This seems like a good time to let you folks know how the Watch Ultra is doing after using it almost 24 hours a day for two weeks. The short version is … I love it!

The Band

The aftermarket band that wasn’t up to holding the Ultra’s added weight is slowly getting worse at it. The Watch slipped off into the laundry this morning. But hey, the band looks f’awesome and was $15, so whattaya expect, ya know?

At this rate I may have to switch to the fancy Orange AF band that came it it, which, let’s face it, isn’t too bad. Cuz. Orange!

My only reticence with this is that the AOS (Apple Online Store) rep told me that it doesn’t do well in water. Something about stretching or dry time or something?

But. Orange AF!!

Noise Detection

There’ve been several odd Noise detection readings.

For example, at least half the time, the Watch alerts me that it detected a sound over 95db. Which is, like, the volume of a lawnmower. While I’m showering. And, uh, well, no way that’s happening. I would’ve addressed that kinda nonsense long ago.

But then it happened when I was washing my hands. So maybe it’s the running water somehow?

But. Wait. No, that’s not quite it. My hand bumped against a tissue box. One of those cardboard tissue boxes. And the Noise app said it detected a sound over 95db. Absolutely no frickin’ way.

So maybe it’s a specific, I dunno, minor jarring event? Yeah, that’ll be easy to pinpoint.

So for one last test, I put it in Water Mode. That’s when it locks out the screen so it doesn’t start doing stuff, say, when a fish swims by and it’s tail touches the screen. Or a water current flows past the screen or one of the side buttons bumps a reef.

No alerts since that’s started. Well, while it’s in 💧 Mode (yes, that’s the actual icon for it). I’ve gotten alerts, but only after turning off this nifty little feature.

Probably my favorite bit about this mode is turning it off. It’s basically like a teeny titanium doggy shaking itself off after a shower, to push out any water that’s collected inside. Makes me giggle every time.

Of course the Watch also said my singing is over 90db. Which I guess makes sense. In choir, it was always a struggle figuring out where to put me on the risers because my voice carried so well. Up on top in the middle was best from a sound perspective, but at the time, I was a whopping 5’4″ tall. And yes, I’m shorter now.

Fall Detection

I put together a couple rolling shelves because the #*)^# ($&%# %#(@^ #$@@# ($%^@ kitchen and living room renovation still isn’t done. (Neither are the porch and three-season sunroom, cuz, of course not)

So I need to have access to stuff in a way that’s easy to move at a moment’s notice just in case the guy comes out to work on things.

I banged on one of the shelves while putting them together, which then triggered the Fall Detection, and the screen asked if I needed help.

So this feature works!

Melanin Issues

My bestie, the dear Editor you may have seen commenting on my grammar and spelling errors cuz I’m self-editing, sent me an article about some of the health features not working for people of color.

Well that’s a bit of an oopsy. Somehow, “you’re too black for us to see if there’s oxygen in your blood,” just doesn’t sound like, well, ya know. A good thing to say.

To be fair, this is a problem for a lot of pulse oximeters, not just this expensive Watch. But still. This is Apple. It’s pretty darn easy to expect better of Apple. Cuz. Apple.

Functionality Discoveries

Ok, rolling up my sleeves on this one! Hopefully I remember them all:

  • Reading the Screen: No clue what kinda black magic sorcery this is, but this Watch’s Face is easier to read than the 12.9″ iPad Pro. Sure there’s a ton of stuff on a 49mm screen. And I can read it all. Even with my ancient eyeballs.
  • Water Mode: Started chatting about this one above. Quite frankly, I use it for a lot more than just when taking a shower. For example, I find that sitting a certain way makes, um, the occasional female body part bump into the Watch’s Face and things happen, and then I can’t figure out what the heck happened. Voila, Water mode to the rescue.
  • Find: This app has all of the features that are available on an iPhone, iPad, MBP, or iMac. I can find devices, see them on a map, have them play a sound so they can be found, and so on. I can also find the people who share their locations with me. Same with AirTagged items.
  • AirPods Max: I can listen to Music, PodCasts, and Audiobooks stored on or streamed to the Watch. Same with third-party apps such as Pandora and Audible. And the sound is impeccable!
  • Phone Calls: Ok, so the microphone quality isn’t the best and the speaker isn’t utterly amazing, but seriously, I’m talking to people from my freakin’ watch. This is totally next-level Dick Tracy, Inspector Gadget, Jimmy Neutron kinda shit. And … It. Is. F’awesome.
  • Customizations: Back on my old iWatch 4, everything had to be done on the iPhone and then synched to the watch. Very annoying. Not sure when it happened because the Ultra is only my second Apple Watch, but now I can update the Face, including Complications, all on the Watch itself. Yes, and then it tells the iPhone what changed.
  • Set Ahead: If mom was still alive and had this Watch, she’d be all over this setting. Seriously, all of the clocks in our house were set to slightly different times, and none of them were the correct time, all so she could trick herself into being on time. Of course, it didn’t work, but maybe that was just her. Anywayz. The time that appears on the Watch’s Face can be set ahead anywhere from 2 to 59 minutes. But the alarms and such will still happen at the correct time. Meaning that an alarm set for 8am will happen at the real 8am, regardless of what shows on the Face.
  • Shortcuts: These aren’t just for the iPhone and iPad! All of my shortcuts are on here, too. I especially love the appliance timers I’d setup. Basically I select the FuckinTimer shortcut, tap the appliance (such as which washer, the stove, etc.), and tap in the cycle time. Then 👇🏾
  • Reminders: The Watch says, “The <appliance> is done!” when the time is up. Ok, this works for all reminders, including location-based ones. If I mustily must have chip dip, and the only one I’m not allergic to is only available at one local store, the Watch is set to send an alert within a few hundred feet of it, so I can turn into the parking lot and go get some.
  • Parked Car Waypoint: Best. Feature. Ever. Park the car, set the spot, do the thing. Then tap the Waypoint to see where I am in relation to the car.
  • Flashlight: I thought this was a stupid feature. Now I use it a few times a day instead of turning on an overhead light. The only thing I don’t like about it is accidentally turning it on. When I happen to be looking at the Watch. Ouch!
  • Calculator: Ok, so it’s really easy for me to fat-finger the little numbers, but it’s definitely handy. Plus 👇🏾
  • Dictation: For reals, this is da b-bomb (insert Scott Pilgrim joke here). I can respond to text messages by selecting one of the context-triggered standardized messages, typing one on the teensy QWERTY keyboard, or telling the Watch what to type. Even Dick Tracy never had that!
  • Hand Washing: The Watch recognizes the motions of washing one’s hands, and then times it. The first couple of instances it displayed numbers, like a countdown, in really big purple digits on the screen. It doesn’t do that anymore. Maybe because I seem to have internalized exactly how long 20 seconds is? Or more likely, cuz I accidentally turned it off?
But I Wish It …

Seriously, Apple. It would effing help me a heckuva lot if the Health app and all its friends would also work on the iPad.

Ok, so this isn’t the Watch’s fault. But sheesh, Apple, gimme a break! The reasons for having it only connect to the iPhone are long gone, especially for the Ultra.

When the iWatch first came out, we were told in training that it required a connection to the iPhone because everyone always had their phones with them, which were always connected to the Internet through either Wi-Fi or Cellular. This meant that, in essence, the iPhone was casting to the Watch.

Now the Watch itself connects to the Internet all the time through either Wi-Fi or Cellular. Why am I still limited to only seeing Health info on the iPhone and Watch?

This is why I bought Welltory. It shows a lot of the Watch data, plus nice graphs and interpretations with health tips. And some extra testing info. But I shouldn’t have to buy an $80 app just because a decade ago the decision was made to couple the Watch with the iPhone.

Decoupling can be a wonderful thing. Let’s try it, shall we?

To Sum Up

I’m even more in love with this little baby now than when writing the very first article! Honestly, it’s helped me in so very many ways. Plus the peace of mind knowing there’s a 911 call automagically happening if I fall or am in a crash.

Most of the stuff I use is also available on the lower price point Watch models, as well. But the ability to safely wear it during the more-likely-to-fall activities such as showering or bathing the pups is a huge relief for me.

The whole oh-my-gosh-that’s-a-lotta-dough feeling is out the window. Sure the cost comparison with something like Life Alert really helps to justify this purchase. The convenience and peace of mind just knock that ROI totally out of the park. As in, in my mind, it’s already paid for itself just in these two weeks.

I’m not kidding.