Wish List: 7 new features we'd like to see in a new 'Apple Watch Series 4'

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited April 16
For a lot of people, Apple may have checked off a major wish list item with the addition of LTE on Apple Watch Series 3. There are still plenty of things we'd like to see in the inevitable Apple Watch Series 4, though.

Apple Watch Series 3 - Spring bands


A "Series 4" due this fall is rumored to be getting a bigger display, a new form factor, and battery and health sensor improvements. There's still plenty of room for improvement on top of that.

Week-long battery life

Although the Series 3 can potentially last up to two days with light use, let's face it -- charging is usually a nightly ritual for Watch owners. That's why there's a multitude of docks and other third-party charging options, often designed for nightstands.

Some Watch owners might be surprised to learn that this isn't normal in the wearable world. Most Fitbits last at least three to four days on a charge, and higher-end Garmin watches like the Forerunner 935 can last up to two weeks.

Realistically, Apple probably won't be able to stretch battery life that far anytime soon. But something that lasts an entire weekend should be possible, and we can dream of something better.

Rugged design options

Apple Watch Series 3 - Surfing


The Watch is a little tougher than it looks, particularly on models with sapphire glass and ceramic or stainless steel cases. It's waterproof, it tends to survive minor bumps without a scratch, and you'll see it on a lot of wrists at the gym.

Thing is, even though Apple has regularly marketed "sport" versions of the Watch like the Nike+, we could stand to have something that's really designed for sports and fitness. We'll go into detail in a future editorial, but suffice it to say that even if it's more expensive, we feel it would be nice to have a Watch that could survive diving, jetskiing, or hard impacts.

Greater fitness tracking detail

Apple Watch - Activity rings complete


The Series 3 probably goes above and beyond most people's fitness needs. For all of the money Apple has pumped into health research, though, it's surprising that company is still being trounced by the likes of Polar and Garmin when it comes to available stats.

There's no native means of calculating your VO2 maximum, recovery time, or other performance metrics, for example. And as we've complained before, there's no way to track sets, reps, and pounds in weightlifting without a third-party app.

Apple could even do one better and offer up complete exercise routines. That's what a lot of new gym-goers need -- guidance.

Podcasts

Somehow we're already at watchOS 4.3 without any sort of native podcast sync -- even for Apple's own Podcasts app. Given that the company helped popularize podcasts in the first place, and how many people like to listen to podcasts when they're traveling or exercising, it's practically inexcusable.

Demand is intense enough that we'll almost certainly hear about plans at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, kicking off June 4. The real question is whether Apple will support third-party podcast clients like Overcast, and/or whether we'll get the feature in a point release or have to wait for this fall's "watchOS 5."

Bring back the Pride band

Apple Watch Pride Edition band


For as LGBT-friendly as Apple tends to be, it's surprising that the company made the nylon Pride Edition band a limited-time item. A portion of the proceeds went to LGBT organizations, and some Watch owners were eager to show their support for the cause. Others just liked the look of it, so much so that it's very easy to find third-party clones.

Apple should not only bring back the Pride band but make it a permanent staple of its lineup. After all, iPhones notwithstanding, it's not like the company doesn't keep (PRODUCT)RED accessories in constant circulation.

Video

It's ridiculous to imagine watching movies and TV shows on a Watch, certainly at its current size, but there's a good reason to want video: security cameras. Accessories like the August Doorbell Cam and Logitech Circle 2 can push thumbnail photos, but what you really want is highlight footage or even live streaming. Imagine being able to quickly check who's at the door with your wrist, then talk to guests or let them in.

Along those lines, we would like to see FaceTime show up eventually. It's not uncommon to see people holding up their iPhone in public to show their spouse or friends something, and doing so from a Watch would be a lot more convenient. Apple is probably just waiting to solve the miniaturization problem -- the Watch is cramped enough without adding an HD camera.

Full independence from an iPhone

Apple Watch - Corporate drones


This one might be some ways off, or downright unlikely, but being able to use a Watch without owning an iPhone would increase the appeal of the device. The limiting factors at the moment are which apps can use LTE, and the need to use an iOS app for setup, sync, configuration, and updates.

Conceivably, there's no reason why Apple couldn't create some sort of desktop, Web, or -- dare we say it -- Android-based setup alternatives. iPod sales took off when the player gained Windows compatibility. The Watch is meant to lock people into the Apple ecosystem though, and that might become harder if people could pair their Watch with the latest Samsung phone.

More probable is LTE and/or 5G opening up on the Watch in a way that means you could theoretically use your iPhone once then leave it at home. The Series 3 is most of the way there, but we need cellular support for every app and direct watchOS updates.

Apple Watch Series 3 and AirPods


Be sure to also check out our other wish lists for Siri, HomeKit, and CarPlay.
albegarc
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50

    Audio books. 

    Audio books.

    Did I mention audio books?  Because, audio books.

    And second the notion of better strength training tracking.  Something that is as simple as pencil and paper, but eliminates the need for transcribing to a spreadsheet or other tracking mechanism.

  • Reply 2 of 50
    I second the full independence form iPhone.  I would love to get one for my daughter for iMessage and location tracking (ala FMF), but she still doesn't need an iPhone at her age.
    airnerd
  • Reply 3 of 50
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 591member
    mbenz1962 said:
    I second the full independence form iPhone.  I would love to get one for my daughter for iMessage and location tracking (ala FMF), but she still doesn't need an iPhone at her age.
    I'd be happy if my watch would just seamlessly switch from being paired to my phone to not having the phone around. At least half the time I leave my phone at home I am unable to get my watch to actually go LTE and instead stays disconnected and drains the battery.  At least after this last round of help from the a Genius I was able to get it to re-pair with the watch without having to set up from new.  
  • Reply 4 of 50
    Double the battery life AND streaming video from security cameras?   

    Lol. Come on now.  Streaming my Wifi camera to my iPhone drains the battery within 5-6 hours.  Can’t imagine what it would do to the watch battery.  
    king editor the grateSpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 50
    macguimacgui Posts: 963member
    Double the battery life AND streaming video from security cameras?   

    Lol. Come on now.  Streaming my Wifi camera to my iPhone drains the battery within 5-6 hours.  Can’t imagine what it would do to the watch battery.  
    Yeah, that made me laugh. AND people also want thinner Watches. These request should have a consideration of some semblance of reality.


    AllI want is fresh, elegant Watch faces, some of them rectangular, like the Hermès lineup, and many, most, all of them analog.

    Also a little more granularity is placing the time in the Photos Watch face.

    Anything beyond my two requests (sent to Apple via feedback) is gravely.
    king editor the gratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 50
    I've more or less gotten used to which side the Stop/Snooze buttons are on, but it would be nice to be able to get rid of the Stop option. I used to be groggy enough to screw up an old-timey alarm clock; I'm not even 1/16th degrogged as I squint at Watch upon waking. If Series 4 adds a way to gauge bloody pressure, I'd pounce on that. That seems like a problematic addition. I'm more likely to procure a Series 3 to replace Series 0, following my pattern of being a semi-cheapskate. (I got Series 0 new in fall 2016.)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 50
    ctukyotoctukyoto Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    This is more a software gripe but I want it to not send my Activity sharing friends every single individual workout I track at the gym! I do 5 different workouts every morning and they complain about the spam they get from that. If I use the + New button to group workouts into one, my friends should only get one notification at the end as well.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 50
    Roger_FingasRoger_Fingas Posts: 106member, editor
    Double the battery life AND streaming video from security cameras?   

    Lol. Come on now.  Streaming my Wifi camera to my iPhone drains the battery within 5-6 hours.  Can’t imagine what it would do to the watch battery.  
    Just putting out things we'd like - we're not necessarily saying we can have it all.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    FolioFolio Posts: 396member

    Full independence from an iPhone




    This one might be some ways off, or downright unlikely, but being able to use a Watch without owning an iPhone would increase the appeal of the device. The limiting factors at the moment are which apps can use LTE, and the need to use an iOS app for setup, sync, configuration, and updates.

    Conceivably, there's no reason why Apple couldn't create some sort of desktop, Web, or -- dare we say it -- Android-based setup alternatives. iPod sales took off when the player gained Windows compatibility. The Watch is meant to lock people into the Apple ecosystem though, and that might become harder if people could pair their Watch with the latest Samsung phone.
    Another excellent piece in your series... At risk of saying obvious, which you alluded to, I see Watch as "a reward," a benefit for users in the ecosystem and an enticement to bring new ones in.

    In short, not really "lock people into... ecosystem" . For instance, if Apple opened the door, do you think many would flee? The iPhone improves the Watch experience, and vice versa, for the foreseeable future. Yes, maybe an independent "gateway device" much later, as you say.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 50
    Can Apple realistically step outside the garden a bit and give us an Android app Watch app? I literally keep an iPhone SE just for the purposes of getting my runs to Strava, then turn it off again until the next day.
  • Reply 11 of 50
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,762member
    ctukyoto said:
    This is more a software gripe but I want it to not send my Activity sharing friends every single individual workout I track at the gym! I do 5 different workouts every morning and they complain about the spam they get from that. If I use the + New button to group workouts into one, my friends should only get one notification at the end as well.
    Why would you share your workout info at all and why would your friends even care about your workout?
    beowulfschmidtjbdragonSpamSandwich
  • Reply 12 of 50
    Seems a bit tame if hardware form-factor changes are on the table for this wishlist?

    On a phone curved screens are a solution looking for a problem, but on a watch they offer the possibility of something which is both *thinner* and potentially has a higher internal volume for more battery life or a camera (not sure I want a camera, but more room means more options). If the screen were flexible as well as curved, that would open up a massive design space. As would smart bands with additional sensors.

    At the other end of the complexity spectrum:
    Making the Activity app realize when I've stopped a workout and prompt me to end it would be a simple software upgrade. I've lost count of how many times I've been sitting on the train on the way home and the app is still recording it as a workout. It's smart enough to figure out I'm sitting down but it should give me a tap on the wrist and ask if I'm done.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 50
    FolioFolio Posts: 396member

    Audio books. 

    Audio books.

    Did I mention audio books?  Because, audio books.

    And second the notion of better strength training tracking.  Something that is as simple as pencil and paper, but eliminates the need for transcribing to a spreadsheet or other tracking mechanism.

    Yes, yes to Audio books and podcasts.

    Its fantastic the variety of workouts listed on Watch: yoga, "play," badminton, even curling. Maybe add "household chores," so people get credit for vacuuming, etc. 

    Yeah, measurements (and rings) still need improving. I average 12-13 mph on one 5 mile bike trail and heart rate around 160 bpm, but if I did it at 4 mph leisurely pace I'd get more credit toward closing a ring.

    (It's funny I've had the Watch for four months now, and I'm still have to catch myself from talking too much to "uninitiated" friends like some crazy zealot.)
    tonkinitewatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 50
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,636member

    Audio books. 

    Audio books.

    Did I mention audio books?  Because, audio books.

    And second the notion of better strength training tracking.  Something that is as simple as pencil and paper, but eliminates the need for transcribing to a spreadsheet or other tracking mechanism.

    So I'm guessing you want audiobook support?
    jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 50
    I'm speaking for my wife who is obsessed with her Apple Watch S2 stainless... 

    More and better fitness tracking and battery life.

    Battery life is okay on a work day but when we travel and are out walking a lot, the watch is finished by 6pm. So, shooting for a week and even getting 2 days would be incredible!!!!!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 50
    macxpress said:

    Audio books. 

    Audio books.

    Did I mention audio books?  Because, audio books.

    And second the notion of better strength training tracking.  Something that is as simple as pencil and paper, but eliminates the need for transcribing to a spreadsheet or other tracking mechanism.

    So I'm guessing you want audiobook support?
    If the iPhone doesn’t have audiobooks why do people own one?

    If people still need to own an iPhone... why bother?

    Yep.  I pretty much see an Apple Watch as useless...  It’s an overpriced fitness tracker.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    onpondonpond Posts: 1member
    Did someone say "round watch"?  Did I miss the "round watch" discussion!
    akindc
  • Reply 18 of 50
    doggonedoggone Posts: 165member
    The current watch has decent fitness tracking for me.  It sometimes loses connectivity with the Nike app on the iPhone.  Also I never got the Nike app to play music without the phone being around.

    For hardware changes, I think that Apple may get a lot of sales from having a thinner model alongside the standard one.  Of course the battery life will be less but it would address a market that wants a sleaker design.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    akindcakindc Posts: 14member
    Round face. Round face. Round Face.
  • Reply 20 of 50
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 322member
    I'll take 5G and a full Dick Tracy type experience.
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