- Apple Watch with GPS+Cellular will be available in Singapore from 9 February 2018. Prices start from S$598.
- It currently only works on the Singtel network as they are the only telco that supports eSIM.
- Singtel’s NumberShare add-on for the Apple Watch costs S$6.90 a month.
I love my Apple Watch.
Since September last year, it has found a home on my wrist for most of my days and on those times that it isn’t, I would feel this awkward emptiness on my left hand.
Around that same period, Apple actually launched a cellular version of their smartwatch but of course Singapore wasn’t part of the first countries to get it. At the time, no telco in Singapore was able to support the embedded SIM (eSIM) in the Apple Watch GPS+Cellular.
That changes this Friday.
For the last 24 hours, I managed to get my hands on said Apple Watch. So here’s what makes it tick.
What The Apple Watch Cellular Is
From 9 February 2018, the cellular Apple Watch will be released in Singapore and Singtel users will be the first ones to enjoy the added connectivity on their wrists.
That’s because, Singtel is the only telco in Singapore right now who has updated their networks to support eSIM. You will also need their new NumberShare add-on to your postpaid-plan.
For an additional $6.90 a month, it enables you to use your existing data and talk time from your plan on the Apple Watch cellular.
Just like the regular GPS Series 3 before it, the cellular Apple Watch is also an extension to your iPhone. However since it has cellular connectivity, you can technically leave your iPhone behind.
The way that Apple is distinguishing the cellular version from the GPS only version is by splashing red accents everywhere.
On the box, you can tell by the red Series 3 text.
On the watch, it’s the big red dot on the crown.
With the cellular Apple Watch Series 3 comes a new exclusive watch face, the Explorer. The four green dots in the middle of the watch face is the cellular signal indicator, while at the corners by default lies shortcuts to the Phone and Maps apps.
As always, your can customise the watch face simply through Force Touch.
This Apple Watch works exactly the same as its non-cellular sibling, with the difference being that when you are far away enough from your phone, the cellular bits kick in letting you get up to LTE connectivity directly on your wrist.
When the cellular Apple Watch does indeed come into close proximity of your iPhone, it will automatically dial down the LTE, while syncing to your device via the traditional wifi and bluetooth route.
Previously, you can already take calls GPS only Apple Watch Series 3 using the microphone and speaker on the left of the watch face, but that’s if you have your iPhone nearby.
Now, you can break free from your iPhone during those times you’re out for a quick errand or workout, and still want to be contactable in case someone calls you. Call quality was good too, almost as if you answered calls from your iPhone… almost.
Oh yes, one more way that the cellular Apple Watch differentiates itself is that LTE is written in the text encircling the sensors on the bottom.
What The Apple Watch Cellular Is Not
The experience of the Apple Watch cellular is familiar, and truth be told, not much has changed from teh GPS-only Series 3. You can now do more with an almost similar smartwatch.
To put it bluntly, this is not an iPhone replacement. We are still years away from that happening, but it is a future possibility.
I see this as the kind of wearable for people who more often than not, have their iPhones die before the end of the day because they forgot to charge it while in the office.
Imagine being by the roadside after partying and not having to worry when your phone went flat halfway through the night, because you can just hold up your wrist and book an Uber home.
Even in day to day use around Singapore, if you happened to forget to charge your phone before you leave home from work, you rest assured that you will still have all the public transportation information you need still be accessible from your Apple Watch.
Apple Music wise, I’m not the kind to stream music on the go in favour of data conservation. That’s not to say that having access to more than 45 million songs isn’t a good thing, it is.
It’s just that my usage habits dictates me to save a playlist or two offline into the Apple Watch instead.
Also, a popular feature on Apple Music has finally made its way into the Apple Watch as a separate app. The Radio app takes all your favourite digital stations from Apple Music under one roof.
Here, you can catch up with resident DJ, Zane Lowe as you listen to the latest music on Beats 1.
Aside from the apps mentioned, users can also explore other cellular optimised apps such as Carrot Weather, Shazam, and City Mapper.
So Is It Worth The Wait
The Singtel exclusivity will definitely hear some outcry from subscribers from other telcos, but the fact remains that the cellular Apple Watch is the world’s best selling LTE enabled wearable.
If you are a Singtel subscriber, and you use a previous generation Apple Watch, this is a worthy upgrade.
Once you are used to using your wrists for a great deal of daily actions like Apple Music playback, Apple Pay, fitness, or simply rely on it for notifications and bite-sized information, it’s hard to go back.
For anyone who has never owned an Apple Watch, this too will be the perfect time to go all in.
Underneath it all though, I think that the underlying thing that I am most excited about is for future Apple devices. Now that a telco like Singtel is supporting eSIM, this paves the way for future smartphones and tablets to do away with physical SIM cards.
No more having to carry a pin around and fumbling with the SIM tray, and nano SIM cards that you can easily lose.