Apple has a traditional fall release schedule for the iPhone and Watch, which typically happens during a single announcement event. But 2020 has shifted things up a bit and this year Apple will be doing multiple release announcements. The Apple Watch Series 6 was announced on September 15, and the iPhone 12 announcement is expected to come in October.
For some, this may have led to some disappointment as it feels like you are being made to wait longer to get a new iPhone. But on the flip side, having two announcements at two different times does have a perk — it gives those who want to upgrade both their watch and their phone extra time to set aside money. Essentially, this should help allow you to upgrade your watch and phone without going into debt.
My first Apple Watch was the Series 5
Although the Apple Watch Series 5 was my very first Apple Watch, I’d been tempted by the Apple Watch ever since the cellular-capability was added with the Series 3. The only reason I held off on getting an Apple Watch was that I was an Android user, and Apple Watches aren’t compatible with Google’s OS. While I was really happy with my Pixel(s) over the years, I couldn’t say the same for my smartwatch experience. I used all kinds, some from the well known Fitbit line, too many from the geek-friendly Pebble line, to the virtually unknown Omate TrueSmart.
Before I could make the switch to the Apple Watch, I had to be certain that I would be happy using an iPhone and it would serve my needs. I began the switch in early 2019, which was a few months after the iPhone Xr was released. I figured if I was happy with that for a few months, I could move forward with an Apple Watch purchase and ended up buying a Series 5 when it was released in September 2019.
Why I decided to upgrade to an Apple Watch Series 6
I’m really not one to upgrade expensive devices every year and I am still using that same iPhone Xr today. Most higher-end phones can easily last two-years, and in many cases, they can even last 3 or 4 years. I anticipated the Apple Watch Series 5 would be the same for me — but I recently decided to upgrade to a Series 6.
At this point, I consider my Apple Watch to be a primary device, even over my iPhone. The Watch is on my wrist nearly 24/7 and has become my go-to for quick interactions during the day. A normal day with my Apple Watch looks like this: My Watch wakes me up in the morning, and after silencing my alarm, I use it to check my calendar, followed by the weather. I then make sure I have a podcast or audiobook downloaded in preparation for my morning run. Using my Apple Watch to track my run using RunKeeper, it then records my daily activity as I work to close my activity rings. Believe it or not, my Apple Watch is also my primary communication device throughout the day as I use it to message or even talk to family and friends by using it as a speakerphone. It remains in active use right up until I get the reminder to wind down, and get to bed.
While it sounds like I’m using my watch quite a bit, it has actually decreased the amount of time I spend staring at my phone each day. I’d actually say the Apple Watch has completely changed how I use my iPhone, but that is a story for another day.
Since I’ve become so reliant on my Apple Watch to get my through the day, battery life is always a big concern. I always make sure to top off the battery while I’m in the shower in the morning, and then again at night as I’m getting ready for bed. At times, I may also drop it on the charger for a few minutes when I’m sitting at my desk working. I’ve never really had issues getting through the day, but the promise of faster charging served as the key factor in my decision to upgrade this year, with Apple stating the Series 6 would be able to charge 20% faster than the Series 5.
Apple also announced Fitness+, and this became a secondary factor in my decision to upgrade. All Watch users will be able to get a 1-month free trial with Fitness+, but you get 3-months if you purchase a new Apple Watch. Because Fitness+ isn’t available just yet, it is hard to say with 100% certainty — but the service looks worthy of a subscription, making the 3-month offer feel more like a $30 discount on my Series 6 purchase.
The other factor that helped push me over the edge and upgrade to the Series 6 is the current resale value of the Series 5. I wouldn’t say it’s mint, and even though it’s been on my wrist for a year, my watch is still in pretty good condition as there are no obvious marks or scratches. The Apple Watch Series 6 cost me $500 (plus tax), but current Swappa pricing for the Series 5 GPS + Cellular model shows I can likely get over $300. So in a sense, I’m using the Series 5 to fund my Series 6 purchase and when all is said and done, I expect my Series 6 will only set me back about $200 (once my Series 5 sells of course).
Which Apple Watch did I choose?
As I glance down at my wrist, it isn’t even immediately obvious that I am wearing a “new” watch. I had been wearing a 40mm Apple Watch Series 5 GPS + Cellular in Space Gray Aluminum, and I purchased a 40mm Series 6 GPS + Cellular in Space Gray Aluminum.
For me, cellular is a must-have feature. Sure, it’s a bit more expensive, and T-Mobile charges me $10 per month for the service — but the freedom to leave my phone behind is well worth the added money. Being able to go for a run (while tracking my run and listening to a podcast), and not worrying about staying in contact in case of an emergency is absolutely wonderful.
Other Apple Watch Series 6 features to consider
Apple Watch Series 6 also added a new blood oxygen sensor. This wasn’t a key factor for me, but as a runner, and generally active person, it probably wouldn’t hurt to have additional health and wellness related features. The blood oxygen sensor, combined with the ECG, and heart rate monitoring helps to piece everything together.
Apple also said the Series 6 always-on display is 2.5 times brighter as compared to the Series 5. I tried the always-on display with the Series 5 but immediately turned it off. The Apple Watch may be a watch, but I’m ok with referring to it as a small computer worn on my wrist, similar to how my iPhone is a small computer carried in my pocket. Plus, I can’t remember a time when I raised my wrist and the Apple Watch display didn’t turn on, so the always-on display didn’t add much.
The other big news with Apple Watch Series 6 is the new colors. Apple released a (PRODUCT)RED and a blue aluminum model. Obviously, given I opted for the same Space Gray Aluminum as I had with my Series 5 — these colors weren’t a factor for me.
Should you upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 6?
Choosing to upgrade is really something only you can answer, but you should factor in whether or not you will use the new features from a newer model, along with the cost of the upgrade itself. Despite the fact that I opted to upgrade a Series 5 to a Series 6, I’d likely say that it would be an unnecessary upgrade for most people. Instead of getting the Series 6, now is also the best time to find a great deal on a previous-generation model.
The Series 6 had a few perks that made it worthwhile for me to upgrade, but a fair amount of new Apple Watch perks will be available with watchOS 7, and that will be rolling out for everyone with a Series 3 or newer. Some of those new features include new watch faces such as the new Memoji face, Face Sharing, new complications, Sleep, handwashing, updates to Siri, improvements to Fitness, and the new Fitness+. Apple also released Family Setup, though that requires a cellular-capable watch (Series 4 and newer). This should make the previous generation Apple Watches all the more enticing.
Regardless of whether you are looking to upgrade your current Apple Watch, or if you are planning to purchase your first Apple Watch — Swappa is here to help. If you are like me, you can sell your current watch to help fund your new Apple Watch purchase. Or, on the flip side, you can save serious money when you buy your first newish Apple Watch from the Swappa marketplace.