Artificial Intelligence. Apple Intelligence. Assistive Intelligence.

If you’re here for a knowledgeable insight into the recent rash of announcements and presentations from the tech giants, then you have been misdirected. I haven’t a clue what I’m talking about. One might observe that nobody else does either. For the moment, at least, it’s all about what our electronics will be able to do for us rather than what they actually can do for us right now.

I’m sure it will all be very exciting.

As ever, I find myself a contrarian.

I have an Apple Watch Ultra II.

At a glance, I can see the temperature, humidity, date, time, my tasks, the state of my fitness rings, a world clock, and the wind speed and direction. Isn’t that amazing?

I frequently use my watch to make payments. Touching my watch against a reader never ceases to delight.

The majority of the watch’s functions mirror those of the phone. I can listen to music and podcasts, read notifications, and make calls.

As a fitness tracker, the Ultra is awesome. It records EVERYTHING. It can alert me if my heart is up to something odd. It even tells me how many calories I have burned during a round of golf or during a swim. Take a look at all the data. Incredible.

The temperature, humidity and windspeed are wrong. Whatever weather source I use, it’s never accurate for Cyprus. So, on reflection, there’s not really a great deal of value in those elements. Why the world clock is there, I have no idea. Having a list of tasks is useful, I think - but on my wrist? Not particularly. Fitness rings, I’ll return to those later.

I’ve never quite become sufficiently confident to go out without a wallet or phone and rely solely on the Ultra. Some of my favourite places would rather have me “pay next time” rather than accept a card, so I carry cash. If I’m going to have cash, then I have a wallet, and if I have a wallet, then I may as well carry a card or two. The end result is that I can pay with my watch, my phone or my card, but I often end up paying with good old-fashioned currency.

As a computer, the limitations are obvious: a watch is a tiny screen. Many things are better on the phone or an even larger screen back at home.

No matter how carefully I measure and accumulate data, I still struggle to lose weight. On a golf day, my Watch provides data to a calorie tracker, which essentially reports to me that I can eat a horse for supper, washed down with a barrel of beer and a Zivania to finish. As long as I don’t finish the barrel, I’ll be in a calorie deficit. Well done, me! Skinny-land, here I come.


Look, I don’t lose weight because I make choices every day. Beer? Oh, go on then. Wine with supper? Hell, why not? Light salad at home or kebab and beer in the village? Well, community is important.

I’m not blaming data-gathering; I’m just observing that the data measures the metrics; it doesn’t affect the change. This could be a me thing, but I end up substituting the metrics for the results. Want to drink more beer? Play more golf. Keep the calorie burn ahead of the calorie intake. All good. Golden. Weight? Unchanged.


Close those fitness rings. Yeah! Go! Have I walked around the house just before bed to get that Move ring closed? Oh yes. Because going to bed with 1001 move calories burned is way better than going to bed with 960. Yep. A few laps of the lounge before bed will soon have me in fit club.

As I analyse my use of the UItra, I can summarise as follows:

  1. Apple Watch is a great fitness tracker, but a tracker doesn’t make me fitter.
  2. Apple Watch is an extension to my phone, but I still carry my phone.

If I do not wear the watch, I will lose the fitness tracking and much of the excellent health data. However, truth be told, how tight my shorts are is a pretty good indicator on its own. How long I need for my heart to slow, having climbed the hill from the sixth green to the seventh tee, tells me all I need to know about my cardio-vascular condition.

“Burn more calories and consume fewer” requires little or no measurement. For me, the key has always been to drink less volume, less frequently.

Because of the limitations of the Watch as an interface, I always take my phone, too. So, I may need to take the phone out of my pocket more often, for example, to make a card payment. I can live with that. I’ll see fewer notifications. Hurrah! If I’ve nipped out to hang the washing, I may miss a call. Good.

I suspect Mrs L will see how she feels about a big chunk of Apple watch on her wrist. She already uses an Ultra strap for her “standard” Apple Watch, so she’s halfway there.

I have several watches, from my Dad’s old Rolex and Seiko through an early 1990s Tag Heuer to more modern pieces. They’re all so small! Watch faces have been getting steadily bigger, with analogue watches aping the trend for ever-larger digital wrist screens. Never one to eschew an opportunity to spend money, I took to the internet.

For a Timex, of course.

Expedition North® Titanium Automatic 41mm Recycled Fabric Strap Watch - TW2V95300 | Timex EU

I love it.

I may discover that the lack of data (however flawed) is too much to bear and return to the smartwatch, but if I don’t, then I can’t see myself buying another iPhone. I’m not sure I need one.

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