I Returned My Apple Watch 3 Cellular

Emanuele Cesena
3 min readOct 9, 2017

(Update at the end, I returned the watch, everybody’s happy — now I'm working on an open source security key called Solo.)

It’s October 2017, and I’ve just completed a run without my phone, streaming music the whole 3.5 miles — minus one minute. The technology is finally here, and I was joking with my friends that now I only need a speedo with a key pocket, so I can run truly free. However I’m returning my Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular, or at least I’m going to try to. The hardware is great,
the software just isn’t there yet.

I bought the Apple Watch yesterday, and yesterday is the keyword. How come I didn’t run yesterday? Thanks for asking, in fact I did run, but yesterday I couldn’t stream music because I had no apps. I was so pissed that I went to run intentionally leaving the watch home. Then, I ended the day not completing my activity rings so I was 2x pissed — but I breathed 7 times.

The reason I couldn’t stream music yesterday is pretty simple:

  • Spotify doesn’t exist for the watch, nor does Soundcloud
  • Pandora “Play Music and Stream Radio” doesn’t work unless it’s connected with an iPhone — 708k ratings, 4.8 stars
  • Apple Music has a new Radio app for the watch, only available in Watch OS 4.1 Beta = if you’re enrolled in the Apple Developer Program

Luckily I’m enrolled in the developer program, so 8 hours too late I completed the upgrade, finally got the Radio app, and was able to stream music without the iPhone.

In summary, $432.92 for the Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular, $99 for the Apple Developer Program, $10/mo for Verizon, and $9.99/mo for Apple Music. I feel it’s a bit too much for just streaming music while I run, I’m happy to just go with a non-cellular watch and some music pre-downloaded.

While I’m complaining, two more areas of improvements: skip tracks, and better switch between bluetooth and airplay.

  • While running, the music stream was great — as you’d expect from being on the Embarcadero in San Francisco — ‘till I said “Hey Siri, skip song”. The music stopped almost immediately, one minute of silence, and only then the next track started. I could have listened to the entire…
Emanuele Cesena

Forging the Everdragons2 NFT. Former security at Pinterest.