One minute I'm busy navigating my way along the busy and chaotic streets of Córdoba, Spain, and the next, I realize that my Apple Watch has stopped giving me turn alerts, and I'm staring dumbfounded at an ominous message.
"Erase all contents and settings," the screen said.
Uh-oh, I thought. I tapped the cancel button, knowing deep in my heart that something was wrong. Hopefully, my Apple Watch rebooted, but returned to that "Erase all contents and settings" screen again.
Oh darn, I thought.
Actually, I used words that briefly turned the air an electric blue, but they cannot be repeated here.
To cut a long story short, my Apple Watch was dead. Well, not dead, but lobotomized. A casual investigation suggests that problem seems to be that the side/power button is stuck down. I've not yet had time to investigate the problem.
But it's not working. And I feel like I've lost a sense. Which I have. Several. I've lost the sense of time, direction, what's happening next in my day, along with a few more I'm not yet aware of.
The Apple Watch was a singularly useful gadget. And I hadn't realized it.
It was what modern tech should be -- useful, yet unobtrusive. Sure, it required almost daily care and feeding in the form of recharging, but beyond that, it worked tirelessly until, well, it died after a little more than two years of service.
It was the unsung hero of my daily carry. But hardly a long-lived for a device that cost over $500 after AppleCare was added.
It survived just long enough to get out from under the watchful, reassuring gaze of its AppleCare warranty.
Question is, do I replace my Apple Watch? Even if I can revive it (I'll revive it, or break it completely trying… after all, what have I to lose?), it's still a Series 3 model, and has a limited lifespan. But I'm already giving serious thought to dumping my iPhone, so making such a material investment in an ecosystem that I'm considering walking away from doesn't feel like a smart money decision.
And even if I do end up sticking with the iPhone, 26 months is, frankly, a terrible lifespan. Not to mention expensive.
$20 a month.
$0.66 a day.
Not wishing to start a debate about the quality of Apple products, but I had expected it to live long enough to become obsolete.
Apple still sells the Series 3 Apple Watch. I could buy a replacement. For $199.
Paying big bucks for stuff that lasts is one thing. Laying down premium money for something that self-destructs before I've lost the box is quite another thing.
But not having an Apple Watch as a constant companion is likely to hasten the day that I switch my daily driver to an Android smartphone. I'd initially mocked the idea of a tiny wrist-mounted second screen, but with the right level of customization, it had actually become very useful.
What to do next?
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