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Apple Watch Series 5 : All the details

What's new in sports


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A few minutes ago Apple Watch Series 5 has been officially presented. Do you want to know what's new and what they bring to the sport? Well, make yourself comfortable, I'll tell you.

Of course, the Series 5 is built on the Series 4, so it has the new features that were presented last year with the latter plus this year's new features. And what has the new Apple Watch come with under the arm? Well, two mainly

  • New display always on, with LTPO technology
  • Built-in compass (to be attached to the barometric altimeter)

Apple Watch Series 5 - Always on display

For the first time, Apple includes in its watch a screen that always stays on. It continues to respond to the turn of the wrist and the touch of the screen to display more information; but it will always, always, always show something on the screen.

Apple Watch Series 5 - Always on display

Because the display is the main power source for the watch, and for that reason the Apple Watch Series 5 has a new LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) display along with improvements to the power chip and display driver.

However, if the Series 4 also has an LTPO display, why is it not capable of having the display always on? It has to do with the ambient light sensorThe integrated energy management circuit and the display driver.

The combined use of all this allows the refresh rate to vary from 60Hz to 1Hz. This means that the battery savings can be very high, because when it is not displaying relevant information (the old "screen off") the refresh rate is lower in addition to reducing the screen brightness to the minimum necessary.

Apple promises the same battery life with the display always on, so it's clear that there are more changes than just the technology used in the display.

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So what's new? My Garmin/Polar/Suunto has a screen that's always on, and the battery lasts much longer. True, but don't forget that the quality of the screen has nothing to do with it. The brightness and colour of an OLED screen is a far cry from what a transflective screen can offer.


Apple Watch Series 5 - Overview

Logically, the change this brings to sports is immense. You no longer have to wait for the screen to turn on when you turn your wrist, or have to click on it. A quick look at your wrist is enough to know all the facts.

The second announcement is the inclusion of a magnetic compass. Previously the Apple Watch could know the direction you were heading, but only through GPS. Therefore to be able to offer the direction accurately there must be a movement, if you stop the clock stops knowing where you're looking.

With the inclusion of a magnetic compass this changes completely. The direction is obtained directly from the compass, and not from the GPS. So if you are standing at a fork in the road and you are not clear about which way to go, just turn to see directly on the clock display which way you are looking at.

This gives developers the possibility to create navigation applications using the compass. In fact Apple has briefly shown the function with Wikiloc.

Also, Apple will include a compass application that will not only show the geographic address, but also data such as altitude, location, etc.

Apple Watch Series 5 - App Compass

Apple Watch Series 5 Price

The price of the new Apple Watch Series 5 starts at $399 for the 40mm version. Prices in Euros are not yet available, but should be the same price as the Series 4 it replaces, so 429 Euros.

That would be the price list:

  • Apple Watch GPS 40mm: 449€
  • Apple Watch GPS 44mm: 479€
  • Apple Watch GPS+Cellular 40mm: 549€
  • Apple Watch GPS+44mm cell phone: 579€

Apple Watch Series 5 - Overview

But perhaps the best news is that the Apple Watch Series 3 is still available, and now it has dropped in price: available from £229.

Apple Watch Series 5 Review

Slight changes in the new model, but as usual in Apple maintaining the price of the previous model (Garmin, learn). Overall I think the keynote has been pretty weak, both in the case of the Apple Watch and the other devices. Few important news.

In fact, I think the most important announcement was the Apple Watch Series 3 sale, and that says a lot. There are manufacturers here who should be concerned. Maybe not in countries like Spain where iOS penetration is not as high as in the U.S., but I'm sure Fitbit has not been happy about this sale. It's a direct impact on the waterline of their new Fitbit Versa 2 that they just introduced.

Whenever Apple announces a new model of watch, I am always left wondering where the watch is going to go in terms of sport. Until now, it has always been focused on the less enthusiastic user, the one who wants to practice sport but does not think about competing or participating in races like a half marathon.

Once again that Apple approach is confirmed, to the relief of the Garmin/Polar/Suunto de turno. Another year they can spend quietly knowing that Apple has not put their business in the spotlight.

And with that... thanks for reading!

Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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  1. I have clear that when Apple focuses a little on the sports enthusiast and get a reasonable autonomy of gps (let's say 12 hours continue enough for 90 percent of the athletes). As you say, Garmin, Polar, etc. are going to tremble as nice and for that there is little left. I predict 2021. Because there will come a time that not many things remain with which to draw the attention of customers and go through the market Garmin. This year seems a transition year for Apple Watch, it seems that they have saved everything for 2020 with that microled screen that have been developing for 5 years and surely sleep study and see the first Apple Watch 5g, according to rumors.

    1. The key is going to be autonomy. When Apple focuses a bit on that aspect, developers will be able to see a little more use for the platform, and then launch the applications accordingly.

      1. And according to your criteria, what is the turning point, that is to say, what is the "magic" number of hours of gps autonomy, or what is the same thing, what is the number of hours of gps that the Apple Watch should endure so that the thing really gets going would be for the Garmin, Polar etc. Bearing in mind that the majority of "enthusiastic" sportsmen can finish a Marathon in less than 4 hours, with the autonomy of the watch achieving 8 hours of gps continues, we are already talking about valid figures for 90 percent of the sportsmen except ultramaronian. That's why I asked you, according to your criteria, what would be the magic number where there would be a turning point

        1. I don't see the problem for a day of competition. As you say, the watch has enough autonomy to make it possible for anyone to face a marathon and not run out of battery. The problem is in the days of training. If you go out to train at 20h (or more), after using the watch all day, you may be at risk of running dry.

          Until Apple is able to offer a 3-day autonomy of varied use I believe that it will not be an option that the sports public will consider.

  2. As an ex-fan of the Apple Watch (I started with the S0 until the S2) I think they still have some way to go. The important thing about the Garmin (in my case) is the metrics that the watch and obviously the battery give you. The touch screen (being a big fan at first) every day I see less sense when you practice sport seriously. But I think Apple will go towards a model more "health" than "sport". I see more likely to face more "common" problems that help them in sales, such as detecting cardiovascular problems, apneas, insomnia, diabetes, etc. What the S5 does not measure the issue of sleep, I think a delay.

    1. I believe that for the moment they have no intention of abandoning the generic user (who are many more than sportsmen and women). Obviously they can focus on both segments, but doing so would also involve efforts that might not interest them. But as I said before, everything depends on autonomy... when they give an answer to this problem, different paths can be taken.

  3. The touch screen in a sports watch is a delay rather than an advantage. I had a Stratos, which being what it was, was pretty good, which operated both touch and physical buttons (much like a Suunto) until in an upgrade they decided it was going to be a 90% touch. You try to start an activity like swimming pool or open water when the screen is wet. I did that and got a monumental piss off. So much so that by now I have a Garmin Fenix 5X. I think it's a good thing that Garmin follows the same criteria for the Fenix range.
    The Apple Watch is and will remain a watch for the general public.

    1. And according to your criteria, what is the turning point, i.e. what is the "magic" autonomy figure, or what is the same, what is the number of hours of gps that should hold the Apple Watch for the Garmin, Polar etc.. Considering that the majority of "enthusiastic" athletes can finish a marathon in less than 4 hours, if the autonomy of the watch manages to be 8 hours of gps continues, we are already talking about figures valid for 90 percent of athletes except ultramaronian. That's why I was asking you, according to your criteria, what would be the magic number where there would be a turning point?

  4. I bought the Apple Watch 5 very recently and I have a Garmin Fenix 5X Plus, the big difference for me is the battery, for long runs Apple gets very short and turns off, the Garmin 5X Plus practically doesn't even know it.

    1. Apart from the battery the rhythms are not real, compare them with Garmin and you will see what deviation it has with the GPS...

  5. I am an amateur sportsman and I have been buying one every year since the Apple Watch Series came out, to see what improvements it has brought. The conclusion today is that it is a watch more oriented to health than to sport.
    I don't understand how a watch after 5 years keeps failing the GPS, as you said in the Apple Watch series 2 review a few years ago, the GPS keeps giving the same headaches.
    When you finish a race the average pace is far from the real average pace you should have done, because if you take a time calculator and put the distance and time you took varies and much of the average pace, offering you lower rates of how you would have run, and it is true, we are not professional athletes but I want that when I finish a race or I am training I know if I am improving or not.
    Apparently the GPS doesn't activate until you've been running for a few minutes and I think that's where the problem of deviation from the final average pace comes in.
    The day Apple takes the sport seriously it will destroy Garmin, Polar and Sunnto and that's when it will be a reference, the same with the battery as you talked about before.

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