I'm fairly invested in the Apple system of devices (Mac at home/work, iPad for fun, iPhone always on me) but I'm still struggling to see the value proposition of the Apple Watch. It just doesn't seem like it adds anything beyond what I already use my iPhone for.

I went to the nearest Apple Store and asked this question, but the answer I got was quite unsatisfactory. I was told that it can track my steps, but the iPhone has already done that since 2013 with the M7 chip. I was told it can track my activity, but I already do that with Strava. I was told it can track my heart rate, but I already do that with a bluetooth band connected with my phone.

So really, does the Apple Watch do anything that an iPhone doesn't already do?

2 Answers 2


It fits on your wrist and has haptic vibrations and can read your heart rate and gets superior physiological readings from it’s accelerometer since it’s closer to your body in general than an iPhone can ever be.

It also forces developers to really think deeply about when and how it presents information. It’s a crucible for what you might need to know at any one point in time. It reinforces Siri and clear UI decisions since it’s so constrained for space.

Additional features the watch has that iOS does not are fall detection and the ability to run watchOS apps and complications. ECG readings and far better workout data collection are also a direct result of watchOS features and the physical proximity of the watch being superior to an iPhone or custom hardware being present only on the watch.

  • +1 for the point about fall detection. ECG is also a unique addition, though only available in the USA (I'm in Canada). But the rest doesn't really sound like it goes beyond the iPhone. iPhone already does vibrations, can read HR (with an accessory), has Siri, and measures my steps just fine with its accelerometer. Forcing developers to think carefully isn't a functional difference. Neither are watchOS apps if they just do the same thing as their iPhone counterparts.
    – Nic
    Mar 26, 2019 at 4:08
  • 1
    But watchOS apps don’t do the same thing as iPhone counterpoints. I’m trying to take your question at face value, but the “so really” seems pretty dismissive. Do you honestly not get the benefits and compromises of having the watch always on and different interface trade offs / pixel count / input methods?
    – bmike
    Mar 26, 2019 at 4:28

My Apple watch allows me to see the time without having to reach into my bag and dig for my phone.

It allows me to track my exercise when I'm swimming and my phone would be ruined by the water.

It notifies me when it's time to take a break from work through its activity monitor. Good for RSI sufferers with desk jobs.

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