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Apple Watch Series 5 Brings More Options, Features, And Always-On Screen To Most Popular Smartwatch

Apple Watch Series 5 Brings More Options, Features, And Always-On Screen To Most Popular Smartwatch Watch Releases

Today in Cupertino, Apple unveiled a bevy of new products, including a new iPhone (the iPhone 11) as well as a brand new smartwatch with the Apple Watch Series 5. I’ve been closely covering the Apple Watch since its debut, and I am very happy to see that my principle concern with the Apple Watch has finally be resolved in the very well-rounded Series 5 collection, which includes an almost dizzying array of options. Since the Apple Watch Series 1, I have been advocating for Apple to design an Apple Watch with an always-on screen. I’ve written at length about why always-on screens are very important from a consumer perspective when it comes to the fashionability and personalization of the smartwatch.

Apple Watch Series 5 Brings More Options, Features, And Always-On Screen To Most Popular Smartwatch Watch Releases

In fact, always-on screens not only help someone’s Apple Watch Series 5 be more expressive as a wearable piece of fashionable technology, but it also helps legibility. This is because users do not need to experience any lag between when they want to read information on their wrist, and when that information pops up. Apple is calling the new always-on state the Apple Watch “Always-On Retina Display,” and while it has its own way of working, Apple’s watch now joins a number of competitor smartwatches that also feature always-on screens. In my opinion, the Apple Watch Series 5 Always-On Retina Display is the most important novelty. Apple enabled the Apple Watch Series 5 to have Always-On capability by now using an LTPO (Low Temperature Polysilicone and Oxide) Retina Display. LTPO allows the Watch to vary the display’s refresh rate, dropping all the way to 1 Hertz in Always-On mode and upping it to 60 Hertz when the owner is interacting with the watch and its screen. So the Always-On mode is far more than just a software tweak — it relies on an entirely new display. It’ll still dim the screen when your wrist isn’t raised, but now it’s possible to check the time without people noticing. Apple Watch Series 5 Brings More Options, Features, And Always-On Screen To Most Popular Smartwatch Watch Releases

Consumers like options, and the ability to visually distinguish themselves from other wearers, which is why Apple continues to offer so many case finishes, materials, and strap options. To a degree, it is an uphill battle because a lot of consumers tend to want the lowest entry point (price-wise, that is) to get the Apple Watch. That means most Apple Watches out there are the base models with the most accessible straps. Apple is, however, making strides in getting people to invest in the fancier straps/bracelet and Apple Watch versions over time, especially as they proceed to purchase their second, third, and fourth Apple Watches.

The Apple Watch Series 5 comes in so many varieties that it will not be possible to discuss them all in this article. Suffice it to say that the Apple Watch Series 5 comes in both 40mm-long and 44mm-long cases, but not all styles are available on both sizes. The larger 44mm-long case has the most style options. At the entry-point, the Apple Watch Series 5 includes a large assortment of aluminum cases with various finishes, as well as new Apple Watch Nike models. Most of the models Apple will sell will be in aluminum or polished steel.

Apple Watch Series 5 Brings More Options, Features, And Always-On Screen To Most Popular Smartwatch Watch Releases

Apple Watch Series 5 Brings More Options, Features, And Always-On Screen To Most Popular Smartwatch Watch Releases

Things start to get interesting when you go up to the Apple Watch Hermes or the new Apple Watch Edition models. Here we see Apple continue to be inspired by the traditional watch industry by adding titanium as a material, offering black DLC- (diamond-like carbon) coated steel and, once again, white ceramic. It is worth noting that Apple does not offer naked titanium because it wears too easily; they give their titanium a scratch-resistant and fingerprint-resistant coating.

Apple Watch Series 5 Brings More Options, Features, And Always-On Screen To Most Popular Smartwatch Watch Releases

For the most part, Apple has not radically changed anything about the look and feel of the Apple Watch, but the Apple Watch Series 5 is really about increasing consumer choice and visual variety while implementing some new hardware and software features that help up the ante when consumers measure the Apple Watch against the competition. Apple has even made its popular App Store accessible within the Apple Watch and created a brand new online “Apple Watch Studio,” which is a much-improved way of being able to mix and match Apple Watch cases and straps to choose the combination that works for you. This is really important, in my opinion, because choosing an Apple Watch and accompanying band is far and away the most difficult type of selection a consumer has to make across all current Apple products.


Apple Watch Series 5 Brings More Options, Features, And Always-On Screen To Most Popular Smartwatch Watch Releases

Apple Watch Series 5 Brings More Options, Features, And Always-On Screen To Most Popular Smartwatch Watch Releases

What else is new in the Apple Watch Series 5? It features Apple Watch OS 6, a welcome incremental upgrade. I haven’t used it much yet, but the new features, including a compass and a new assortment of watch faces, are sure to please consumers, as well as be fun to play with. Apple also touts the Apple Watch as now having international emergency calling built-in, which is important because the previous generation of Apple Watches had limited features available when traveling internationally out of your home country. This isn’t really an Apple issue, but more related to the complex lattice work of how communication carries work across the globe.

As a traditional watch-lover, I am most interested in the strong fashion and technique statements Apple continues to make with the Apple Watch Hermes and the Apple Watch Edition. Apple Watch Hermes is where Apple has decided to offer the black DLC-coated steel model, along with a selection of very good-looking straps. The Apple Watch Hermes in all sporty black with the matching black strap might easily be the “it” fashionable Apple Watch Series 5 this season.

Apple Watch Series 5 Brings More Options, Features, And Always-On Screen To Most Popular Smartwatch Watch Releases

Apple Watch Series 5 Brings More Options, Features, And Always-On Screen To Most Popular Smartwatch Watch Releases

Apple Watch Edition is really for us enthusiasts and where you’ll find Apple return to white ceramic, as well as titanium. White ceramic is where the Apple Watch Edition Series 5 tops out in price, with the titanium models being a bit less expensive. I think Apple has struggled over the last few Apple Watch generations to really understand what types of consumers are interested in Apple Watch Edition (the first one was in solid gold) and continues to use these lower-volume, higher-priced Apple Watches to experiment and satisfy top-tier enthusiasts (which typically includes traditional watch-lovers). We also see Apple still paying serious homage to the traditional watch industry when it comes to the materials used, the ethos of how straps are designed and, of course, its watch faces. Apple is still the biggest fan of the traditional watch industry when compared to all of the other major smartwatch-makers out there. I am personally very excited to experience the new Apple Watch Series 5 in titanium.

Apple Watch Series 5 Brings More Options, Features, And Always-On Screen To Most Popular Smartwatch Watch Releases

Prices for the Apple Watch Series 5 in aluminum and polished steel remain pretty reasonable at $399 – $429 (difference in price is case size) in aluminum, and $699 – $749 in steel. This is what the majority of consumers will be spending. The Apple Watch Hermes and Apple Watch Edition prices are higher, but not too much for the titanium cases. Apple Watch Hermes prices are between $1,249 – $1,399 for the steel models, depending on the size and strap. Apple Watch Edition Series 5 in titanium is priced between $799 – $899. The Apple Watch Series 5 Ceramic is priced between $1,299 and $1,399 USD. Learn more at the Apple website here.

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  • Jared

    and just like that your series 4 is obsolete and you are an instant loser for having a watch on thats not always on

  • Mikita

    I still didn’t get why should I wear a second phone with a smaller screen on my wrist. A single phone in a pocket is enough for me. Maybe I just love my watches too much.

    • abazigal

      It’s basically a remote for your phone. For example, I can use Apple Pay from my watch without having to take my phone out of my pocket. Then there are also the health tracking features which the phone lacks.

      • Mikita

        Why do I need a remote for my phone? And then I’ll have to get a remote for my remote for my phone? 🙂

        • Independent_George

          It is the health tracking features that may, some day, in the future, necessitate your wearing a smartwatch.

          • BJ314

            LOL. no.

          • Mikita

            While it does sound attractive on paper and in promos, I doubt it is so helpful as Apple wants us to think.

  • Swiss_Cheese


    Apple Watch Series 16:


    Apple Watch Series 16: That sounds like a bit of a cold there John, I’ve moved all your money into the Apple™ testamentary trust, alerted your family members, found 3 nearby funeral services and ordered you two boxes of Kleenex. We wouldn’t want something to happen now, would we?

  • Joe

    My post is a blatant first world (also light-hearted) problem – so forgive me.

    With each generation the Apple Watch is becoming a more attractive proposition – not for the same reasons as I wear my traditional watch but for the features.
    With some additional ruggedness, it would give me functionality way beyond what my old Casio ProTrek (triple sensor) used to provide. Very useful for (mountain) trips!

    I still won’t buy the 5th generation – my personal vision (hope) is to eventually have the choice to purchase an Apple Watch that actually replaces the phone (maybe with AR augmentation to make up for lack of screen real estate).

    If/when that time comes, how will I wear 2 watches?
    I can’t rock Stormin’ Norman.
    Would I revert to a mechanical pocket watch and wear a smartwatch on my wrist?

    • Raymond Wilkie

      What am I missing Joe? Why the flux capacitator?

      • Joe

        Hey Raymond. Welcome back!

        Nothing you missed…I just wanted to try the gif feature 🙂

  • Tom Erne

    All good, but is it really a watch???

    • H.S.M.

      It’s not. It’s a wrist phone at this point.

      • Sheez Gagoo

        Hayek says the same thing:
        Hayek: “What is this annoying thing that ruins our sales from Swatch to Certina?”
        Marketinghoschi: “A thing named smartwatch”
        Hayek: “What is this”
        Marketinghoschi: “Not a watch for sure.”
        Hayek: “Thanks god, we’re safe.”

  • Svetoslav Popov

    It is not a watch actually, why write about it on a watch site?

  • SuperStrapper

    Why does an always-on screen require and entire new series of watches. It’s just a software update. Such a scam.

    • David Bredan

      It actually relies on a completely new, variable fresh rate LTPO display. Thanks for pointing this out, I have just made this addition to the article.

      • Ulysses31

        Apple have been using LTPO displays in the Apple Watch since series 4 in 2014… Maybe this is a better version somehow? It begs the question of how so many OLED-based smartphones of many years have featured an always-on display without this particular Apple-developed technology, and why they couldn’t implement it beforehand.

        • Gokart Mozart

          My Nokia 1020 had an always on display back in 2014 and could also display a stylised black and white picture.

          Generally the AOD always had a picture of a watch. FP Journes were popular at that time on my phone.

          Best always on display yet.

  • JosephWelke

    The always-on display fixes my biggest problem with this device.

    I still won’t get one, because I can only justify having two expensive yet ultimately disposable devices in my life: my phone and my computer. Even then, I expect them to last three or four years. This Apple Watch won’t, and so it’s not for me.

  • NaJo

    People not calling this a watch are gone insane! A device that tells time is a watch. Just that its a digital watch of todays digital age and you gotta accept the fact that ur a minority with apple watch becoming the biggest watch seller in the world. Accept the fact that you dont like it and move on…. just the way i did! ?

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Most of us here are here for one reason only and it’s not simply that we like devices that tell the time it’s our love of horology. Watches are alive, they need our love and support to keep them running be it quartz/auto or mechanical. I get it. It’s not my AW are not my demographic and the world is changing fast around us. But to be sucked into some money hungry craze is, well,….beyond me.

      • NaJo

        So am i mate.. true that but you need to add “digital” to auto/mech/quartz. People who are not into horological stuff like us cannot deny the usefulness of technically advanced apple digital watch that not only tells time but so much more..

    • Gokart Mozart

      So is a microwave a table clock?

      • NaJo

        Haha your insane! Its called a digital clock ..!

      • NaJo

        thats what we call a digital clock. It helps when your in a kitchen cooking not wearing a Rolex! Lol

        • Gokart Mozart

          Still a clock that sits on a table

  • SuperStrapper

    Isn’t this release actually insulting to apple customers? I’m trying here but this is laughable. Why is there such price discrepancies in the metal case options? Can someone actually explain how this is anything beyond finding another way to get money out of existing customers? Without hyperbole I can’t identify any substance here.

    • Larry Holmack

      I had the reaction. But…there’s a whole lot of hipsters here in Austin TX that will fork out the money to be wearing the latest Apple “watch”…. just like they upgrade to the newest iPhone every couple of years. Always amazes me to hear them complain about paying off their student loans when they’re driving around in their brand new BMW…or whatever car is deemed hip this month…wearing all the latest fashions…living in a downtown loft, where the rent for a studio apartment is 3 times what my wife and I pay for our 1400 sq ft, 2 bedroom apt., and they own every new tech gadget made.
      Oh well… it’s not for me to understand their way of living.

      • Mikita

        Born to impress!

      • SuperStrapper

        You speak the truth, the update requires no substance to get people buying, this one is living evidence. The always on display is absolutely just a software update, the new display was not required for that. But, if they include a new display they can pretend to justify this beyond a software update, which is all it is.
        To be clear, i bought an apple watch. After years of my wife taking watches i give her and letting them collect dust i got her an AW when the 4 came out and she’s never taken it off. She’s a runner. But even though i was buying around AW 4 release i got a 3, because she’s tiny and wanted a 38mm, which she thinks is big. There is no software update that will have her asking for a new one if they aren’t going to keep the only size she can wear, and when i show her this update i know what her reaction will be: interesting without desire to own.
        This 5 “update” is the most hilarious one yet. There is almost nothing here and people are going to line up around the corner to make sure they don’t miss out. God bless capitalism.

  • H.S.M.

    Oh look, another overpriced piece of wrist phone that becomes obsolete in 1-2 years time.
    Wake me up when it can hold a charge for more than a month, has a high fidelity always on screen, and it doesn’t look like a miniature soap.

  • PR

    I am no AW hater, heck we have two at home and while I have never worn one, I know the utility and draw. The version for the “masses” works quite well and is surprisingly durable for day to day wear, but really the reason my family doesn’t wear it every time is battery life/needing to charge frequently and the lack of actual utility after the initial phase where you actively find ways to use your new gadgets.

    Taking calls on your wrist phone? Needless since you have to pay for another line for this narrow usecase. All the fitness stuff, sure it helps, but most of it can be done by the phone or the actual device in your gym you work out on, but again not saying it’s useless, narrow usecase. That’s essentially it. We have not really found anything else to be useful. While the fanbois and stylish folk love the strap alternatives and shiny cases, end of the day it’s become a glorified fashion watch.

    What was the big thing they did this year? Screen stays on? Awesome but that’s it? It took a year of dev by one of the richest companies out there both in money and talent pool to keep the screen on and make the battery last a day? This is big news somehow? It really has slowed down to the point of irrelevance. Sep 10th is no longer a big deal, you already know it’s better camera better cpu better screen and some dumb new terminology and an “updated” watch. Until they really hunker down and move the pieces forward meaningfully, this is all a big sham

  • FS1900

    I’ll let some “sucker” take the depreciation hit and in two years I’ll pick one of these up from jomashop. Still waiting on the BlackBerry Watch…

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I made some positive comments. And I am Swiss. And I used to be a Watchmaker. This do not represents true horology? Neither does a Casio. Who cares? This thing is the revolution, every Swiss brand claims to be when they made a thing turning, nobody knows what it does. And even you said you’ll change your opinion when I’ve sent you this:
    If the Swiss would have invented this, imagine the marketinggaudy they would have done. But know we look at this thing with our helvetotypical (for you Bernd) arrogance, while big parts of our luxury and no longer technical industrie goes under once again. You should be thankfull to be alive to see this revolution as joe Thompson would say.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      My opinion has not changed.

  • DanW94

    Raymond is back! His posts are like music to my ears….

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Well, for something that none of us like , it’s got us kinda riled up. : )
    I love the way everyone tries to avoid the word watch when describing this wrist computer.

  • Joe

    For me what’s interesting is regardless of what we call this, the AW is something that has the potential to compete for wrist space, and so it deserves to be discussed on ABTW. I think Ariel or David have pointed this out before.

    While it may not impact the higher end too much, it may make brands think twice about churning out iterations of a mediocre watch at the lower end.

    For many of us here it might never be something we buy, but as the capabilities continue to improve it will make interesting dents in the market.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Always on for the Apple is a 3/4 of a day. A full 18 hours.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Depressed sigh.

    After a year Apple have managed to make the watch stay on for a whole 18 hours of telling the time before the battery runs out.

    Unbelievable technology!

    Can we get back to real watches now?

  • Tanaboon V

    It’s hard for me to decide which material come to my collection
    Now I’ve

    S0 Edition Yellow Gold 38mm
    S4 Hermes 40mm
    S0 Edition Rose Gold 42mm
    S0 Stainless Black 42mm
    S2 Hermes 42mm
    S2 Edition White 42mm
    S3 Edition Grey 42mm

    Consider between new 44mm Ceramic , SS Gold , Hermes Black and Titanium

  • Gokart Mozart

    What is that about August Reymond? Do you have anymore information?

    I have one of their watches, and it is a good solid watch.

    It is also the company that in the 1920’s made the Unitas movements that we know and love.

  • midnightsnakeoil

    There is a number of post I see discrediting the disruption/implication that SmartWatches had in the traditional watch industry. So I wanted to share my own perspective.

    SmartWatch and Apple watch in particular made me look at normal watch a bit more differently:
    1) Traditional watches has been Stale/uninnovative
    The tool-less strap change mechanism/tool-less bracelet alteration.
    The way the display is presented.
    2) Immensely more utility question the very foundation of watches.
    – What is a watch? What function does it serve? This needs to be seen in the context of history too. Back when pocket watches were the norm.
    – Furthermore, SmartWatch provide real usability like gps (Street navigation), remote control your phone for music, and answering phone (how many times you miss call in noisy public environment?) looking at your daily schedule at a glance.
    – More than telling time. SmartWatches can also inform you of environmental things like weather, uv, and more and more bio-metric information.
    3) Cost of ownership is lower.
    – Swiss watch prices has been getting out of control. That and the problem regarding servicing. There is a point where prices and customer service become perceived as are the luxury industry thinks we are stupid?.
    – The repeated message that mechanical watches last forever is questionable. When parts and technical skill to service this watch is shrinking. Remember we needs parts/lubrication/watchmaker/tool/money/justiciation to to service these watches.
    See here:
    – These SmartWatches provide compelling alternative.
    – I see no problem with apple watches. It look stylish and has universal cool to them. I am aware that Apple stuff is not the best of quality regardless of what apple made us wants to believe. But with Swiss watch prices going to the way they are and servicing issue/cost it made ownership proposition of SmartWatches appear as a bargain/no-brainer.

    All the issue we have with SmartWatch like battery life, limited usability, and clunky user interface will be ironed out in the next few years.

    Younger generation that grow up in smartphone age will view things differently than people that growing up wearing watches.

    I myself at this point in time still prefer traditional watches. Due for the reason of limiting my exposure to connected devices. But that does not mean I ignore current fact/future trend.

    Looking at watch forum and my own real life network. It would appear a lot of people stop buying/wearing traditional watches after buying/wearing smart watches.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Btw: Check out SG’s five-year shareprice chart. It is one of Switzerlands most shortened stock. Soon to be found in the penhy stock. Some local maxima can be found, when Hayek announced his smartwatchOS (should have been released in 1q 2018) or his supercarbattery (not even a prototype) with C.Clooney and Claude Nicollier in the board of directors (!!!). Hayek is the master of vaporware.

  • Phil Evans

    good looking timepieces.
    no electricity no apple.

  • Sheez Gagoo
  • Sheez Gagoo
  • Sheez Gagoo

    The videos I’ve sent you should make you understand, why I’m quite sceptical about the industry. SG represents almost entirely the whole industry, and it’s lead by a guy, that doesn’t really make me think of a grand entrepreneur like his dad, but more of an Elizabeth Holmes or a Bernie Madoff. And I forgot to mention that the SG started a 1Billion share buy back programm, but the shareprice is still dümpeling around. And the fight against the grey market Hayek stated in the last report is nothing else than an overvaluation of their massive watch stock (to get rid of depreciation). Furthermore, Hayek refuses to use IFRS-standards of accounting, altough the Swatch Group is listed on the Swiss stock exchange. I admit, it’s maybe just my personal opinion, but for my taste, there are plenty of red flags.

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