Two weeks with Apple Watch, leaving iPhone at home

“The latest trend in mobile devices is, of course, the rage for immersive screens, such as Apple’s iPhone X,” Tiernan Ray writes for Barron’s. “In an attempt to buck the trend, I spent the past month and a half using Apple’s smartwatch, the Apple Watch, on a daily basis, and I’ve spent the past two weeks using it exclusively, leaving my current iPhone at home.”

“I tested the Apple Watch “Series 3,” which went on sale in September, and which is the first to include its own cellular modem,” Ray writes. “I was able to send and receive phone calls, thanks to number forwarding from the iPhone via AT&T’s ‘Number Sync.’ Other carriers make possible the same capability. I used the wireless AirPod headphones to hear the sound from the watch.”

“The watch has battery life of as much as 48 hours when used with the phone, which is a substantial improvement, in my experience, from the previous two models. It means you can go on a long overseas flight and not worry that the battery will be gone when you land,” Ray writes. “But used on its own, it was a different story. Calls of even a few minute could cause the battery level to drop by 10%. And without the phone nearby, the watch kept contacting the network for texts and emails and alerts. The result is that most days, after starting in the morning with a full charge, the battery would be down to ten percent late in the evening, or would empty completely.”

Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular). The freedom to go with just your Apple Watch.
Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular). The freedom to go with just your Apple Watch.

“Other than those two issues, the functionality was mostly very good. The watch became my window into email and texts, without having to carry around a phone. I was able to listen to playlists and streaming music from Apple Music… If I wanted to read documents or do anything more ambitious, I used my iPad Mini, which I carry with me almost all the time,” Ray writes. “My verdict is it’s a fine update to the Apple Watch, and a good start with cellular. Until battery life and connectivity are improved, however, it’s not yet something that can replace the smartphone as the full-time communications device.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: An interesting test an a window into the future where we can imagine an Apple Watch, AirPods, and Apple Glasses easily replacing iPhone.

Even today, an Apple Watch Smart Band that provides additional battery life for Apple’s increasingly important wearable would be very welcome indeed!


  1. Unfortunately, Verizon has an issue with the Apple Watch on their network and neither Apple nor Verizon have a fix for this, so we are unable to use our Apple Watch without a phone yet. Praying for a fix soon.

    1. As it turns out. You must have more than your phone number setup in iMessage for your text messages to send/receive on your watch when away from your phone. Once we added one of our Apple ID on both devices it worked properly.

  2. Interesting thing happened today. Have Series 3 LTE Watch, but I’ve never activated it for LTE service with ATT, my provider. Today I shut off all the radios on my phone because I was in an area that has such spotty and weak service that my phone will drain battery fast because the radios are continually working to find a network to connect to. So, all the radios are off and I get three phone calls on my Watch. It took a couple of them to stop and think “wait a minute. How is this happening?” Still don’t know how or why, but without making any arrangements with ATT I am receiving LTE service on my Watch.

  3. I have an Apple Series 3 Watch which I purchased from Verizon. It was a real headache setting it up and it still doesn’t receive calls unless my iPhone 7 is with me! If I power down my phone by watch goes offline too.

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