I have been thinking a lot about my kids and how to approach technology as they age. I recently wrote about our approach to social media and it led me to think about how I would approach mobile phone use in their lives. My eldest son will strike nine this year, so it's something I know will come up earlier than later. After thinking about the role of a mobile phone in a child's life, I have realized that an Apple Watch with an LTE connection will eventually become the perfect child watch. We're not quite there yet, technology wise, but I can see a day when all the stars will adjust.
Why can't the current Apple Watch work by itself?
Apple Watch is still very attached to an iPhone. Although it may work away from it on Wi-Fi or LTE, it is not meant to last all day in this condition. I often run with just my Apple Watch, and I can easily burn through two-digit% of my battery on a six-mile + run. In fact, I drove seven miles last week and my battery was at 40% at the end of it. Much of the drain is related to running developer beta of watchOS 6, though. Even apart from battery life, there is still a lot about Apple Watch that requires an iPhone to work. Just like the iPhone required an initial connection to a Mac or PC before iOS 5, Apple Watch still needs to be connected to an iPhone out of the box to set it up. Many apps will still be connected to their iPhone counterpart to download data (Apple Podcasts are an example).
So we have two main issues: The battery life when you are away from the iPhone for long periods is not good, and so watchOS 6 is not meant to live except iOS. We see the foundation laid, though. One of the new features of watchOS 6 is a built-in App Store. This new feature lets apps be watchOS only against having an iPhone counterpart.
Why is Apple Watch with mobile a perfect baby camera?
Many parents give their children cell phones to allow them to be reached (or reach you) in case of emergency. When I was in the middle school, we used to call our parents on a phone when it was time to be picked up from football practice. Now parents can reach their kids via iMessage, phone calls or FaceTime at any time of the day.
When I think about why I can give my kids a cell phone, it will be so that I can know where they are (GPS via Find My app), to send them fast text messages, and call them. If Apple can continue to expand the watchOS capabilities and extend its battery life to last all day at LTE, then I really think Apple Watch with a mobile connection will be the de facto first cell phone for kids. With Apple Watch there is no camera, there is limited ability to access the internet, and no social media (yet). I have said it once and I will say it again, Apple Watch is the product that spins me the most about Apple's future. There are so many places that LTE-connected technology on the wrist can take our society.
What are your thoughts on Apple Watch as a standalone device? Do you think we're going to a place where battery life lasts all day, and it can be the new "stupid phone" for people who want communication without everything else? Let's discuss in the comments.
Photo by Daniel Cañibano on Unsplash
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