I’ve had my Series 4 for all of 48 hours, but I am happy and a little surprised to say: Watch apps finally feel usable. The new power and speed in Series 4 feels like a huge leap forward, which is important because I’m trying to cut down on how often I keep my iPhone directly on me.
I’ve owned a Series 0, 2, and now this 4 (space gray aluminum, 44mm, cellular but it isn’t hooked up for now). If it matters, I also upgraded this year from an iPhone X to a XS Max. Since the original Watch, the sentiment about Watch apps has generally been “if it takes longer than a second or two to launch and let me do the thing, I’ll just reach for my phone.” Third-party apps have generally performed poorly on the Watch, causing many people to give up trying and even some companies to scrap their apps entirely.
This Series 4 feels like a breath of fresh air. Third-party apps like Streaks, Carrot Weather, Bear, Things, Drafts, Day One, and Fantastical both launch and are immediately useful for me. I often use Siri on my Watch for a handful of tasks, but it too has always felt sluggish. Now, Siri is instantaneous.
A lot of friction has been removed from the Watch apps experience. Over the weekend, I’ve really liked using my Watch to create and complete tasks, check the Carrot Weather app, save thoughts and article ideas for later, and send messages, all with pleasantly fast feedback and performance.
To be clear, not all apps perform well. But I suspect that is a function of their need of an update or simple poor design, rather than a problem with the Series 4 or watchOS 5.
Developers: if the Watch hasn’t had the performance you want in the past, you might want to check out Series 4. For everyone else: if you gave up or just never tried Watch apps, I definitely recommend giving them a look on a Series 4.