After a week of living with the new Apple Watch Series 5, which goes on sale Sept. 20 for $399 (£399, AU$649), I can report that its always-on display delivers what I’ve wanted.The Apple Watch Series 5 It’s an upgrade that was long overdue. I notice it a lot because now I can glance at the time when I’m typing. Or casually watching TV. Or driving. No more weird arm twists. And no more awkward comparisons to other always-on smartwatches, which include the, , , and watches.
The always-on display is the key new feature in the Apple Watch Series 5.
The other main upgrades are:
That’s it. If you’re not interested in any of these features, you can now get. (Right now savings seem to be about $50, but other deals could pop up over the holidays.) If you don’t need ECG or the Series 4’s larger 40 or 44mm display, Apple is continuing to sell the 38mm and 42mm Series 3 at the new official price of $199, which is basically what the watch’s sale price was for most of the last year.
All that said, the new display is a killer feature. I’ve been wearing an aluminum Apple Watch Series 5, and I fell in love with the always-on addition. It’s now weird to look at the older models without it. But it’s not always what you might think it is.
I’m now using the Apple Watch more like a normal watch. And I keep thinking about all the people everywhere with Apple Watches on, showing blank dark screens. That’s eventually going to change. Interesting watch faces will show up. Maybe ones that match bands.
Apple’s new watch faces in the company’s newest version of its watch software,, are great, and there are dozens of watch faces now (34) with hundreds of variations. A solar dial face shows sunset and sunrise, with room for adding other bits of info like the weather or the date. Fresh information-rich watch faces such as Meridian and Modular Compact offer new mixes of shortcuts to apps. Download WatchOS 6 before you get a new Apple Watch, because its added features, which include podcasts and an ambient noise meter, could make your old watch feel new.
But still, even with these options, I find myself getting bored and looking for novelty. I’d like a watch face store for third-party developers to add unique designs, and that still hasn’t arrived. The always-on feature further cements that desire. Maybe this will pave the way for. Perhaps a curated collection from well-known designers to start? I’d buy a few.
Apple’s making the always-on display work via new OLED display technology that slows and dims the display, freezing animations but offering up that always-on readout. One side benefit: The screen autoadjusts better in low light, like in movie theaters. It’ll be interesting to see if this display tech ends up in other devices, including future iPhones — which a lot of people still use as their main device for telling time. (Just for comparison,in 2016.)
Here are some quick facts about the Apple Watch’s always-on display: