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Should you buy an Apple Watch in 2022?

An Apple Watch on someone's wrist
(Image credit: iMore/ Rene Ritchie)

Should you buy an Apple Watch in 2022?

Best answer: If you're an iPhone user, absolutely! Whether you opt for built-in cellular so you can stay connected anywhere in the world — sans phone — or a WiFi-only model with access to the massive ecosystems of apps and features that will help streamline your life, the Apple Watch is the most popular watch in the world today.

Why Apple Watch makes sense 

These days, you need a computer that fits in your pocket. That's what makes iPhone so popular. You probably also still need a computer for your lap or your desk. But a computer for your wrist? That feels more like an accessory at best, and extravagance at worst. Yet Apple Watch has proven over the last few years that it can become indispensable.

Whether to buy one of the best Apple Watches or not comes down to how compelling the main features are for your lifestyle, either by themselves or when combined together. Those features include not only timekeeping, but optional built-in cellular, advanced health and fitness tracking, notifications and communications, Apple Pay, and HomeKit automation. And the Apple Watch does currently require an iPhone to set up, so if you're on Android, it's time to decide whether the watch matters enough for you to make the switch.

Put simply: The Apple Watch is the shuttlecraft to an iPhone's starship. Most of what you can do on Watch, you can also do on iPhone — but not as conveniently. And convenience can be a killer feature.

Why Apple Watch makes sense: Timekeeping

Apple Watch

(Image credit: Apple)

It's not an uncommon story: You stopped wearing a watch because your iPhone had a big clock right on the Lock screen, only a pocket or bag pull away. It's the old single- vs. multi-tasker debate, and why convergent devices like the iPhone proved so popular in the first place.

The Apple Watch is also a convergent device, and that convergence can be seen in every aspect, including how it tells time. When you want to see the clock on your Apple Watch, you don't have to dig into your pocket or reach for your bag. You simply turn your wrist, and you can view the time and date. It can be just that simple or, in the grand tradition of timekeeping, you can add "complications." 

The Watch's faces range from minimal to infographic to motion graphics to Mickey and Minnie Mouse!

The Watch's faces range from minimal to infographic to utilitarian to motion graphics to astronomy to, well, Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Each face also includes a number of complications that offer even more data, if you want to enable them.

Complications can include features as subtle as a monogram for personalization, but also world clocks, alarms, a stopwatch, the weather, sunrise and sunset, activity levels, phases of the moon, upcoming appointments, and stock quotes.

You can have complications for your apps as well, so you can see your ETA, access your voice recorder, see sports scores, measure your activity, or even tell how much distance is left before your Pokémon eggs hatch (seriously). 

If that level of efficiency excites you, Apple Watch is going to blow your mind

Why Apple Watch makes sense: Notifications

Apple Watch notifications

(Image credit: Apple)

You already get notifications on your best iPhone. You can tell when they come in thanks to the beep, buzz, or bubble on your Lock screen. With the Apple Watch, however, those notifications can appear on your wrist, sending you a subtle tap that doesn't even light up the display unless you turn the Watch to signal your interest.

Then, you only get a short summary of the information, providing the app name along with a brief bit of context. From there, you get to decide if you want to stop what you're doing and view more.

There's also a Notification Center, just like on iPhone, so you can swipe down and glance at everything and anything that's come in and quickly see what's happening and what, potentially, you need to take care of. And you can do it without reaching into your pocket or bag.

Facebook messages, turn-by-turn directions, airplane boarding passes, coffee cards, and other app interactions can benefit from being more easily accessible. 

Why Apple Watch makes sense: Health and fitness

Apple Fitness Plus

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple can help you stay on top of your health and fitness goals, and it's no mystery as to why. As the most advanced smartwatch in the world, Apple Watch Series 7 has the ability to measure your Sp02 with a dedicated sensor and app, enable the user to take an ECG anytime, anywhere, check your heart rate, monitor sleep, offer mindfulness support, and basically keep you healthy from head to toe. 

You can access dozens of workouts to track every way you move. Apple Watch automatically syncs with Apple Fitness+ for a library of on-demand, boutique-style, fitness classes taught by professional athletes and renowned instructors. 

All Apple Watches can track your cycling stats, but Series 7 kicks it up a notch with auto-pedal recognition. To keep your eyes on the road, a voice feedback feature announces workout milestones like speed and distance. 

All Apple Watches can track your cycling stats, but Series 7 kicks it up a notch.

Apple Watch Series 4 and higher are equipped with fall detection. If you have this feature turned on, and you take a serious fall, the Apple Watch will issue an alert, allowing you to either dismiss it if you're not hurt or call emergency services. If you don't respond to the alert within one minute, the watch will automatically contact emergency services for you, and the watch's advanced GPS system can pinpoint your location anywhere in the world. 

Activity sharing enables you to share your achievements with the people closest to you. That way, when you reach a goal or they do, you can send a message or emoji to encourage them, or trash talk them — whatever works for you!

Strava, Nike+, RunKeeper, and most other popular exercise apps have extensions for Apple Watch as well: You get to add the convenience of Apple Watch to whatever system and community you're already involved with.

If you're ready to achieve your health and fitness goals, Apple Watch will certainly help you get there!

Why Apple Watch makes sense: Apple Pay

Apple Pay

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple Pay on Apple Watch is magic. Instead of having to fumble for your wallet or even your iPhone, you simply press a button on your Apple Watch, hold it close to the terminal, and you're done. What makes it so great is that it's always right there on your wrist, it never reveals your real credit card number or personal information, and if it loses contact with your skin (via the heart rate monitor), it shuts off so no one else can use it.

Why Apple Watch makes sense: Communication

Apple Watch

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple Watch has basic phone and messaging features built right in, and the optional built-in cellular system makes it feel like something straight out of science fiction. It's incredibly convenient, especially if you have a bigger iPhone you typically leave on a table, in a bag, or with cellular — prefer to leave at home. 

When any call or message comes in, rather than scrambling for it, you can simply glance at your wrist, and if you have built-in cellular, you can answer a phone call, send an email, or write a text anywhere in the world, completely phone-free.  

For short conversations or replies, you can talk or text right from your watch. For longer communications, you can start on your watch and smoothly transition to your phone, or you can just go get your phone once you see who's calling and messaging on your wrist. You can even dictate or hand write short messages on Apple Watch, which makes it remarkably effective for quickly communicating on the go. 

Apple Watch Series 7 provides new ways to input text. There's a full keyboard that you can tap or slide from letter to letter with QuickPath. 

If keeping in touch matters to you, Apple Watch is the right touch for your wrist. You just have to decide whether you want to go the GPS-only or Cellular route.

Why Apple Watch makes sense: Remote control

Apple Watch HomeKit control

(Image credit: iMore)

The Apple Watch will let you control your best Apple TV with ease. It'll also let you remotely access your iPhone's camera, and thanks to Siri and HomeKit integration, it can even control all of your favorite smart lights, thermometer, blinds, fans, and other smart devices in your home.

The possibilities for the Apple Watch are boundless. Not only does it mean never having to get up to turn off your lights, it means not even having to reach for your phone. You can adjust anything in your setup, right from your wrist.

So, should you buy an Apple Watch?

You should buy an Apple Watch if you want to spend less time on your iPhone, and more time out and about. If you love the idea of super convenient tap-to-pay, and advanced health and fitness tracking appeals to you, it’s an invaluable tool. Apple Watch enables you to glance at a call or message before deciding whether to reach for your phone, or let’s face it — avoid reaching altogether. With built-in cellular, you have the option of staying connected anywhere in the world. Apple Watch allows the user to experiment with the future, today. If that excites you, you should absolutely buy an Apple Watch.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.