I'm horrible at giving gifts. In fact, it gives me pretty high anxiety. I always want to find something that means a lot to the person I'm giving it to, and nothing ever seems good enough.
With my mother's 60th birthday fast approaching, I started getting that same feeling. I felt my stomach in knots and my mind running in circles as I browsed Amazon pages and stores in my city for something that she would love. Then, I realized the answer was on my wrist this entire time — I'm getting my mother an Apple Watch.
Apple Watch saves lives
As someone in their 30s, my best Apple Watch is more of a communication tool than anything else. Of course, I use fitness tracking when I do workouts, but I don't often use many of the health features that the wearable provides. However, as my mom approaches her 60th trip around the sun, I've started to look down at my wrist and think of the potential of the Apple Watch in a new light.
It's getting really hard to ignore the life-saving potential of the Apple Watch. Everywhere you turn, you see headlines about someone's Apple Watch calling 911 (emergency services) when they couldn't reach their phone or Fall Detection acting as intended and calling emergency services when someone was incapacitated. Heck, just this week, a woman found a heart tumor thanks to her Apple Watch, which sounds like something ripped from the pages of a 90s sci-fi movie script — and it's impressive! Having something on your wrist that can help save your life — and not only in emergencies but also through the detection of potentially life-threatening health issues — is one of the main reasons tech is so exciting.
The idea that I can give my mother a gift with a ton of functionality that will pair wonderfully with her best iPhone and give me (and her) some peace of mind when it comes to her health is something that seems unique to Apple Watch in the tech world.
Of course, Apple Watch isn't a replacement for regular doctor check-ups but it's hard to deny the numerous stories of Apple Watches catching early symptoms of very serious conditions. And best of all, it usually does so without much input from the user. If you have an irregular heart rhythm, your Apple Watch will just notify you. If you fall, Fall Detection will ask if you are okay or if you need assistance.
Add in all the features you actively use that can benefit your life — like the Blood Oxygen app — and it's a complete Star Trek medical tricorder you can wear everywhere.
Apple keeps making the Apple Watch better
It's not just what the Apple Watch can do for my mom that I'm excited about; it's what Apple will bring in the future to the platform.
Each version of watchOS always seems to add some cool new health features. We know the upcoming watchOS 9 will bring aboard the new Medications app, which will let you track your medications and set reminders for meds you need to take at certain times. Plus, in the U.S. you can even access a drug interactions database that lets you know if a new medication will interfere with a current one or if that over-the-counter allergy pill can play nicely with your daily medications. Once again, any major concerns should be consulted with the appropriate medical professional, but that type of information and context can save many people a lot of potential trouble.
On top of that, we've heard that Apple has been working on a way to monitor blood sugar levels with Apple Watch, and the feature could potentially launch in the upcoming Apple Watch Series 8.
It's clear that Apple has shown no signs of slowing down when it comes to offering new and improved health features.
Should you buy an Apple Watch for your aging relative?
It's not a clear-cut answer. Obviously, I'm a big fan of the idea, but my mom also wants an Apple Watch. She's made it abundantly evident on multiple occasions.
I would highly caution against giving an Apple Watch to anyone who doesn't have the need or desire to own one. They aren't cheap and can take a lot of time to get used to for a new user. My mother has the added benefit of having a son (me) who can easily teach her the ins and outs of Apple Watch ownership.
However, with all the improvements to the Apple Watch in the last few years and all the continued improvements we will likely see in the future, it's a very compelling gift for an older relative.
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.