a black screen until you looked at it and then it would light up. So you'd look at your watch and then it would light up and tell you the time or whatever notification, but if you weren't looking at it it would not light up.

David:               There's a couple problems with that. First, it made the watch look a little weird to everyone else in the world, because there was just a black box on your wrist. Now it looks more like a normal watch to people, which is nice.

Donna:             Because Apple makes a big deal about customizing your watch face and all these things, and if no one can ever see it but you, it's a bit weird.

David:               Yeah. The other thing is that a lot of times I'm just looking at my watch out of the corner of my eye. I'm not doing a full wrist turn like this to get it to light up. Now I can see the time, I can see if I have any notifications, without having to fully look at it. There were a lot of times where I would want to look at my watch and would take a while because I'd think it was going to work and didn't quite register or I didn't want to go through the trouble of turning my wrist towards me.

David:               Here are my complaints about it, though. It's not perfect. First of all, it does not have functionality unless you're looking at your wrist, which is really confusing. So if I take my watch right and it's facing not towards me and I try to use it, it won't work, which is weird.

Donna:             Oh, weird. And that's, I'm assuming, a battery-saving feature?

David:               I don't know if it's a battery-saving feature or if it's trying to avoid the scenario of people just brushing up against up. But it's confusing because I'll look at my wrist and I'll see that I have a notification... I'll see the red dot... and I'll swipe down to view that red dot and I can't do it until I look at my wrist, and then it works.

Donna:             Is there any visual indication between when you're able to use it and when you're not?

David:               Yes. That's a bit of a good thing and a bit of a bad thing. The view on the always on display is not the same view as when you're looking at your wrist. I switched to one of the more nice-looking watch faces because of the always on display. I have the jellyfish one. Have you ever used this?

Donna:             I like that one. It's cool looking.

David:               It's really cool. It's this ethereal jellyfish floating around and every time I look at it I see this jellyfish floating on my screen, and they adjust the colors of the text to match the jellyfish, which is a nice, subtle feature. But that's not the view that I have when I'm not looking at my wrist. It's not showing me the time. It's basically just showing me the complications. So it's not a beautiful display.

Donna:             And for anyone listening who doesn't know what a complication is, that's a traditional watch term that is any information that's not the time.

David:               Yes. So it's not a traditional display in that sense. It does give the visual indicator that my watch is not ready to be used, but it also doesn't make my watch look pretty, which was one of the things I wanted.

Donna:             It negates my point of choosing your watch face, you get to customize it, and then you don't get to show it to anyone. Well, you still don't get to show it to anyone.

Donna:             I guess that does make sense to me, though, because the Apple Watch battery is a bit of an issue. It's a bit of a stretch to get through a full day on just one charge. So if they're going to have a display with a cool graphic on it all the time, that would probably kill your battery so fast.

David:               I will say that I'm updating from such an old Apple Watch, so the comparison is unfair, but I've had no problems with battery life on it, with the always on display.

Donna:             That was going to be my next question, because even Apple spent a long time at the announcement talking about they developed the technology in such a way that it wouldn't affect your battery life, I've heard a lot of people being skeptical about that, being like, "Already I struggle with my Apple Watch battery. What's this going to do to it?"

David:               My dream is to be able to go two days. I cannot do that. A day and a half and my Apple Watch dies. But I can make it solidly and comfortably through an entire day without having a problem. That's the bar.

Donna:             And even with workouts and stuff, because that takes up a lot of battery.

David:               I had one day where I did a lot of workouts and I used my Apple Watch for navigating, and I think it died by the end of the day. But it either made it through the day or almost made it through the day, so I wasn't too... Like, that was a pretty rigorous use case.

Donna:             Yeah, those are the two biggest battery drains.

David:               I don't know about you, but I like the magnetic puck on the bottom, but every once in a while... I keep it on my nightstand and then it'll get knocked off and then it doesn't charge.

Donna:             Yeah, that's happened to me, too.

David:               I would like it if it could last two days for that reason.

Donna:             Would you say that overall the always on display is a feature that has delivered?

David:               Those of you who have listened to the podcast a long time know that I love my Apple Watch. It's one of those things where nobody needs an Apple Watch... and it's hard to explain the value of it if you don't own one... but almost everyone I know who owns one loves it.

Donna:             I think fitness tracking and notifications are really useful parts of the Apple Watch.

David:               Yeah. It's a very polished, functional device. Fitness tracking for sure. The notifications are the thing that I have hard time explaining to somebody how great they are, because it doesn't feel like a big deal. But now, if I ever don't have my Apple Watch on me, I find myself being really frustrated because I'm constantly having to pull out my phone to see if somebody notified me, if somebody texted me, if I got any notifications and read what they are. Being able to have my phone facedown on the table or in my pocket and having a general read on what's going on from my watch is weirdly convenient.

Donna:             And music playback is great, too. If you have the cellular one, it's even better because you don't have to deal with downloading music to your Apple Watch, but even so it's still nice.

David:               My overall recommendation and opinion is that if you have the series 4, don't bother. The always on display is nice. It is a nice addition. It was a good feature they added. It's not worth the money to upgrade. If you have an older device than the series 4, I think it's worth it because I do really enjoy the larger display, the faster processor. All of those are really nice and they're making a large difference in experience with my Apple Watch.

Donna:             Noise monitoring is the other feature we didn't talk about. It sounds like you're saying the always on display isn't enough alone to update from the series 4 to the 5. What about noise monitoring? Is that anything worthwhile to you?

David:               Again, this is one of those things where different people have different opinions. Some people really care about it. I find that feature to be completely useless. I have not used it once, other than to test out how it worked. If I'm in a noisy environment, I usually know that I'm in a noisy environment. There's sort of a middle ground where you're in a city where it's a bit noisy where it might be subtly affecting your long-term hearing, but you don't know that. I have not experienced that. Even if I did get a notification on my phone telling me that, I don't know what I'd do about it.

Donna:             How does the setup work, just to give people background?

David:               To be honest, I'm a bit confused by how it works. There is an app that is a listening app and I can tap on it and it'll tell me what the audio is. Right now I'm at 35 decibels. Funny enough, it would be a useful thing to have one while I'm doing a podcast. I never thought about that.

Donna:             Like, are you talking loud enough?

David:               Oh, I just spoke too loud. And weirdly, as I spoke too loud, it's like, "This might affect your long-term hearing."

Donna:             Am I piercing your eardrums with my voice?

David:               You're actually damaging my hearing right now, Donna. Please be quiet.

Donna:             Oh no!

David:               We're joking about it, but it's actually annoying to me that we're carrying on a normal conversation and it's telling me that it might be damaging my hearing.

Donna:             Seriously.

David:               But unless you open the app, I've never had it pop up and give me a notification. I don't know if that just means that I'm not damaging my hearing... I don't do a lot of things in loud places... or if it means that it doesn't function very well.

Donna:             I wonder if you should've sent your Apple Watch along with our video producer Rey Anne. She just went to a concert last week. That'd be a really good way to test it.

David:               I'm going to Chicago this weekend, so we'll see what happens. I am going to concert. But unlike Rey Anne, that went to a heavy metal show, I'm going to a folk concert, so I think I'll be safe.

Donna:             What concert is it?

David:               Yoke Lore. I'm really excited about it.

Donna:             I'm jealous, that sounds fun.

David:               And I'm going to a Bears game, so the Bears game will be the true test.

Donna:             Next episode you'll have to let us know about that one.

David:               Can I tell you something else I love about my Apple Watch that is not related to the series 5 at all? I'm loving the band that I got.

Donna:             Is it an Apple Watch band?

David:               It's an Apple Watch band and it's one of the ones that's included. It used to be the only one that was included was the sports band and it was just a rubber band. I have a hard time with Apple Watch bands in general, because I thought the sports band didn't look very nice, but I also don't want a leather band because I'm using it for fitness. The other problem that I have with the sports and most band is that my wrist is often between sizes. It's either a bit loose or a bit too tight. That's particularly annoying for an Apple Watch where you need to have a snug fit for the heart rate monitor to work successfully.

David:               This is a nice middle ground in that it's Velcro, so it can be an exact fit. It also, in my opinion... It's made of a nylon finish where it's water-resistant. It handles sweat pretty well.

Donna:             It looks nice, too.

David:               And it doesn't look that bad. You would think it would look kind of ugly, and it doesn't look that bad.

Donna:             Yeah. When I hear a Velcro strap you think of something really cheap-looking, but it doesn't.

David:               And it was free. A lot of Apple Watch bands they upsell you, so you have to pay extra to use instead of the sports band. This was an option that I could get for the same price as the sports band. In other words, it was a companion for the Apple Watch and I didn't pay extra for it.

Donna:             I think the fit is a huge thing, too, because I have a leather watch band that I really like but the leather stretches over time. I feel like most of the time I'm between notches on there, so it's either feeling too loose or too tight on my wrist, which is really unpleasant.

David:               And do you use it when you work out, because I had a leather band...

Donna:             I do, but you're right. It's kind of gross.

David:               Not to point fingers or anything, but mine got really gross. I had to stop using it.

Donna:             No, mine is gross.

David:               The outside looked okay, but if you ever looked on the inside of it you could see sweat stains.

Donna:             Not ideal.

David:               I've been happy with this.

Donna:             I think that wraps up our episode, unless you had any parting thoughts about the Apple Watch series 5 you wanted to share with our listeners.

David:               No. I think the one thing I will say in terms of upgrading, one of the reasons why I drew the line between series 4... The heart rate monitor is really nice. It's not something that you're going to use regularly, but when you need it it's really comforting to know that I have it. I did go and... It's the EKG, I think is what it's called?

Donna:             Oh yeah, the EKGM.

David:               The EKG... I did go and use it and I do have a normal, functioning heart, which I was relieved to see. It's funny because it gave me this notification that was like, "You have a sinus rhythm," and I was like, "Oh my gosh, what's that?" I'm panic-Googling it and they're like, "That's the normal thing." I'm like, "Okay, good."

Donna:             That means you have a heartbeat.

David:               Exactly. Good, I have a heartbeat.

David:               The series 4 they added that functionality, so if you have before series 4 you don't have it. It's one of those things where you're probably not going to spend the money just for an EKG unless you're particularly wanting to monitor your heart conditions, but having it is nice.

Donna:             It's amazing for that.

David:               There's a certain amount of comfort. Apple is not joking around when they have all these commercials with people who saved their life with it. So it is nice.

Donna:             I feel like it's great for... Both my dad and my grandma have the Apple Watch and I think it's a nice thing, as you're aging, to have to access to be more proactive about your own health. That feature, by the way, you just press your finger to the digital crown for 30 seconds and it tells you that. It seems almost like magic. It's pretty cool.

David:               I should use it more regularly, to be honest, because it was one of those where I expected it just to happen, but no. You have to actually go in and do it.

Donna:             Whereas a lot of the heart rate monitoring is passive otherwise, but this is something different.

David:               I do have one other feature I'm enjoying that is a feature that I think has been available since the series one, so I'm a little embarrassed to talk about it. My Apple Watch can now unlock my computer. I don't know if you have that turned on. If you have a Mac or a MacBook, you can set it up so that when you have your Apple Watch on you go towards your computer, you turn it on, and you do not need to enter a passcode any more.

Donna:             You're right. I remember hearing about that feature years ago and I just never set it up.

David:               I tried to before but I couldn't because I had the original series. I'm really enjoying that. It's such a little detail. It's not a reason why you buy an Apple Watch but it's a reason why you love an Apple Watch.

David:               The other one that I've always had... everyone who has an Apple Watch has... But one of those little things why I love my Apple Watch: if I can't find my phone, I can use my Apple Watch to ping my phone. That's [crosstalk 00:37:31].

Donna:             That's one I use all the time.

David:               Everyone I know who has an Apple Watch uses it a lot, but we wanted just to share the benefits of Apple Watch in general, because I know... I'll give you some statics... about 25% of you all have Apple Watches and the rest don't. Hopefully we're sharing the benefits and it's interesting for those of you who don't and those of you who do and are thinking of upgrading.

David:               I love it. I'm really enjoying it.

Donna:             And the holiday season is coming up, so it could be either an excuse to treat yourself or maybe you want to get one for a family member.

David:               Yeah.

Donna:             All right, we'll see you in a couple weeks. Thanks so much for joining us.

David:               If you're an insider, stick around. We've got some bonus content for you.

Donna:             That's right.

David:               We'd love to ask for you guys to rate and share this podcast. It helps other people find it. If you go into iTunes or the podcast app and rate it we'd really appreciate it.

Donna:             Thanks so much.

David:               Thanks everyone.

Donna:             Bye.

Donna:             Thanks for sticking around insiders. We have some special content for you. David, do you want to get us started?

David:               Sure. We're going to do some complaints and learning this week, and I've got both.

Donna:             Okay.

David:               Let's start with the complaint half of it. Donna and I both have the iPhone 11 Pros, and one the subtle things that Apple did... and they didn't really talk about it very much and I don't think I was aware of it... is that they got rid of 3D touch.

Donna:             I know. I was going to say this is a shared complaint, because I'm missing it.

David:               And my partner is missing it. Everybody got used to it. In general, I think you, me, and my partner all had the exact same reason we were missing it, which is... for the most part, I don't notice it gone. The one thing that I found that I use 3D touch a lot for was when I'm texting on the keyboard being able to 3D touch to control where the cursor is. Is that the main thing you're missing?

Donna:             Yes. Basically, I realized that I was using 3D touch more than I thought that I was. Before I was like, "Oh, this is a dumb feature because Apple played it up for years," and it's not intuitive. There's no visual indicator that if press harder something different will happen, so therefore people won't use it.

David:               And that's all true.

Donna:             But over the years, I was using it more. I'd learned to use it in more ways than I thought I had. So if you would press and hold or do the 3D touch press on the keyboard it would gray out and you could move your cursor around with really precise control. I used that all the time.

David:               I used that a lot. I didn't even realize how much I used it until it was gone. My learning is that I have a solution for you.

Donna:             Tell us about that.

David:               But first I want to hear more about what other uses you have for 3D touch that you're missing.

Donna:             I don't know how much this one will apply to listeners unless you also like Instagram stories a lot, but I usually take live photos with my camera. You could upload a live photo to your Instagram story and if you would 3D touch it you'd have the option to turn it into a boomerang video, and that was something that I used a lot. Now you can do a boomerang video in your Instagram story but you have to take the video in the app now. [crosstalk 00:40:40].

David:               I wonder if that's something that Instagram will fix on their end, though.

Donna:             I think so. And maybe there's a way around it now that I don't know about. But I did do some Google searches and couldn't find the solution for it. It just feels weird. It's a lost functionality. When you're upgrading, you're expecting to only have improvements.

David:               That's exactly it. You don't want a trade off. You don't want to lose functionality that you depended on when you just spend 1,000 dollars on a phone.

Donna:             Exactly. I guess I was using some of the app shortcuts where you would press and hold for them. You can still get to them by long pressing. I guess that even when there are things that you can still access by long-pressing, it's not as satisfying as using the 3D touch. I feel like there was some haptic feedback and it... I don't know, it just felt more controlled, which leads into your solution for the cursor. There is a solution, but I don't like it as much.

David:               You've rejected it. I'm okay with it.

David:               Here's the solution, and this comes curtesy of Noah, our COO. When you're texting, if you long press on the keyboard, you can bring up the...

Donna:             On the space bar.

David:               Thank you, on the space bar. You long press on the space bar. You can bring up the exact same functionality. It's exactly the same as if... when you had 3D touch... when you 3D touched. It used to be 3D touch could do this from anywhere on the keyboard. Now you have to long press on the space bar. That's the solution.

David:               I'm always embarrassed when we do this, because I'm sure that was something that we had a tip of the day on back in the day and I just forgot, but I had totally forgotten that that was a way of doing it. I'm so relieved to know that I can still control the cursor this way, because the other way of doing it is that you tap where you want the cursor to go, but I just find that I had such bad controls that way. I have such a hard time getting to go... It won't really go in the middle of a word, and a lot of times I'm using my cursor to change a spelling mistake, which is in the middle word. Using that, it works pretty well with the space bar.

David:               Now, why don't you like it? I feel like the space bar is totally acceptable for me.

Donna:             I'm really glad I can still use this feature, but it does require more work in my mind, because sometimes I've noticed when I press and hold the space bar it just doesn't work. Maybe I'm just not doing it as well or something and I'm still trying to press extra hard and it's not graying out as quickly, whereas before it would so reliably gray out any time I would press hard on the keyboard.

David:               I think that's at the heart of what your complaint is, is that 3D touch is a bit more reliable than long presses. How long is long for a press?

Donna:             Exactly. I'm sure it's something that as I get used to the long press I'll get better at it, and right now I'm not that good at it. I've been using 3D touch all this time.

David:               It's like a learning curve, which is just annoying because it's a learning curve because they got rid of a functionality.

Donna:             For those of you listening, I know tons of friends who didn't even know the trackpad option was there, so if this applies to you I think it's a featuring that will be very transformative for the way that you type on your iPhone or iPad.

David:               It's really nice. I never knew how much I loved that feature until I thought it had gone away and I was heartbroken. I wanted to trade my phone back.

David:               Okay, what's your complaint or learning?

Donna:             I have a complaint learning/update. I ran a 5K last weekend with my husband...

David:               Is that your complaint?

Donna:             It was raining and I am complaining about that. Anyways, I ran a 5K. That was something I'd really been wanting to do. I discovered while training for it that listening to music is such a game changer for being able to push yourself to run when you are feeling terrible. What I've been doing for that is using my Spotify subscription. So I use my iPhone. Had an arm strap situation. But for the 5K I didn't feel like dealing with that, so my husband finally signed up for Apple Music, because he has an Apple Watch. If you're using your Apple Watch as your music source, having an Apple Music subscription really is the way to go. The Spotify app is limited and you can only stream music... He has the cellular Apple Watch, so he has the capability to stream any song he wants from his Apple Watch if he has Apple Music.

Donna:             So, I'm actually switching to Apple Music, because we're going to do the family plan and it makes the most sense. But because I want to keep running more often, one thing that I think is a cool new feature of iOS 13 that should come to the Apple Watch is the ability to stream music from your Apple Watch to two pairs of AirPods.

David:               Yes. I'm really excited about that as a feature on iOS 13 for the iPhone.

Donna:             Because what we did is that he had his AirPods and I wore one of his AirPods and he wore the other and he had an Apple Music station going on his Apple Watch, so that's how we listened to music for the 5K. But it would be a lot better if we could each have our own AirPads.

David:               Part of what's so cute about that is that you guys probably had to stay really close to each other to make that work. Did you hold hands while you ran the 5K?

Donna:             We did not hold hands, but if it makes you happy thinking that we did, then we did.

David:               I kind of like to imagine that.

David:               I have a bonus complaint in all of this, which is Spotify needs to get their act together on the Apple Watch app. I have the same exact thing. I enjoy running and when I run... because I'm not using Apple Music... I have to strap my phone to my arm, and the only reason why is because Spotify has a terrible app. That's it.

Donna:             When you own an Apple Watch, it also feels wrong that you should have to strap your phone to your arm when you have a watch that could be doing that.

David:               Even though I gave you a hard time, I will say that if there were one thing that could convince me to leave Spotify and go to Apple Music, it would be that functionality: the fact that I can download music onto my Apple Watch with Apple Music.

Donna:             That's a good clarification for you guys, is that Tyler... my husband... has the cellular Apple Watch, so that's why he can stream music like that, but David and I both have a non-cellular Apple Watches, so even with Apple Music we have to download playlists to our Apple Watches to make that work. Basically, the Apple Watch still has a way to go with music playing.

David:               Again, I don't know, is it the Apple Watch? I guess for your complaint of not being able to connect two AirPods, it is the Apple Watch. But for me, I think it's Spotify. I think Spotify just didn't do it. And I should've clarified this for the rest of episode for my Apple Watch hands on, I did not with the cellular. You don't have the cellular, do you?

Donna:             No.

David:               And I don't miss it. There's very few situations where I don't have my phone with me and I have my Apple Watch and I want to be able to make a call.

David:               So I'm happy about that. But I have plenty of playlists on Spotify. I don't need to stream music. I just want to be able to play music from my Apple Watch so I don't have to take my phones on runs.

Donna:             This is a complaint for Spotify. They need to get their act together.

David:               And you'll have to update us on how you like Apple Music.

Donna:             I'm not that optimistic about it. We talked about it, and it doesn't make sense to be paying for Spotify and Apple Music when we could just have a family plan. The thing with Spotify is that the free version is still pretty great, you just have to listen to ads. I'm still going to use Spotify a lot I think.

David:               Thank you insiders for being insiders.

Donna:             Yes, see you next time.

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Author Details

Donna Schill's picture

Author Details

Donna Schill

Donna Schill is the Editor in Chief at iPhone Life, where she oversees all multimedia content production for iPhone Life Insider, the premium educational platform for Apple enthusiasts and lifelong learners. After earning her master's degree from the University of Iowa School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Donna joined iPhone Life in 2012, where she has produced dozens of magazine issues, co-hosted hundreds of podcast episodes, and taught over 20 live online courses. When not glued to her iPhone 15 Pro Max, Donna can be found traveling, writing and podcasting (theneedle.co), or hiking the Iowa prairie where she lives with her partner and their German shepherd, Fox.