I’m returning my Apple Watch Series 5 today.
I’m a little bit sad about it, but it’s Apple’s fault.
When the Series 4 was announced with the ECG function I was like, I’m gonna get me on of them… but then Apple announced it was only available in the US. So I was like, fine, I’ll get one when they finally release that feature here.
That didn’t happen for the Series 4.
Then the Series 5 was announced, still touting the ECG function, but still not available in Australia, even though other countries around the world now had the ECG enabled, but not us, but I was like: “Well I skipped the 4, other countries have the ECG, so surely it’s coming to Australia, and damn the Ceramic is a fine looking piece of kit, so I’ll get me one and the ECG will surely come.”
But, I have since read that the ECG will not surely come any time soon, in fact, according to many reports Apple hasn’t even applied to the TGA (The Therapeutic Goods Association) to have the ECG function approved. It seems that Apple has put Australia in the too hard basket when it comes to the approval process. The TGA has declared that if the watch’s software had this function enabled on Australian watches the watch would then be a “medical device” and they would have governance over it’s rollout in Australia. So Apple isn’t even trying.
Without this function there really isn’t much of an upgrade from my Series 3 watch. The screen is a little larger, and the ceramic is very nice, but a $2100 price tag is too much to pay for it.
These requirements are also seeing other products miss the Australian market. Like Withings’ BPM Core and Move ECG watch. So hopefully we’ll see our requirements relax a little. I think currently an ECG in Australia requires the 10-point connection system where they stick the little pad things all over you. The main concern of the TGA is that people will think the Apple Watches’ ECG is as accurate as the full thing and won’t seek help if their watch is telling them they are OK. But surely Apple has a few case studies by now showing the people who have been saved by this feature… they had some of them in their video at the launch of the Series 5… but really, I didn’t want it to save my life, I wanted it out of curiosity. I want to see the little squiggly line of my heart… and yes, weirdly I would have been happy to pay all the money for that squiggly line… but no squiggly line means she’s going back.
I’ll revisit the Apple Watch acquisition if the feature becomes available, or if my Series 3 gives up the ghost, or if a future release has something compelling that makes me want it.