Is the new Apple Watch ready for Grandma?
The Series 4 Apple Watch now in stores pitches itself as a Food and Drug Administration-cleared “proactive health monitor” and a “guardian” that will call help if you take a hard fall. Its screen is 30 per cent larger. You won’t see Apple say “senior citizen” in ads — yet suddenly, grandmothers and abuelas, not to mention opas and yeyes, are thinking about getting one. Adult children looking to keep parents safe are curious, too.
So I sought help in reviewing the new Watch from a gang of tech-savvy seniors. Seven members of the Computer Club of Rossmoor, a 55-plus community in California, helped me set up, poke and prod the new model. No seniors were harmed in testing the fall-detection tech.
Just when you think I’m critical, older adults have even less tolerance for tech that isn’t clear, reliable and affordable. There wasn’t a technophobe among my helpers. After our tests, one of them — a satisfied Apple Watch owner — decided she’d definitely upgrade. None of the others was sold.;
When the Watch debuted in 2015, most seniors couldn’t see the point. As of earlier this year, only 4 percent of Americans over 65 had bought any kind of smartwatch, according to Forrester Research. But with this fourth version, my gang was curious. “It’s one of those iPhones that’s been shrunk to wrist size by Dick Tracy,” says Art Salzfass, 83.
Good on Apple for recognizing tech has a lot to offer the older adults often overlooked by Silicon Valley. That we’re even talking about FDA clearance shows how the Apple Watch has matured into a truly personal kind of gadget. This is the first version that feels speedy and connected enough to think of as a stand-alone device.
What I learned from my elders is that the Apple Watch has lots to offer seniors not deterred by a $400 starting price. It’s pretty good at encouraging you to exercise. It can gather data about your heart. And you’re less likely to miss calls when your phone is on your wrist (yes, like Dick Tracy).
Just don’t let the hype about the new Watch’s capabilities get ahead of its reality. It’s heavier than some traditional watches and one more thing you’ll have to charge daily. Some of those new health functions have yet to prove how much they’ll help. And as a substitute for your phone, it still has a pretty small screen — and even tinier buttons.
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Source: Washington Post