Ah, the Apple Watch. Regular, devout readers will know that Apple's smartwatch and I have had a somewhat fraught relationship. In fact, I've bought four of them. And sold four of them. Every time I think 'this is it', I get bored and realise I'm actually not really using it for much at all.
But my last Apple Watch was the one I kept for the longest, which means the withdrawals this time around are a little more pronounced. There are a few things I've been raising my wrist for, only to find, alas, a plain old analogue watch in the smart one's place. I wouldn't say I miss the Apple Watch (yet) – to me it's still a nice and shiny extension to the iPhone, not yet useful enough to justify the cost (or the extra notifications). But if my normal watch could do these three things, I'd be happy. (In the market for an Apple Watch? Check out the best deals in our live roundup of Apple Cyber Monday).
The best Apple Watch Black Friday deals: US
Apple Watch Series 9:
$399 $329 at Amazon
Save $70: The newest Apple Watch was only released in September. We thought $60 would be the best saving we'd see this Black Friday, but Amazon has just dropped the price a little further. The new Watch features a new improved screen and a clever new double-tap feature.
Price check: Best Buy $349
Apple Watch Ultra:
$799 $649 at Best Buy
Save $140: The rugged Apple Watch Ultra in orange is designed for the adventurers among you. The main difference between this and the next iteration is that this one doesn't allow you to dive, so if you don't need to do that then this is a great, bargain option.
Price check: Target $659.99
The best Apple Watch Black Friday deals: UK
Apple Watch SE 2:
£219 £209 at John Lewis
Save £10: I'm currently wearing one of these (in starlight, thanks for asking), and it does everything I need it to do, even though it doesn't have all the fancy features of the Ultra 2. If you want messages, calls and fitness tracking, and can skip the outdoorsy stuff, this is for you. A small discount perhaps (on the 40mm version), but still the cheapest price we've seen the SE 2 hit in the UK. The US has seen some better prices.
Apple Watch Ultra: £
699 £599 at Amazon
Save £100: If you want a powerful watch at a surprisingly low price, this one is for you. It's got power, style and all the features you could ask for from a watch. It's not the latest Ultra but if you're not Bear Grylls, do you really need it?
Price check: John Lewis £669
01. Fitness tracking
Ok, yes, it's the obvious one. This is what an Apple Watch is for, and it's the main thing it can do that the iPhone can't. From heart rate intel to calories burned, it's an extremely informative and accurate fitness tracker. I've recently taken up squash (ooh, check me out), and was enjoying checking my stats after a game. I might be sweating profusely, but with no workout tracked and logged, did the game even happen? Hopefully not, because I probably lost.
02. Now Playing
The Now Playing app essentially turns the Apple Watch into a music controller. This is useful both out and about, and at home – it was much simpler to skip tracks or change the volume on my Sonos system (ooh, check me out) from my wrist then having to go into another room (!) to grab my phone. Also, when listening to a new playlist, if a new track came on that I liked, I could check the artist and add it to a playlist without having to reach into my pocket (!) for said phone.
Another simple one. The weather app on the Apple Watch behaves exactly like the weather watch on the iPhone. The only difference is that, once again, it's right there on your wrist. About to leave the house and need to check if it's going to rain? Quick check of the watch, quick grab of a brolly, done.
What's probably pretty obvious by now is that these are mostly mere conveniences. Fitness tracking aside, being able to see (or control) things at a glance is a useful luxury. But ultimately, I decided it wasn't worth the premium. However, it might be to you – and watchOS 10 might have dozens of other features that could prove invaluable for you (such as the Snoopy watch face).