So I bought an Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular. I have done a few sessions and made a few phone calls on the water. My friends have been able to find me using the Find My Friends app. So far I quite like it. It's a good toy and satisfies my core requirement. It is quite nice to be able to just make and answer calls without digging out the phone, and to be able to leave the phone at home.
A few things to note:
- You really need to hold the phone up near your ear to hear it properly. I stopped and sat in the water while flying the kite with one hand. It was doable, but quite difficult. I guess if I was calling for help then my kite would not be flying and I could relax in the water. I was on my foil with a 7m in about 20 knots so there was a bit of wave action.
- You need a clear line of sight to a cell tower. I could make calls but not be heard if I was standing at the foot of the cliffs near the beach. Out on the water was fine.
- The watch screen is meant to be locked when in the water so the touch screen doesn't react to water drops. You have to unlock it by turning the knob. It's easy enough to do but you have to do it. I dialed using Siri. I think I need to make some unique shorthand contacts so I don't have to say "Call Fred Smith Mobile". It would be easier to say "Call Fred". There might be problems with having the same number attached to multiple contacts.
- Sending a text should be more reliable because you don't need a strong continuous signal. You can use Siri to send texts. Siri can be a bit of a pain to yell at when you're bouncing around in the water. There doesn't seem to be a "Send" option, the message just goes. It would be nice to have something positive rather than waiting and hoping it has sent.
The activity tracking is quite fun and it's nice to see all the coloured rings link up. Apparently a 90 minute foiling session equates to 400% of my daily exercise target.
I am messing with Xensr Sessions to record my kiting sessions. This app is the worst heap of shit I have ever tried to use. I have never come across such a flakey unreliable app on the iphone. Everything else on the watch works fine. I am exchanging emails with Xensr support and have worked through some of the problems. It's still garbage.
Some of the problems can be worked around. I don't care about jumps. I do care about speed and getting a decent record of my track. I am thinking I could start a Session then switch to the watch face so I can see the time. There still seems to be no way to get the GPS track off the iphone and onto something useful.
I have looked at other apps and there seems to be a few promising ones. There are some general sport ones that record tracks and allow export to GPS etc. There's a yachting app called Waterspeed Sail & Surf Tracker that might do all the good stuff, but there are monthly subscriptions to pay.
Plan B is to simply wear both the Apple watch and my Garmin Fenix. The Apple can be safely tucked away under my wetsuit sleeve and used only as an emergency device. The Garmin visible for doing the serious work. That would be a pity because the Apple watch is capable of everything I want, there is just a shortage of decent apps at the moment.